How to make a great cover
Since we’re about to launch our new and very cool Cover Editor here on Movellas, I thought this might be a good time to look into the whole matter of covers.
A new feature is on the way, yay! With the new Cover Editor you’ll be able to upload a picture (or choose form our database – newly updated with lots of cool images!) and then zoom in or move the frame around until it’s exactly the way you want it, plus add text in whichever font, size and colour you like for the title and the name of the author (you!)
But what is a great cover? They say that a picture says more than a thousand words, but the idea is to make such a great cover, that anyone who sees it instantly wants to read the thousand or more words that make the story! The idea is to get more readers by creating the perfect cover for your story. I have put some of my favourite covers from Movellas here for inspiration.
Do you agree? Or which ones are your favourites?
I find that a good way to start making the perfect cover is to look at all your favourite covers. What is so special about them? What do they have in common? Is it the colours? The image? Or the words? Next you should ask yourself what your story is about. Can you find an image that conveys the mood of the story? And if possible one that also has something to do with what goes on in the story. When you are ready to write the title, you need to ask yourself what font and colour match the story best. If your story is the diary of a girl, perhaps a font that looks like handwriting is the best choice. If it is all Sci-Fi in space, maybe a font that makes you think of computers and machines. There’s so much to consider!
Of course personal taste plays a role in this, but there are also a few tricks of the trade that we can learn from. Here’s what I found out.
From the advertising industry I asked a really talented brand manager what she looks for when she needs to pick an image that will make thousands of people choose her product.
She said: I always use the ‘KISS’ model. That is ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid”. That reminds you that it needs to be something that people can understand right away or they might loose interest. To grab their attention you need to speak to their emotions – for instance humour, ethics, kindness and love or something like that. Something provocative can be good too. In short you want to stand out and make people curious.
From the art world I asked an art historian and lecturer. She said: A cover needs a composition, so it's important to think about where you place the various element. We read a picture the same way we read a text - left to right. If there is a face on the cover, it works the best if it is looking in the reading direction, e.g. to the right. You need to consider that the cover should match the content, so if it's a story with lots of action, it looks more dynamic to place elements in a diagonal line - whereas if you place it straight vertical or horizontal is looks more calm. There is also the question of colours and mood; do you want warm or cool colours, what suits the story the best?
From the publishing industry I asked a guy who is in charge of the covers for young adult
literature, and he said: When I make a cover, the mood is more important than the details of the storyline. All the characters or plot points don't need to be shown on the cover, because you risk making it look messy. Everything should be clear, so the reader knows exactly what kind of story, they're looking at. You also need to remember to think that if you choose a very strong image, you don't want to choose a font that is too fragile - and vice versa - because one will end up stealing the picture. The best covers are always simple.