Ebook Cover Design Tips: Where to Begin
Ebooks are becoming increasingly popular, so having a title that pops out from the rest of them is essential to getting your EBook to sell, or if you aren’t selling it, for people to actually find it. Having a killer Ebook cover design is just as imperative — the title needs to capture the attention of your audience and make them want to read your new Ebook. This article will give you Ebook cover design tips for how to create an eye-catching title and how to incorporate it into your cover design.
Even though writing an Ebook is somewhat difficult and time-consuming, sometimes creating the title is the hardest part! How do you capture all of what you’ve written in just a few words? How do you convey to a large audience the magnitude of creativity you put into your writing? Then you have to come up with some sort of eye-catching EBook cover design too! Don’t stress, this article will start slow and help you every step of the way. We’ll go through how to outline your title, what words to use, and what category your EBook belongs in. Then we’ll talk about fonts, colors, placement and more. Each step is explained with examples to help you create the perfect title your audience will respond to. If you already have some ideas for your title, or even already have a title, this article can help you polish them up into something even greater.
Create a Starting Point
Starting your title process is probably the most difficult part of figuring out your ebook cover design since most people are completely stumped at where to even begin! Here are a few steps to help you create an outline of what your title could look like:
- The first thing to do is to identify your main topic. What category does your EBook fall under? Start with the big category. Think about where you would find your EBook on sites like Amazon or Goodreads. Figure out the big overall topic like business, health or fashion and, then specify from there. For example, start with Finance, narrow it down to online small business finance, and then get even more specific to online small business finance for clothing shops. Another example could be health as your main topic, then healthy dieting, then narrow down to a gluten-free diet, then even further to a vegan gluten-free diet. Start big and move your way to what is unique about your EBook cover design.
- A good method of writing down your topics and how they all fit together is to make a web or tree. Start with the main topic in the middle and branch out smaller topics around that, and then move on to even more specific topics from those. Keep making your topic more and more concise and distinct until you can’t go any further, like the examples shown earlier.
- Another item for your title to write down is descriptive terms you like. Make a list of these down the side of your page with the web or tree of topics on it. Descriptive words like essential, fundamental or basic. Circle the ones you like best and set this aside for later. Get a few topics and subtopics down to use later too. It’s okay if you have a few topics, start with 10 words and narrow it down to 3 or 4 main words you feel describe your EBook with the most clarity on your specific topic.
- The next step is to classify what your EBook actually is. This means formatting mostly- what did you plan on having your audience use your book for? What do you plan for your audience to do with your EBook? Is it a layout of fashion designs? Is it a business method or plan? What does your EBook help the audience do? What kind of outline or formatting did you use when you wrote your EBook? For example, can it be classified as a guide, a series of articles or a business plan? Figure out what you can market your EBook as. Narrowing down your EBook into a classification helps your audience find your EBook easier. If a reader is looking for a guide to buttons in fashion circa 1950, having that specificity of “guide” can make all the difference in whether your EBook makes the list or not.
- It’s important to classify your EBook correctly. If you label your EBook as a guide, and it is actually more of a directory and readers are going to be upset they didn’t get what you advertised. Double check your definitions of the classification label you choose. Some common classifications to use for your EBook title are listed below.
A few good classification labels to use are:
- Blueprint: Design Plan that acts as a model or template, specific to technical drawings.
- Companion: A book that provides information about a particular subject.
- Compendium: A large collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject.
- Directory: A book listing individuals or organizations alphabetically or thematically with details relevant to the particular subject.
- Field Guide: Book for identification of things, usually referring to the natural environment.
- Guide: A book, document or display providing information on a subject or about a place. Also: Guidebook.
- Handbook: A book giving information on instructions for a particular subject.
- How-To Book: provides detailed and practical advice.
- Manual: Book of instructions.
- Reference Book: A book intended to be consulted for information on specific matters rather than read start to finish.
- Template: Format that serves as a model for others to copy.
- Work Book: A book for student’s to use with instruction and exercises for a particular subject.
