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How to Create a Best-Selling Cover


One of the turning points that decides whether or not readers will grab a book is typically its cover. If it looks professional, crisp, and eye-catching? Readers will pick it up. If it looks sloppy, off-genre, or is hard to read? Good luck standing out amongst the pages of Amazon.

In a 2017 test, Reedsy found that books with a professional cover saw a 35% increase in marketability. Bottom line, book covers are more important than ever.

Unfortunately, having a beautiful book cover is frequently equated with high expenses. If you’re interested in designing your own book cover then we have great news: You can! 

It’s affordable and possible to create your own beautiful, best-seller worthy book covers. But most importantly, you need to have beautiful book covers to hook readers. Keep reading for our article to show you:

What do readers want from book covers?

Take a look at this image from our article on The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Book Cover Design:

I’m sure you’ve immediately settled on which cover is better than the other. My guess is Barry Eisler’s The Killer Collective strikes you as much more professional. Our example book on the left is hard to read. 

These two books are clear examples of good vs. bad cover design. 

Ultimately, readers want:

  1. An easy to read cover with clear text and pleasing colors.
  2. An on-genre cover that accurately reflects what the book is about. 
  3. No spelling errors.
  4. Professional imagery.

Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and think about what you want when you buy a book. And remember, it’s okay to judge a book by its cover!

What are cover design trends for the genres?

Different genres have their own trends for book covers. If you tap into the trends that affect your genre, you’re more likely to have a book cover that readers are used to seeing (and are proven to like).

Here are trends across some of the most popular genres on Amazon:

Mystery / Thriller:

  • Dark covers with vivid, bright fonts
  • Crisp imagery
  • Simple layouts that are visually pleasing
  • Backdrops that bring the drama (an abandoned house and broken plate in these cases)


  • Contrasting colors (such as black and white or dark grey and pink)
  • Couples or singular models that show what level of steam is in the book (if your book is sweeter, maybe the couple is holding hands. If your book is very steamy, maybe there’s a couple kissing)
  • “Instagrammable” covers (highly attractive, eye-catching imagery)

Fantasy / Paranormal:

  • Powerful colors (like dark blues, greys, purples, oranges, and reds)
  • On-genre fonts (think big, strong lettering)
  • Appropriate images of the book’s themes, such as dragons, mages, fairies, and such

Science Fiction:

  • Big text that will grab the readers’ eyes
  • Images that are on-genre, reflecting spaceships, post-apocalyptic worlds, and more
  • Vivid colors in the text and the background that contrast pleasingly (such as white and dark blue or white and dark red/orange)

Young Adult:

  • Characters that are clearly teens
  • Scenes of action and excitement that will pique younger readers’ interests
  • Again, big, easy to read fonts and colors that plainly show what the title and author name are

Ultimately, readers want professional covers with text and colors that look good to them. If you design your own book cover

How do I make an attractive book cover?

With tools like Canva and Adobe InDesign, as well as countless online guides (such as Kindlepreneur’s and one from Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula), you have both paid and free options for creating your own book cover.

Ultimately, you want to make sure that your cover looks as professional as possible. Remember, you’ll need to do this by making it easy to read and by using crisp, clear photos. (If all else fails, you can hire a professional cover designer)

If you need imagery for your book cover, try websites like FreeImages, Unsplash, or Pixabay. These websites have royalty-free, high-quality images suitable to book covers.

To learn more about what might draw readers into your book cover, check out our article on 4 Ways to Hack Your Book Cover Design (With Science).

Be sure to comment if you’ve had luck designing your own cover – we’d love to hear your tips and tricks!


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