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How to Create a Book Cover for Kindle That Captures the Reader's Attention

Publishing, Marketing, & Writing Tips

Book covers! Let's talk about 'em. You have about 3-5 seconds to make a good impression, or the reader is moving on to the next shiny object that actually grabs their attention (and multiple studies have proven this, by the way).

How to Create a Book Cover for Kindle That Captures the Reader's Attention
Table of contents

So, how do you create a book cover for Kindle that makes people want to "add to cart" and actuallycheck out?

First, there shouldn't be any confusion about the genre, tone, and mood of your book. It should also be eye-catching and memorable, making it easy for readers to find and recognize your book among the millions of others available on the Kindle store.

When you break it down, the book cover is made up of the design, color scheme, font choice, and imagery, and we'll explore each factor below!

The book cover is just one piece of the puzzle. Rather than spending thousands of hours and dollars trying to figure everything out yourself, our publishing course lays everything out for you.

Design Principles for Captivating Kindle Book Covers

You don't need a degree or years of experience with graphic design to be able to produce a professional-looking cover when you set up a book on Amazon, but knowing some basic design principles can help.

Here are three design elements to consider when you design your own book cover:

1. Color Theory and Usage

Ever notice how certain brands and logos within the same industry share many of the same colors? There's a reason for that. Color psychology is very real and can affect buyer—or, in this case, reader—behavior.

Of course, there's no rule that you have to follow about which colors you use for your cover, but here are some general trends:

  • Red: Passion, excitement, danger. Often used in romance, thriller, and action genres.
  • Blue: Calmness, trustworthiness, stability. Popular in non-fiction, business, and self-help books.
  • Green: Nature, growth, health. Typically used for gardening, environmental topics, and health-related genres.
  • Yellow: Happiness, energy, attention-grabbing. Often used in children’s books and works that convey positivity.
  • Purple: Mystery, spirituality, luxury. Common in romance, fantasy, spirituality, and mystery genres.
  • Orange: Creativity, enthusiasm, warmth. Great for creative writing, travel, and adventure books.
  • Black: Power, elegance, sophistication. Often seen in high-end luxury and noir fiction.
  • White: Purity, simplicity, minimalism. Used for modern, minimalist designs and non-fiction.

Pro Tip: This is another reason we recommend doing thorough competitor research for the inside AND outside of any books you think you want to create. But don't lose sight of having FUN when you're playing around with different color profiles, either.

2. Typography and Font Choice for Your Cover Text

Like colors, different fonts can evoke various feelings and set expectations about the book’s content. This is something you should think about any time you add text.

Here’s a brief overview of some of the most common font choices:

  • Serif Fonts: Classic, traditional, and trustworthy. Ideal for historical fiction, literary works, and non-fiction.
  • Sans-Serif Fonts: Modern, clean, and straightforward. Best for non-fiction, self-help, and young adult genres.
  • Script Fonts: Elegant, personal, and creative. Often used for romance, poetry, and autobiographical works.
  • Decorative or Display Fonts: Unique, distinctive, and genre-specific. Suitable for fantasy, science fiction, and children’s books.
  • Bold or Heavy Fonts: Strong, impactful, and attention-grabbing. Perfect for titles in thriller, horror, and action genres.

Pro Tip: When it comes to typography, less is often more. Avoid using too many fonts or font styles that clash with each other. Instead, choose one or two fonts that complement each other and use them consistently so your readers don't get confused or overwhelmed.

3. Contrast, Weight, and White Space

Nailing the design of your Kindle book cover is all about playing with contrast, weight, and white space. Here’s how to use these elements for a full ebook cover that really pops:

Playing with Contrast:

  • Mix light and dark colors to grab attention and create depth. Draw people’s eyes to what matters most, like your book’s title.
  • You can use contrast in other ways, too, with different textures or font styles (as long as you don’t go overboard).

Choosing the Right Font Weight:

  • Thick, bold fonts are great for making your main words stand out. They’re like saying, “Hey, look here!”
  • Pair bold fonts with simpler ones to keep things easy on the eyes.

Using White Space Wisely:

  • White space isn’t just blank space; it’s a part of your design. Use it to give your cover a clean, uncluttered look.
  • This space helps highlight the important stuff like your title, an image, or a catchy tagline.

Balancing It All Out:

  • The trick is to make contrast, weight, and white space work together. You don’t want too much of any one thing.
  • Aim for a cover that feels just right. Not too busy, not too empty, but perfectly balanced.

Genre-Specific Considerations for Cover Design

Designing a killer book cover starts with nailing the genre vibe. Here’s how to get it just right:

Research Your Genre:

  • Dive into your book’s genre and check out what’s trending. Look at bestsellers and notice common design elements: colors, fonts, and imagery.
  • What do you notice about what’s being used and what’s NOT being used among your competition? What are readers looking for? 

Match the Mood:

  • Books about finance aren’t usually covered in rainbows. How do you want people to feel when they look at your cover? 

Set the Scene:

  • Your cover should be a visual teaser of what’s inside (like a movie trailer).
  • The readers need a sneak peek that gives them just enough to make them want to crack the book open.