These are just a few relatively common examples to use to classify your EBook. If you are having trouble discerning which of these classifications fits your EBook best, do a little research into what you’ve written. What does your book provide for your audience? What will they take with them after reading your EBook? Feel free to ask any editors or others who have read your EBook pre-publishing to make sure you are on the mark. Getting inside your audience’s head allows you to craft a title and ebook cover design that will draw them in. For example, if you have an EBook titled as a guide, you want to feel like you learned a lot about the topic when you reach the end of the book. Or if you write a business plan method, your audience should be able to follow the method step by step and get similar results. Your title is the main form of advertising your EBook, so whatever you promise your writing will provide your audience is what you need to give them.
Again, just as a side note of caution, make sure you don’t make promises with your title or subtitle that don’t deliver in your EBook. If you label your EBook as an instruction manual and don’t have any instructions, your readers will be angry and upset they spent time reading through an EBook that didn’t help them the way it advertised it would. Poor reviews and bad publicity will follow, and the lie will tarnish any future projects you present.
See? That was pretty easy once you got started. Now you have a classification, an overall topic and specific topics to inform your audience what you have written for them. You have a general starting point to get your EBook cover design title started. Save all of this to use later- now we do research!
Research: What to look for!
In addition to researching your own EBook and what it has to offer, research other EBook titles already published in your topic. It’s always good to check out other bestsellers and imitate (don’t copy) something similar.
Since everyone is writing EBooks about everything these days, find a few places to research the area of your EBook. Google your main topic, search Amazon, and look at other blogs featuring EBooks in your main topic to get a general feel of most titles in the area you wrote your EBook in. Figuring out what’s already been done, what is overused and what is extremely popular is exactly what you need to make an eye-catching title for your own EBook. You need to examine your competition, look at what the audience responds to and then create something unique for yourself that will stand out.
Additionally, look at other topics to see what titles are the most attractive there. You might be able to pick up on a trend that’s happening in another area before it hits your area, so then you can be the first (and hopefully most popular!) to use that type of title.
Check up on what kind of content the most trafficked blogs in your topic put out, and what titles they use to attract readers. Who do the blogs feature the most, and why is the audience attracted to them? What type of Ebook cover design do they use? As a side note, use this research time to also make a list of blogs who might feature your completed EBook later on. There’s no harm in double-dipping with your research!
What if you do all this research and still don’t feel like you’ve found the perfect title? In a pinch, look at clickbait titles. Why is there so much clickbait everywhere? Obviously, because whatever these click-bait sites are doing works to capture an audience. What are they doing specifically to catch their audience though? Clickbait titles work because they are stimulating curiosity or cultivating mystery. People are drawn to titles like “This girl almost died! Read more to hear her harrowing tale-it could happen to you!” or “The deadly killer that’s probably in your home right now! Do you use these common household cleaners?”
Titles and subtitles like these in your Ebook cover design attract the eye and get the reader thinking. They are filled with a need to know what happened, or what could happen to them. Use this method of mystery and curiosity to enhance your title. “Business Methods that Make Money: Are you missing out on thousands of dollars with a poor business plan?” or “The Essential Guide to Topic: Here’s how you can learn to do this thing better!” Titles like these get the reader thinking about how reading these EBooks can help improve their lives. Take your keywords and classification and morph it into a title that is intriguing, and promises to help with something. Then, convey that message in your Ebook cover design.
How to Arrange Your Title
Titles should be catchy, but not kitschy or long. Try to make your main title simple at 5 or 6 words or even less. Main titles should say what your EBook is, (i.e.: guide, plan, novel, etc) what the topic is (i.e.: Business, poodles, music, etc) and have one or two highly descriptive words to accompany this. (i.e.: essential, fundamental, vital, outstanding, etc) Some examples are:
- The Founder’s Guide to Promoting Your Online Store
- The Good Gardener: The Essential Guide to Getting Vegetables to Grow in any Climate!
- The Best Guide to Growing Wild Flowers
- Fashion Examined: How Buttons were All the Rage in the 1950’
- The Vegan Gluten-Free Diet: What Is Left for You to Eat
These titles help us know what the book is about, and what reading this will give us. If you are running a series, like the Founder’s Guide, have a set title followed by the topic. Having a series title, again like the Founder’s Guide, gives you a sense of authority on the subject. Any extended authority, experience or wisdom on a topic in the title gives the EBook extra gravitas that attracts the reader’s eye over another EBook without.
