Check your publishing platform for the latest technical specifications.
Even if you’ve created a book cover in the past, you shouldn’t skip this step. You don’t want to purchase stock images and create a cover only to find out the size requirements have changed, and you have to start over – costing you more money and time.
Your cover should relate to your genre and help set the reader’s expectations.
Look at other novels in your category and see if there’s a theme related to content or tone. Using image themes associated with another genre will confuse book buyers making it less likely they’ll give it a try.
Make all text legible.
Same with font selection. Thrillers and action titles will have fonts with a dominant feel and weight compared to romance or YA titles. You’ll want to be sure all text is readable when the image is a thumbnail as well as full-sized. A good title will go to waste if no one can read it.
Select your cover image with care.
If you choose to use the cover design services built into a publishing platform like CreateSpace or Lulu, opt for an original photo rather than the free stock photos offered. These photos are often too generic to benefit your novel and are overused. You can purchase a professional image from one of many stock photo sites for just a few dollars. You’ll have more choices, giving you a chance to closely match your image to your novel’s tone and theme. Always read the fine print, so you purchase the correct licensing level.
If you’re using a photo you took, make sure you obey privacy laws, and there’s nothing in the photo that is licensed to another company. An example would be an object or clothing with a prominent logo or trademark. Any individuals in the image should grant you written permission to avoid legal issues in the future. A standard release form covers most scenarios.
Resources for stock images: Canva, iStock, CanStock, Adobe Stock, Getty Images.