Elements of a Great Book Cover

I have exhausted the topic of what makes a great book cover over the years.

This post was originally published in July of 2017, but I have been slowly and methodically going through my blog and updating its content. The original post actually referenced a CreateSpace video I’d created.

So, the rehabilitation of this post is going to be the hub where you can find all the things to help you create a great book cover.

Readers Are Judging Your Book By Its Cover

In fact, your cover is the face of your book out there in the big world of bookselling. Potential readers who don’t know you,

 initially click on your book because of the cover.

For this reason, your cover should be an area of the self-publishing process where you don’t cheap out. If you aren’t a cover designer yourself, hire one! Don’t hesitate! There are many affordable options and making sure you have a great book cover is step 1 of book marketing.

No one is going to give a book a second look it if seems like it was cobbled together with no expertise or they can’t read the title font.

These are the basic elements of a great book cover: 

  • Professional art and imagery
  • Title in Readable Font
  • Author name

If you’re publishing a print book, you need a few extras like:

  • Spine
  • Back cover blurb
  • Barcode
  • Flaps (Hardcover dust jacket)

Another tidbit is you’ll need a JPG for your eBook and a PDF for the print versions. 

Sound complicated? It kind of is, and that’s why hiring a professional will be worth the cost and save you a ton of time and headache!

 Other Things to Consider:

You may want to include some one-sentence reviews, a subtitle, or author branding on your book cover as well. All of these things will set you apart from looking like amateur hour when it comes to your book cover.

Let’s break this down a little further and then I’m going to give you some resources to find great designers and I’ll link my other content here as well. I have a lot of videos and posts pertaining to this topic because it’s important!

Professional Art and Imagery

You probably have an idea of how you want your book cover to look, but it’s possible that you may be drawing a blank as well. Either way, go to Amazon and have a look at the Best Sellers.

There are two separate lists: one for eBooks and one for print books. In both cases, you’ll need to use the categories to the left to find your genre.

Juicy Tidbit: When you publish your book, you should also have different keywords for the eBook and print versions!


You’ll notice this list is split between the Best 100 Free and Best 100 Paid by the tabs at the top. Check out both. The free list is a great way to nab some free Kindle books and also see what others in your genre are putting out without it costing you anything. I also like to use these free offerings to learn new things!


Amazon just refers to print books as simply books.

great book cover

Have a look at the best sellers in your genre and take note of the covers. What elements are they using? What type of art are they using? What type of fonts?

Which books in these lists catch your eye? Why?

This knowledge will help you put together a more effective cover for your own book.

Your cover art will be one of two kinds:

  • Illustrated – An illustrated cover is created by an artist using whatever mediums deemed appropriate. This can range from realism to abstract. It just depends on your genre and the ideas you have about your cover.
  • Photographs – This can mean an amalgamation of many photos or just one. These can be stock images or even ones taken by you or a professional photographer. Again, it depends on your genre and your ideas.

Once you’ve decided how you want your cover to look. Write a detailed brief explaining that to your designer.


One thing you’re going to notice about the book covers you see on the Best Sellers lists is that the fonts are huge and easy to read. Even in the tiny thumbnails on Amazon.

Remember, people shop on Amazon from their phones! Make those fonts huge and readable!

If a potential reader can’t tell what your book is called, that is a critical missing element to becoming known.

If you’re in doubt about your font, discuss it with your designer or scrap it altogether for one you know will work.

ProTip: Where do you find fonts? You must hold a commercial license for he fonts you use for your book, A great and affordable place to find fonts is Creative Fabrica. All of their offerings include a commercial license. Also, discuss this with your designer. They will be able to help you out greatly. They probably aren’t using fonts they don’t have the rights to. Ask them to be sure.

Your book cover should include your title, subtitle, and author name at a minimum.

Author Name

This one is kind of self-explanatory. Of course you want to include your author name on your book cover. Whether it’s your own name or you are using a pen name, it’s got to be there!


Sometimes your book may not have enough pages to include any writing on the spine, but you’ll still need to include the spine in your cover design.

If it does have a spine, it should include your title and author name at a minimum. Other elements can be added to make sure it looks great on the shelf. Just make sure they fit inside the bleed area!

Go to your local bookstore or maybe even your own bookshelf and see which spines catch your eye.

Back Cover Blurb

I used to say that this should be the same as your book description you type into Amazon during the publishing process, and that will work to an extent.

However, a well-planned back cover will be digestible and enticing to potential readers.

It may also include branding, and will definitely include the next element in the list, a barcode.

Go to your local bookstore and look at some back covers. Take note of what you find enticing, what’s included, and the elements you like.

These are the things you want to include on your back cover.


Print books must have a barcode. Amazon will add on for you automatically when you publish your print books.

You may want to add your own if you want your books to look the same from every bookseller. Don’t ever pay extra for a barcode! Generate one here free.

Flaps (Hardcover dust jacket)

The extra real estate you get with a dust jacket is amazing. There are so many options to use these elements. You can even be creative. I’ve seen some authors provide a bookmark that could be cut from the flap of a dust jacket.

The front flap can contain more info on your book, reviews, or whatever. Most authors use the back flap for an About the Author section.

Flaps make it easy to add to an already great book cover.

Book Cover Designers

List of Vetted Fiverr Book Cover Designers

I’ve worked with several designers from Fiverr with great success. I’ve curated a list of those providers so you can have a look and see what fits your taste and budget.

If you’ve seen my Book Rescue series and love the book covers, you can use that designer, also on Fiverr – OliviaProDesign. I have referred many people to OliviaProDesign and she never disappoints. The fact that you can get an eBook cover from her for just $10 is insane.

If you contact OliviaProDesign before you buy, I think she has a special gig set-up for if you want eBook, paperback, and audiobook, and it’s under $50.

Book Cover Designers from my Facebook Group

If you haven’t joined my free Facebook Group, what are you doing with your life!?! This group is a great community of authors just like you where you can learn and grow together. You can also get feedback on covers and other aspects of self-publishing that you just don’t get on your own.

My assistant keeps a list of service providers who are members of that group. These folks provide services to the self-publishing community including book cover design and you can reach out to them and start up a conversation to find out if they are a good fit for your project. Either way, you have a contact list of people involved in every aspect of self-publishing and you can reach out and ask questions.

Join the group.

Grab the list.


I did several projects with Miblart over the last year or so, and I’m really impressed with their work and how easy it is to work with them. They handle everything! You can basically circumnavigate all the leg work with checking best seller lists, etc. The designers at Miblart are on top of things and will produce a great book cover that will fit your needs perfectly.

To see them in action, check the videos below!

A Catalog of My Book Cover Content

Blog Posts


Did I Miss Anything?

Let me know below the comments. If you found this helpful, I’d love to hear about that as well.

If you want to show off your cover or get feedback on how your cover looks, join us on Discord! I hope to see you there!!

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