Once you have your classification and any extras, pull out your paper with your web or tree and all those descriptive words. Take all the information you just read and researched and make a few mock titles to try out. Create at least 3 or 4 mock titles to experiment with and say them out loud. Your title should be easy to read, not hard to pronounce or difficult to say. It should flow easily when spoken and make sense automatically. Test them out on family members, your editor, anyone who will listen. Feedback is critical, and sometimes it sounds better in your own head because you understand it, but it doesn’t translate to someone less familiar with the topic, which is the audience your title is most important to. Take all critical criticisms lightly- yes, this is your project you are super proud of, but you created it for others, and those are the people you need to reach. Harsh and unhelpful criticism can be ignored. Say later to the haters, you have an EBook to publish!
The key thing to remember is that titles should be catchy, easy to pronounce and easy to remember. Though it’s fun to make a long title with impressively complicated words, any readers who look at a title like that will give up halfway through or feel that they aren’t smart enough to read the rest of the book if the title is so complicated. “The Superbly Long and Complicated Title with Enormously Large Obscure Wording Regarding the Creation of a Business Guide in Fashion” will be ignored over “The Essential Business Guide to Fashion”. Make it easy, and memorable.
It should be noted that compendium and directory fall in the hard to pronounce or too complicated category. These terms are meant to be used with very specific topics, and even the other offered classifications should be exactly what the definition listed is. Don’t call your EBook a blueprint if you only have one example of a technical drawing. People writing EBooks in certain areas of expertise know what kind of classification they should use, those listed are meant to be a demonstration or reminder of those classifications for those readers of this article.
Choose the favorite out of your mock titles, and Voila! Now you have completed your main title! The worst is over. Next is the easy part: the subtitle.
Subtitles are only included if the main title doesn’t cover the topic fully. The subtitle should provide more specific information, while also serving to intrigue your audience into reading your EBook. Think back to the second portion of those clickbait titles such as: “Her harrowing story- it could be you!” While the main title catches your reader’s eye, the small print underneath should get readers extremely curious about reading the rest of the EBook.
Photo via The Creative Penn
After the main title, the subtitle comes in and secures the readership if the main title isn’t enough. A subtitle gives a little more in-depth information about what the EBook is about, and this is where you make your promise clear. This is where you explain what you are going to give the reader if they open your EBook. Examples of subtitles are: “A fully comprehensive list of strategies to gluing on fake eyelashes” or “Extensive marketing plans that fill gaps between larger projects” or “How-to make the perfect Eye Catching Title for Your EBook”.
This is where you can use that really specific area of expertise you have to reel a reader in. Most people who write an EBook do so because they have experience, a method or some other idea that hasn’t been done that way before. Pull out your original outline and notes for your EBook cover design before you began writing it. Why did you write this EBook in the first place? What gap were you trying to fill in the area you wrote in? That is what your subtitle is. The main title grabs readers; the subtitle gets specific for them. Subtitles are where you can take all those words you wanted to use to make a long, complicated title and use them. Your subtitle can be relatively longer than your main title since you do want to get your promise to readers out there, but still try to keep it simple and concise. Use the same rules for the main title: it should still flow, be easy to read and not have a lot of complicated wording. The title drew your readers in, so don’t pull a 180 and change the subtitle drastically from the main title. All the titles should make a reader confident that they can gain more knowledge from your EBook without needing a major college degree in the subject matter.
If your main title covers everything you want to say and is specific to the area you want to inform on already, you don’t need a subtitle. You can still use one if you want to, but be careful not to become redundant. Redundancy is boring, and no one will read a boring EBook.
There! The main title and a subtitle are all ready to roll on your awesome EBook cover design. Now on to the look and placement of your titles in that super attractive cover.
Ebook Cover Design Tips: Start Designing
EBook cover design can be an area where it is easy to get carried away with sometimes. Since you have no limits to bright colors, interesting fonts and tons of pictures to choose from its hard not to include as much as you possibly can. However, readers can be overwhelmed with all the output coming at them, and you can scare off quite a few readers by having too much clutter. How do you get your title to stand out in your design? Font, placement, color, and size all play a factor in getting your title to pop out from the screen.
Ebook Cover Design: Font
Fonta are fun to play with for most EBook cover designs. There are literally thousands of fonts to choose from, but stick with these few tips to capture your audience. Or don’t, this is your EBook. But really, these tips will help you out quite a bit.
