Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lessons in Cover Design by Cover Your Dreams Designs

Today, I get a lesson on making book covers! I can't wait. Here's Cover Your Dreams Designs with a ton of good advice.

One of the things that should set science fiction, fantasy and paranormal (SFFP) books apart is their cover. I often see SFFP covers that don't give any indication of the SFFP content inside. So how DOES a cover say SFFP?

First and foremost a cover should reflect, evoke or allude to the content inside, but that in itself is not enough. The cover also needs to include elements that reflect their particular genre. This is especially important for indie authors and/or new authors. Not everyone is Philip K Dick so not everyone can rely on such a minimalist cover to sell their book.

The above cover could be almost any genre, including a math textbook.

Here are some elements that help evoke genre.

Stars and space - mainly they work for science fiction/space travel but they can also work in some fantasy or paranormal novels

Mist  - a mainstay of urban paranormal, also might have a place in high fantasy or sci-fiction

Flares - can be used in any of these genres. They are particularly useful in highlighting the title treatment but can also take the place of fairies or other magical creatures.

Magical creatures - obviously only relevant if the BOOK has magical creatures!

Manipulated coloring - can work on any SFFP genre.

Leather!  - a mainstay of the Urban Fantasy or Urban Paranormal genre (see also above cover!)

Specialized weapons - relevant to all SFFP genres

For indie authors, the final consideration is whether a cover look can be replicated. Most of us rely on series and serials, companion books and free shorts or novella to help drive traffic to our new books. For his reason we need to make sure the cover design we choose will fit into a strong series concept. Several of these above are part of series. Here are a couple more:

All of the covers above were designed for indie clients and publishers by Cover Your Dreams Designs. 


  1. Thank you for the advice. It's so hard to know exactly which cover is going to sell a book. :)

  2. I agree, Melissa--hard to know. One thing that's important, though, is that indie covers should look enticing at thumbnail size, because most readers won't see a large version of the cover until they buy or borrow the book. IMHO, most of the covers on this page look great when shrunken. Covers for traditionally published books, designed for bookstores, often contain elements that are too small for thumbnails.

  3. Excellent advice, Liza! I think another key, along with replication, is differentiation. Certain stock images (particularly sexy couple shots) appear on cover after cover. Hard to make your book stand out from the pack when it incoporates one of these overused stock images!

  4. Great advice Liza. Also I agree with Ed and EJ.

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  6. This fabulous advice didn't come from me. It came from Cover Your Dreams Designs.


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