Pro Tip: Amazon forbids you from using terms like “bestseller” and “award-winning” in your title or using other untruthful methods to boost your book’s credibility. 

The Technical Side of Kindle Cover Creation

If the technical side of cover creation makes you anxious, don’t sweat it. There are really only two basic concepts to keep in mind. 

Amazon's Specifications

Before you start designing your Kindle ebook cover, you need a basic understanding of Amazon's specifications (otherwise, you’ll risk wasting your time). Amazon has specific requirements for the size and format of book covers that are uploaded to their marketplace. If your cover doesn't meet these requirements, it may not be accepted, or it may not display correctly on Amazon's website.

Here are some of the key specifications you need to note and keep in mind when creating your Kindle cover:

  • The minimum size for your cover image is 1000 pixels on the longest side.
  • The maximum file size for your cover image is 50MB.
  • Your cover image must be in JPEG or TIFF format.
  • The color mode for your cover image must be RGB.
  • Your cover image should be at least 300 DPI (dots per inch).

Pro Tip: Most commonly, you'll upload a PDF of your cover and a separate epub file for your manuscript. Resizing images in Canva is just a matter of a few clicks. It’s probably the most underrated design tool on the market.

Designing for Thumbnail and Full-Size Views

When designing your Kindle cover, you need to consider how it will look in both thumbnail and full-size views because different readers will be using different devices. The thumbnail view is the small image that appears on Amazon's search results page, while the full-size view is the larger image that appears when someone clicks on your book.

Here are some tips for designing and formatting your Kindle cover for both thumbnail and full-size views:

  • Keep the design simple!
  • Use high-quality images and graphics!
  • Make sure your title and author name are easy to read!
  • Consider the layout of your cover. The spine of your book will also be visible on Amazon's website, so make sure your design looks good from all angles!

Pro Tip: Formatting is what trips most people up during the self-publishing process, but it just takes some practice. Once you get the hang of it, the skill sticks with you, and you can go through the publishing process even quicker.

Working with Design Tools and Software

Creating book covers with beginner-friendly design tools and software can be a game-changer.

Here are two paths to consider:

Using Canva for DIY Book Cover Design

Canva is a great starting point for creating a professional-looking cover, especially if you're navigating the design world or a cover creator for the first time.

  • Wide Range of Options: You'll find lots of templates, graphics, and fonts for everything from book covers to social media posts, websites, and even greeting cards. 
  • Easy to Use: No need to be a pro designer here. Canva’s drag-and-drop interface makes it super simple to customize your design using eBook cover templates. Play around with colors, fonts, and your own images or illustrations to get it just right.
  • Flexibility: If you’re looking for even more flexibility, the pro account gives you access to even more templates, graphics, and fonts, and it costs less than filling up your gas tank. 

Pro Tip: Although you can also create designs using Microsoft Word, you won't have as much flexibility or design elements to choose from.

Using Dall-E to Generate a New Kindle eBook Cover

With a free account and just a few clicks, you can generate unlimited ideas for your work with AI tools like Dall-E or ChatGPT's Dall-E integration. In fact, one of our amazing coaches created his own ChatGPT cover creator assistant.

It’s not perfect, but it CAN save you hours of brainstorming and get the creative juices flowing. You can even send its results to a graphic designer if you want to outsource the design process to someone with a little more experience. 

Some things worth noting: AI isn't quite to the point to point of being able to generate perfect text yet, but it will get there eventually. For now, what you can do is generate the overall color palette and design elements, download it, and then upload the file into Canva to tweak it further. You will need a pro account to unlock some of these features, but it’s absolutely worth it. 

Professional Design Software Options

For those with a knack for graphic design or seeking full creative control, professional design software steps up the game. Here's what to know about going pro with your book cover design:

  • Advanced Tools for Custom Design: Software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator opens up a world of possibilities. You can start from a blank canvas and control every detail, from layout to typography.
  • Greater Flexibility: These tools allow for intricate designs and fine-tuning, perfect for achieving a specific vision or a highly unique cover.
  • Learning Curve: Be prepared for a bit of a climb. Mastering these programs takes time and patience, but there's a wealth of online tutorials to help you along.
  • Cost Considerations: Professional software often comes with a higher price tag. Weigh the investment against your need for advanced features and long-term use along with your other Amazon self-publishing fees.

Ultimately, the design tools and software you choose will depend on your level of experience, budget, and creative goals. Whether you opt for a DIY approach with Canva or invest in professional design software, make sure to take the time to create a book cover that captures the reader's attention and accurately represents your book's content.

There’s nothing wrong with giving something a try and then pivoting if it doesn’t work out. In fact, that’s a guarantee in the publishing world. That’s why adaptability is so important. 

Collaborating with Professional Cover Designers

If you'd rather outsource the design work, that's okay! Here are some tips for working with a designer to create a cover that meets your vision.

