Having put in hard work to make your book the best it can be, now it’s time to make sure its cover design is attractive and enticing enough to catch your readers’ eyes!

This is probably one of the most exciting parts of the publishing process, where focusing on what your ideal reader would look for on a cover becomes a key factor in your book’s success.

In today’s super informative episode, Lauren goes over the things you should think about when creating a book cover. She also talks about different platforms where you can hire professional experienced designers for your cover, things to think about when designing your book, and how to know what your ideal reader will love.

We hope this episode inspires you to create a unique book cover that compels your readers to buy your book! 
When you have it ready to go, share it with us on social media @schoolforwriters. We would love to see it!

Thank you so much for tuning in today! If you haven’t listened to episode 39 where Lauren interviews Casie Voguel of Ulysses Press on the Competitive Advantage of Writing for Niche Markets, then go back and check it out!

We want to know who you are and where you’ve been! Come hang out with Lauren in the Writers Squad Facebook group and over on Instagram @laurenmariefleming. We can’t wait to chat with you there!

You can also stay tuned for new weekly episodes @schoolforwriters, and if you want to spread the love even further, consider following, rating, and reviewing!

Resources mentioned in this episode:
-Join Lauren in the Jumpstart Your Writing Routine Workshop on June 16th. It is free for this one time only!
Scribe Media
-Join the School for Writers Academy, our exclusive writing group. You can find out more about the Academy at SchoolforWriters.com/academy.

Book recommendation of the week:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Love audiobooks? Listen on Libro.fm and support independent bookstores. Plus, use this link and we both get a free audiobook: http://libro.fm/referral?rf_code=lfm116869

Wondering why we don’t link to Amazon? Check out Episode 2 of the Business School for Writers Podcast to hear all about how supporting independent bookstores helps you see more stories like yours out in the world.


Welcome back to the School for Writers podcast. Today, we’re talking about one of the most exciting parts of the publishing process: choosing your book’s cover!

People do judge a book by it’s cover, so it can be hard to decide what your cover should look like. The goal here is not to try to please everyone, but instead focus on what your ideal reader would look for in the cover of a book.

My sister and I have very different tastes in books. What would make her go “yuck no thank you!” Would make me go “EEE! Yes, this looks amazing!” Go with what your ideal reader would love to pick up.

How do you know what your ideal reader will love?

Ask yourself what would you pick up? You are your ideal reader. I know a lot of people challenge me when I say this, but if you don’t think of yourself as your ideal reader, then think again. 

First off, why write a book you wouldn’t read? 

Second, you’re going have to read it a million times, so you should choose something you’d like. 

Third, this is going to be on your book shelf, so it might as well be something you’re excited about displaying. 

And fourth, there is no way to not put your own spin, opinions, beliefs, and world-views into your book, so just accept that you’re an ideal reader.

So, with that in mind, what would you pick up? Do you like images on the cover or just words? Do you love steamy romance with big hunky male models or do you prefer cartoon characters doing hilarious things? Do you go for dark and gloomy covers or bright and inviting?

Once you’ve written down your own preferences, and yes, write them down, then I want you to go to a local bookstore or library and look at where your book would be on the shelf. What already exists in your genre?

Look at fonts, colors, and images. Are they bright and bold? Whimsical? Flirty? Mysterious?

Yes, it would be fun to break your genre molds, but remember we judge a book by its cover and often times readers scan whether the book is even in the genre they like simply by skimming the cover. In the same way I’d be drawn to a cover with two girls kissing on it, my sister, who dislikes romance, would be turned off. And in the same way she’d love a photo of historical figures on her book cover, I, someone who is not a fan of historical fiction, would be turned off.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use it to get you where you want to go.

Things to think about when creating a book cover:

  • The style of books already in your genre.
    • Font
    • Color
    • Images
  • The format and size your publishing entity requires 
  • Continuity among your books.
  • Impactful thumbnail size.
  • Make a square for Audiobooks.

I highly suggest not doing this on your own. Creating a professional graphic designer who specializes in book covers and has book covers you love is the best way to get the highest quality cover. However, you can do it on your own too with templates.

Places to hire help:

If you’re a designer and want to design your own, here are some options you can use:

  • Adobe Photoshop or InDesign
  • Adobe Spark
  • Canva
  • DIY Book Covers or Book Design Templates

Other options that are not as great:

  • Amazon Cover Creator
  • Pages or Word

Things to think about when designing your book:

  • Make your title and subtitle bold and legible
  • Simpler is better, don’t overcrowd the design
  • Stick to one solid main color on the spine, if possible
  • Don’t forget the back!
  • Add testimonials or quotes if possible

Formatting your image:

This changes depending on where you’re publishing or printing your book. eBooks have different rules than print, which has different rules than audiobooks.

There are too many to list, every printer has dozens of options, but most are going to require a PDF with some bleed area — which means that you have a bit of a buffer on the outside to make sure your whole image is printed without being cut off or leaving any white space.

Using a company like BookBaby can help you with all the logistics, but each printer or on demand publishing house will have its own requirements posted on their website and a team to help you through the process. 

Throughout the process, remember to have fun! Yes, a book cover is a big deal and will help you sell your book, but it’s also a super fun process to go through and help makes your book feel more real. Don’t sweat it, embrace the excitement. And don’t be afraid to get professional help!

To recap:

  • People do judge a book by its cover.
  • Appeal to your ideal reader.
  • Use a designer or a template.
  • Don’t forget the back, spine, and barcode.
  • Have fun and ask for help when you need it.

When you have your book cover ready to go, share it with us on social media @schoolforwriters. I’d love to see it!

Happy designing!