Finding Great Book Cover Ideas

I have designed all the covers for my books. For me, it’s the treat of the whole publishing process. I love playing with images, text and light to find something that attracts my eye.

Although many will say, Don’t judge a book by its cover, it’s a fact that many people do just that. I know I do.

I’m more likely to buy a book if its cover appeals to me, and I will pass on a book if the cover hits a wrong nerve or is unattractive. Trashy fantasy novels with half-clad women never go into my cart. It doesn’t matter who the author is or how many people brag up the story.

I’ve been asked many times where I find the ideas for my covers. My answer is everywhere.

One of the places I look for inspiration is The Book Designer website. Each month, they run a contest for best eBook cover design. The covers entered into the contest for February 2015 are found here. This time around, they received 98 entries for fiction and 27 entries for non-fiction.

I browse through the many designs and read the comments made by the judges and the visitors. Sometimes it is obvious why a cover didn’t win the award. In general, I learn what works on a cover and what doesn’t. This includes fonts, images and basic design.

Each month I see various levels of skill competing for the award. If I like something about a design, I make a note. If I really like a design, I’ll do a mock-up of a pretend novel to capture the effect and tweak it to my liking. It is filed away until I need to create a real cover.

I liked the idea of words over words in a cover I saw, so I made this mock-up. Later, I used this idea for Nova Scotia-Life Near Water.

I liked the idea of words over words in a cover I saw, so I made this mock-up. Later, I used this idea for Nova Scotia-Life Near Water.


Nova Scotia - Life Near Water was submitted to Expanded Distribution November 19, 2013.

Have you entered a cover into this competition before? Now that you know about it, will you?

3 thoughts on “Finding Great Book Cover Ideas

  1. Funny you should ask. I entered The Bookdesigner’s cover award for February, my latest book Words We Carry (nonfiction) and was pleasantly surprised to be a runner up for best nonfiction cover. I didn’t win first prize, but was awarded a ‘gold star’ and a badge for second runner up. I have a graphic designer do my book covers, but I design them all in my head, search for the photos myself, have a concept of what I’d like in my head, then pass it on to my artist with my narrowed list of photos. She then makes me mock ups for me to visualize my ideas and we narrow down from there together.


  2. Nice covers; I especially like the second one. 🙂 I didn’t know about that site, but I took a look, and it seems great. Thanks for sharing the link! At this point, I don’t think I’ll submit one myself, but I may do it with one of my next covers.


Please Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.