I set out on that task of recreating my book cover for The Summoning and wanted to share the knowledge I’ve gathered from research and support threads. For those who wish to save money and prefer not to hire a graphic designer, here are some tips for you.
When you are beginning you cover design process, consider listing important elements in your novel. That is, showcase an object, person, setting that relates to your book. For example, The Summoning features a train, a forest, and a throwing dagger.
Some questions to ask yourself: Does your main character use a specific weapon, is there a setting that stands out in your novel, a relic such as an amulet or something your world sources its power from? Making a list of symbolic items that are part of your novel can help you to narrow down the vision and focus, while also foreshadowing what your story is about. The book cover, majority of the time, is what draws the reader to read your book blurb.
Search for books on the market that have a similar storyline to your own. What does their cover focus on, what colours are common, what themes carry over for your genre? By considering book covers on the market it can help you to draw new concepts and adapt them to suit your own while also keeping your book relevant enough to compete. Maybe you lean towards a having a cover model, a woman or man in fighting gear. Do you prefer their face shown/half hidden/back of their head/etc. Or maybe you like attention drawn to a specific item rather than a mystical person — like I did. All these questions are specific to what you as a writer, think is important in your story. What you choose to focus on commits the reader to deciding on first impression if that is something they find interesting themselves. By searching fantasy novels written about faeries, wizards, assassins, or whichever supernatural realm your WIP falls into, you can determine the styles that help you best fit in with those competing in your market.
Creating your cover with design websites:
This is a common and safe choice for those who do not have design experience or who are not tech savvy. Most design websites use a drag-and-drop tool, or provide you a starter template. (Note: If you choose an existing template remember other authors may have the same/similar cover as you. This can confuse you in the market and take away from individuality.) Some authors also use powerpoint or Microsoft word to lay out their cover.
Some design websites with a drag-and-drop feature for you to consider:
- KDP Cover Creator
If you don’t mind investing some money into your design, here are some websites to get you on your way for purchasing a template:
- Book Design Templates
Creating your cover with design programs:
If you subscribe to design programs such as Adobe photoshop/illustrator or gimp, then there are many youtube videos available to help you with your concept. By using these programs you can make stock images your own and less recognizable to your audience. Many authors use stock images for their design, and if given close attention, you are able to recognize some reoccurring landscapes and models. With adobe and gimp you can learn to blend, mask, overlay, and retouch your photos for your ideal design while adding in your personal flair. (Tip: You want to make sure your design document is formatted for CYMK printing if you decide to sell paperbacks. Don’t worry, it is common to adjust your design after receiving a proof of your physical copy)
If you do not have photos that you have taken yourself and would like to use stock images, here are a few websites where you can find stock images for free:
If you don’t mind investing some money into paid stock images, browse:
- Adobe Stock
(Note: by purchasing your stock image it does not remove the photo from the market, other designers may also have done the same. Purchasing a photo may provide you the license to reuse commercially and edit the photo. Some may offer web, print, and selling limitations. Please read the purchase license before use to assure you are not infringing any copyright.)
Deciding on a font:
Fantasy covers often use a sans-serif font. Choosing font is important as it has to be illegible and compliment the design. It is also common for authors to use the title as the image itself, not focusing on important relics, people, or settings, but using the text as the entire spread. Usually a font is part of an author’s brand. For example, the Twilight and Harry Potter fonts appear on each novel in their series and help readers to recognize the author. (Tip: you always want to keep your author name consistent on your covers to help generate brand awareness)
Example fonts that are common for fantasy covers are:
- League Gothic
- Becker Monogram
To download new fonts you can always visit:
- 1001 Free Fonts
- Font Squirrel
(Note: It’s common for traditionally published authors to have a font created for their covers. If you can’t find swirling font faces that span the cover, it’s probably because that font was created for the cover/author specifically.)
Good luck and happy designing!
If you have any additional resources you would like to share, please comment below.