First, pick an easy to read font for your Ebook cover design. Fonts that have subtle lines across the tops and bottoms of the letters, such as Times New Roman or Cambria, guide readers subconsciously. The lines distinguish the words from the background and allow the eye to follow the words with ease. Bubbled or curved letters are actually harder to follow, and don’t guide the reader to the next word. It’s easier for the reader to get lost in the background and not finish reading your title at all. Pick a font with lines to keep your audience reading, which is the whole point of the title anyways. Don’t use the same font as you do inside your EBook; get a little creative with the title and Ebook cover design. Just keep it easy to read.
Photo via Stepto & Son
Second, don’t go too crazy with lettering. Creative is great, but crazy is bad. Cursive or gothic style fonts look neat, but it can be difficult to discern what the title actually says sometimes with all extra loops and twists. If you do choose to have a cursive or gothic style font, make the fanciest letter the first one and pick a corresponding, easier to read font for the rest of the words. Then you get your style choice, but the reader is still able to discern what the entire title is saying. You can give your ebook cover design your own creative touch while still keeping it easy to read.
Feel free to make your main title large and fancy, but still easy to read, and then have a different correlating font for your subtitle. There’s plenty of room to go a little wild and be creative, just be sure it is legible.
Third, make the color of your font black, grey or another dark color that makes the words easy to find on the page. Darker colors show better, are simpler to find and easier to read. Bright yellow or orange font is obnoxious and straining on the eyes, so readers won’t even try to read the title. There’s a reason why books are printed in black ink- not green or purple or yellow. Black is preferable in ebook cover design, but depending on the color of your background cover design a dark gray or navy can sometimes fit better than the classic black.
Example Fonts (Taken from Microsoft Word):
- American Typewriter
- Copper Plate
- Goudy Old Style
- Times New Roman
As you can see, these fonts are fun but the slight line at the top directs the eye to the next letter, and then the next word to subconsciously keep the reader reading. This guides them through your catchy title, into the subtitle and now they’re hooked and buying your EBook!
Difficult to read Style Fonts:
- Bauhaus 93
- Comic Sans
- Gill Sans
- Marker Felt
All of those fonts might look fun, and might be interesting but you’ve already lost half of your audience who didn’t feel like finishing the title or were thrown off reading. All of these fonts make your Ebook cover design distracting and make the reader work harder. The cursive script is barely readable! Most readers who are thrown off reading fonts in this title decide that the contents of the book will be just as hard to read, and they will go find a different EBook with similar information in a simpler font.
Fonts also carry your EBooks’ reputation to a certain extent. Look at how professional the Century, Palatino, and other lined fonts look. Now examine how childish the Comic Sans, Chalk duster and Marker Felt fonts look. The reader has already decided the top lined fonts will be more informative and have accomplished authors while the lower fonts will have less useful information with beginner authors. Fonts are a crucial and imperative factor in your Ebook cover design — it doesn’t matter that both authors in these scenarios are equally skilled and knowledgeable writers; readers have already judged the EBook by its cover. Pick a font that does your writing justice, and proves how skillful or experienced a writer you are.
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Here are some examples of how colored wording can be used. The black is the easiest to follow. A white background makes all the colors pop, but even on white the yellow is the most difficult to read. Bright colors are better used in pictures or as borders, not for the title. Red appears to pop the brightest here, but keep in mind this is white. Red does not show well with other colored backgrounds, and red is usually perceived subconsciously as a mistake. Think of the little red squiggle on Microsoft word, or the red pen your teacher used to mark wrong answers. Unless your EBook is a love story, don’t make your title red. Even with love stories a dark pink, or of course black, are always preferable.
These tips can feel a little strict, but they are tips for a reason. The easier your audience can read your title, the more they read. The more they read, the faster they purchase your EBook to read the rest. Fun colors can be used in your pictures, background or border of your EBook cover design instead of the title.
Always remember that your EBook cover is going to be on a computer screen. Capturing attention and reading covers on a computer screen is a little more limiting than having a printable cover.
EBook Cover Design Tips: Placement
Placement of your title in your EBook cover design is essential to your EBooks’ success as well. Think about the covers of physical books. Usually, the title is front and center. The book might have an awesome picture, and it might draw the audience to the cover initially, but the title should be the most prominent.
