What makes a good book cover design?

What makes a good book cover design?

You can’t always judge a book by its cover, but everyone does! In this blog, I’ll be discussing what makes a good book cover design, how to make your cover stand out, and what I see that really misses the mark. Your book cover design is the first thing people see, so you want to get it right!

First things first

The important thing to realise is that your book cover will most likely be seen amongst a group of other book covers, and will only be a thumbnail on a computer screen (or even smaller on a mobile). It’s likely to be approximately 2-4cm tall most of the time. You have to figure out how to make it stand out amongst the crowd and be obvious about what type of book it is.


Of course, the book cover should have the title on it. It should be highly visible and easy to read. The font style should match the genre of the book. For example, don’t use curly, wurly, cutesy typefaces for a thriller – it doesn’t fit and confuses the readers.


What’s in a name? So so so so so very much! I can’t emphasise this enough. Feel free to go all super clever with your name, but the problem is – will the readers understand what your book is about from the title and sub-title. If you’re super famous and will sell a million books just by putting your name on it – it doesn’t matter. But if you’re new and trying to create a name for yourself – don’t confuse the audience by making them guess what the book is about. At Turtle Publishing, we research popular niches and best seller statistics to find keywords for your title and subtitle. We combine the keywords in demand, with low competition and your book topic to really help you gain organic reach with your books.

Author Name

This goes on the cover. It seems obvious, but I think I would be remiss to leave it out of this list of ‘basics.’


Obvious is what you’re looking for here! Match the imagery with the genre your book is in. Use an image that makes it obvious what your book is about. Make it creative, make it ‘fit in’ with the crowd but also ‘stand out’ from your competitors. It’s not easy – it takes a lot of work to make something simple look fantastic, but it really makes a big difference when you ‘nail it’. At Turtle Publishing, we do some research on your niche before creating covers to work out how we can stand out. We don’t go for ‘run of the mill’ standard images, but we always make sure it fits within your genre.


Keep it Simple! Don’t put 20 images of food on your recipe book – it’ll be hard to see the small images. One big image almost always works best.

Be Clever

I do like a little ‘clever’ touch to a book cover design. For example, on a children’s book cover I’m working on at the moment, we’ve added some sneaky initials in the sand. They’re not obvious, but they’re there. After reading the book, the reader may spot them as it’s a big part of the storyline. These clever touches should ALWAYS ‘give the nod’ to the actual topic and not detract from the quick and easy visual when your book is glanced at for a second.

What people get wrong

I see many errors on covers all the time. The most common, though, is in the naming and sub-title. It’s actually more important than the imagery because it’s how your readers will find your book on Amazon. If you’ve written a non-fiction book, you want to make the title and subtitle really obvious so that your readers know they want to read your book before seeing what the cover looks like. If you’ve written a novel, you want readers to know it’s a novel, and what type of novel it is.

At the end of the day, you want your cover to stand out, fit in, tell a story and spike curiosity… sounds simple, right! It’s a tricky balance, and it’s always a challenge. The good news is that we’re here to help. At Turtle Publishing, we use a combination of designers to develop a design that’s right for you. Book a 30-minute free consult with us, and let’s see how we can help your book dream come true.