The cover for my upcoming novel. YAY!

We all do it. The book cover is usually our first introduction to a book, or at the very least, what creates our first impression. Will a book cover sell your book? Maybe. It will certainly attract or repel people.

What does a book cover need to do? In short, a cover needs to incite people to pick it up or click on it. That’s it. It doesn’t need to tell the entire story, or reveal major plot elements, it just needs to seduce. It should get a person to stop and say “Hmm, that looks interesting, I wonder what it’s about… ”

The sale will come from the blurb and the sample. Your product description has to be strong and you need a well-edited, well-written book that will sell itself when people read a sample.

But first we all have to accept the fact that looks matter, and your book will be judged by its cover. That’s why cover art is so important, and why it needs to balance art with marketability.

Unfortunately, cover art is one of the most subjective elements of publishing there is. Take ten professionals in the publishing business and give them a cover, and you’ll get ten different opinions on it. However, there are some professional standards that should be met.

First, while stock images have become the norm, and we all know that Photoshop is doing the heavy lifting these days, your book cover should not scream “I’ve been Photoshopped.” The images should integrate seamlessly to create a unified flow to the piece.

Second, the cover should pop in thumbnail. This doesn’t mean every element needs to be clear and easily read in thumbnail. After all, the author name and book name will be right there, next to the thumbnail. But the cover as a whole should stand out and have a central image to draw in a reader.

Third, the cover should have colors, fonts and images that blend well together and don’t clash or fight each other for attention. Think unified front vs. kids pushing each other over to get center stage.

Finally, and perhaps hardest of all, your cover should attract your target demographic but stand out from the other covers in its genre as well. It’s tempting to do what everyone else is doing, or to copy the bestsellers, but chances are those bestsellers weren’t copying anyone when they became bestsellers. And that probably helped them get where they are. So don’t be afraid to stand out, but at the same time, don’t settle on a thriller cover if you’re writing a children’s book.

As NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) goes into full swing, I know there will be a lot of new novels out there looking for covers. I hope this blog post helps you find a match.

I’m also offering a special deal to NaNoWriMo authors (or really anyone who commissions work from me between November 1st and December 1st.) For every cover you purchase from me this month, you can get a free banner using the images and styles from your cover to post on Facebook or use in any online marketing campaign. A $50 value, free, for this month only!

Email me to take advantage of this special offer: DmytryKarpov at

Or use my Contact Page

And Happy Writing!