Divide your EBook cover into 3 even sections top to bottom, horizontally. Traditionally, the title should take up the entire topmost section, and it can be as big as the entire top section and half of the middle section. The second half of the middle is for your subtitle, which should be centered under your main title. In the bottom section put your name. The author should be displayed proudly at the bottom of the cover.
Photo via Keith Draws
Or you can flip this around. Put the author at the top, and your title in the lower half of the middle or bottom sections. Placement is important since the title placement lends a feel of the EBook theme inside to the outside cover.
If it feels right to you, go ahead and move the title around, and get creative with what your EBook is portraying. Depending on the length of the title, it can be displayed diagonally across the top section, or stacked in the center. If you do decide to get creative with your placement, ask someone to read the title to you at first glance. Are the words still in order? Was it hard to follow? Was the reader confused about anything? Be creative while still keeping it readable — you don’t want your Ebook cover design to distract the reader too much.
The key to placement is to fill one portion of the three sections of space, and place the title so the eye naturally goes to read it.
Ebook Cover Design Tips: Size
The size of your title is a major eye-catching device and is a crucial factor in your Ebook cover design. A large space is awkward feeling when the title is small. Small titles can be difficult for the reader to find, and hard to read. Recall again that the title needs to be read off of a screen. No one has time to zoom in to figure out what the title says when another EBook is right there with a large simple-to-read title.
Use the same three sections we discussed in the last paragraph again- Does your title fit in the top and half of the middle section? Large, bolded lettering stands out to the attention of the audience, catching the eye and allowing for easy reading. Words should fill the space evenly, with room on the outside edge for a border. Even if you don’t add a decorative border or something to the edges, leave an even space on both sides. Words that go right to the edge read as though the rest are missing, fallen off the side so the reader never knows the full title. Make the lettering big, but leave enough of a space to convey that it is the full title right here, nothing is missing.
Stay True to Your Content
However you decide to present your title can lend a new feel to the contents inside, so be true to the nature of your book and the audience you intend it for.
For example, don’t go wild with an EBook about Shed Building Blueprints. A crazy wild colored title with chunky lettering doesn’t scream that the contents of the EBook are well-ordered, professional shed blueprints with multiple angles and suggestions for use. A simple lettered cover that is just as orderly as the blueprints inside portrays the contents better. The wild cover would attract fashionistas, but the audience this is intended for is carpenters. Stay true to the brand you wrote about inside on the cover to avoid confusion and the wrong audience.
Ebook Cover Design Tips: Putting it All Together
You are almost done with your eye-catching EBook title and cover design! We’ve gone through the classification, main title, the subtitle, the font, color, placement, and sizing. All the puzzle pieces need to be put together now to create that excellent cover design for your EBook. Go through some final items to make sure the title really pops:
- Does your classification checkout with your sample readers?
- Is your main title easy to read?
- Is your subtitle catchy and specific?
- Can the audience easily read the title font?
- Did you compare font color to the background color?
- Does the title take up the most space?
- Is it in the right order, especially if it is staggered or stacked?
- Is it big enough to read easily from a computer screen?
If all this checks out, you have created the perfect eye-catching title for your EBook! There are a few more items you can choose to add, or you can go ahead and get on with the next item of business for your EBook.
If you think your title or Ebook cover design doesn’t stick out quite enough from the background, play around with outlines and shadowing on your lettering. Sometimes that extra little shading is just what the title needed for that ultimate pop. Grey shading for small or larger shadows to reflect the title behind it work well, and for flashier covers, a metallic edge to the letters really sticks out.
Underlining the title can also give you that missing extra oomph you were looking for in your Ebook cover design. Again, black, grey or a metallic color work best as underline colors to pop your title out. Play around with different shading, outlines, and underlines until the title fits the exact image you want to impress your audience with.
It is so important to make a cover you are extremely satisfied with, that portrays the contents of your EBook to their best advantage, and that really captures your reader’s attention. Sticking out from the crowd with the title of your EBook can be some extra hard work, but it means your EBook is noticed before someone else’s EBook. Creating an eye-catching EBook cover design and title takes some time, but is well worth the effort. The audience always appreciates the extra mile authors go to give their EBooks’ an edge and make them look fantastic on the screen. A happily dazzled audience returns your title efforts by purchasing your EBook!