eBook Cover Design Tips

We frequently get inquiries regarding strategic eBook cover design tips from clients and colleagues. In fact, more and more authors are focusing their sales and marketing efforts on their eBook with the printed book being an “extra” available for print book readers and bookstores through CreateSpace and/or Lightning Source. Because this is such a hot topic, we figured we would pull together our tips into one place.

Our Top 7 eBook Cover Design Tips


1.  Your ebook cover must pop

eBook covers are viewed online in eBook stores – most often at Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and the iTunes bookstore. They are often viewed as a thumbnail only to start. That thumbnail image must grab the reader’s attention. This can mean bright colors, a unique and super-cool image, a contrasting title and subtitle. Whichever direction you go, make sure that it is designed against other Top Selling eBooks in your category. Your eBook cover is likely to be first viewed as part of a list of 20+ books in your category. Make sure yours stands out!

ebook cover design tips, revenge served cole

2.  It must be readable

Remember, you have a thumbnail to grab the readers attention. Unlike printed books that readers might be more likely to pull of shelves, read bursts and endorsements and peruse back cover copy, you are grabbing the readers attention with the front cover only online. That means that your image, title, subtitle, and author name along with any quotes/endorsements must be clear, concise and readable. All too often authors fall in to the trap of trying to shove way too much information on their front cover due to the eBook format. This is a mistake! You have plenty of room in your Editorial Reviews, book description and Author page to sell yourself and your eBook. Keep the eBook cover design clean and readable.


3.  Your ebook cover design must sell your book

Unlike printed books, you have only a front cover to get your readers attention and get your message across. This is particularly true if you are publishing in an eBook only format. You won’t have designed a full cover and therefore don’t have the “real estate” of a back cover to continue your message. You must be able to convey your book’s message through your fonts, design, imagery, title and subtitle for your eBook. All too often publishers go too far with “creative” and lose sight of the fact that the reader has to “get” the book immediately from the front cover.

Green Beans & Ice Cream by Bill Sims Jr.

4.  Design with a full book in mind

We actually do a significant number of eBook to full print book cover conversions here at The Cadence Group. This tends to happen when an author has had some good success with their eBook sales and would like to create a print book using the POD programs offered by LSI and/or CreateSpace. This can be either an expensive and difficult process or a relatively quick, easy and cheap option. If your eBook cover is set up with a design eye to ensuring images, colors, and fonts will work as a full book, it can be an easy process to use the front cover of your existing eBook and design it in to a full print-ready cover.


5.  Own your final ebook files

In conjunction with “design with the full book in mind”, make sure you own your final design files from your eBook. These are likely to be inDesign although a designer may be able to work off of a hi-res, print-ready PDF. Regardless, owning the final files for your eBook is vital to ensuring that you can smoothly transition your program from eBook only to eBook and print book.


6.  Be professional

Even if you are only publishing an eBook, you must still have a professionally designed cover. There are ways to do this inexpensively and ways to hire a professional designer for more money. Whichever way you choose to go, your eBook cover must have a professional look and feel. Just like with a print book, one of our ebook cover design tips is to recommend that you print out covers of the Top 5 bestselling books in your category along with your own front cover and see how you match up. You want to make sure that your design is just a professional in its imagery, style, fonts, stacking, etc. as the eBooks put out by the big traditional publishers.

ebook cover design tips, dollars & uncommon sense

7.  Be mindful of your reader

Sometimes authors and publishers actually get too creative and too “out of the box” with their covers. Remember, consumers are “trained” by companies, including publishers, to respond to a certain look, feel, style, or even sound. If, for example, you are publishing a legal thriller and you look at the best-selling books in that category, you will be able to identify some of the “rules” of the category. Don’t break them. If the category demands simplicity, be simple. If it demands photo over illustration, go photo. Yes, there’s the idea that you want your cover to stand out, but you also want your category to be easily identifiable to the reader.


This is another ever growing list we keep here at The Cadence Group. That list is long but to keep it simple we pulled out our most important for our Top 7 eBook Cover Design Tips. Feel free to share your tips and ideas below!


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One Response to “eBook Cover Design Tips”

  1. Joe Smith says:

    I truly appreciate this blog post. Great.

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