Finding and Choosing the Right Designer

If you’ve never worked with a designer before, you might not even know what to look for. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Experience and Portfolio: A designer’s portfolio will reveal their style and versatility. Working with someone who specializes in your genre isn’t really as important as working with someone who can translate your vision. If they don’t have a full portfolio yet, ask if they have some samples they’d be willing to share instead. 
  • Seek Recommendations: Tap into the author and publisher community for referrals or browse freelance platforms for experienced book cover designers. Facebook groups and Goodreads groups are a great resource. 
  • Compare and Contrast: Don't rush your decision. Take time to review and compare different designers’ work, looking for quality, creativity, and a style that aligns with your book.

Communicating Your Vision and Feedback

Once you've chosen a designer, clear and effective communication is key:

  • Share Your Vision: Explain your book’s genre, target audience, and themes clearly. Providing a summary or key elements of your book can help the designer capture the essence of your story.
  • Provide Constructive Feedback: During the design process, be open and honest with your feedback. Highlight what you like and suggest changes for aspects you’re not keen on. It’s better to do this as soon as possible rather than later–a common mistake of self-publishers who don’t want to come off as “too picky.” 
  • Maintain Professionalism: A respectful, professional relationship fosters better collaboration and results. If you don’t want your designer to take feedback personally, you’ve got to maintain the same expectations of yourself. Always keep the end goal and the readers in mind. 

Finalizing Your Kindle Book Cover

You'll hear us say this often, but quality is everything with self-publishing, and the cover is not an exception. Here's how to check that your cover is up to par:

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Is the title readable and eye-catching?
  • Is the cover image high-quality and relevant to the book?
  • What about the back cover and spine? 
  • Does the cover stand out among other books in the same genre?
  • If someone had no idea what this book was about, would the cover be enough to clue them in? 

Gathering Reviews and Making Adjustments

Before you publish your book, it's a good idea to gather feedback from others. You can ask beta readers, friends, or family to review your book cover and provide feedback.

Here are some things to do when gathering reviews:

  • Ask for honest feedback and be open to constructive criticism.
  • Look for patterns in the feedback, such as issues with the title or image.
  • Consider making adjustments based on the feedback, but don't make changes just to please everyone.

Pro Tip: If you DO need to make changes, that doesn't mean you failed. Keep learning, growing, and publishing!

Common Mistakes w/ Uploading Your Book to Amazon KDP

When uploading your book cover to Amazon KDP, here are common mistakes to watch out for:

Incorrect Dimensions and Resolution:

  • Does your cover meet Amazon KDP’s dimension requirements? Covers that are too small or large can lead to poor print quality or rejection.
  • The resolution should be at least 300 DPI for clear, sharp printing.

Ignoring Bleed and Margin Guidelines:

  • Neglecting the bleed settings can lead to important elements being cut off or white edges showing in the final print.
  • Keep critical text and design elements within the safe margin to avoid them being trimmed.

File Format and Size Issues:

  • Amazon KDP has specific file format requirements. Uploading in the wrong format can lead to upload errors. Be sure to review all of the Amazon Kindle publishing guidelines.
  • Large file sizes can cause upload failures. Ensure your file is optimized for web use without compromising quality.

Overlooking Spine and Back Cover:

  • For print books, the spine and back cover design are just as important as the front cover. Incorrect spine width or misaligned text can affect the overall look.
  • The back cover should be well-designed and include essential elements like a barcode area, which KDP can provide.

Ignoring Copyright Laws:

  • If you're going to use stock images, make sure you have legal permission to use them in your books and make a profit. 

Not Previewing Before Submission:

  • Always use Amazon’s preview tool to check how your cover will look in print and digital formats. This can catch unexpected issues like misalignment or color variation.

Pro Tip: Amazon’s cover creator can be finicky but will usually tell you exactly what problems there are with your file (if any) and exactly what pages they’re on. It’s not uncommon to find 2-3 mistakes when you think you’re done. It can be frustrating, sure, but don’t let it stop you from moving forward. We can’t stress this enough. 

Leveraging Your Cover with Marketing

Once your book goes live, your book marketing strategy will help it create and maintain momentum AKA getting more positive book reviews and book sales. Here are some quick marketing tips and ideas: 

  • Use your cover in social media and online advertising campaigns
  • Display your cover prominently on your author website and in email marketing campaigns 
  • Use your cover as a visual element in book trailers and other promotional videos
  • Consider using variations of your cover design in different marketing channels to keep things fresh and interesting

The best Kindle marketing strategy is to prioritize book reviews because these build your credibility and serve as social proof. Author websites, social media, and email lists are nice things to have, but they’re not necessary. We tell our students to aim for at least 50 reviews per book before launching their next one. 

Start Publishing with No Experience At All 

You have more questions; we have more answers. That’s why we put together this free webinar to show you how you can make life-changing income with just an Amazon account. 

We show you the exact process for coming up with a new book idea and turning it into money while outsourcing 90% of the work (if you don't have the time/energy to do it yourself). 

Robyn Brooks was a proud grandma who struggled with self-doubt, and now the entire self-publishing process is second nature for her. You can watch her story down below.

Give yourself the gift of trying something new. No more excuses!

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