Creating eBook Covers: Basics

Basics of Creating Book Covers

Reason for covers

  • Attract attention of reader.  How? Colour, image, or “mood” of the cover.
  • Visually display genre. Why? Make it easy for readers of a particular genre to select my novel from all the other novels.
  • Visually display author name and title for readers Why? If the reader is a true fan they will purchase everything written by their favourite authors, no matter which genre.

Parts of a cover

  • Title

Is the title a Hook? Think of the movies Big, or Speed.

Does the title hint at the story?

Is the title clear text?

Easy to read even at a small size?

  • Author Name

Clear Text in small image?

Width of page?

On one line or more?

Still readable in Black and White image

  • Font





  • Image







  • Series logo or text
  • Length of story
  • Cover quotes such as Bestseller, or a short favourable review

Size of Cover

The consistent details are the size of ebook covers and the file format required on each site.

All sites (at this time) accept 500 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall, but I prefer to make my covers 600 pixels wide by 900 pixels tall.

The size 600 pixels wide and 900 pixels tall is large enough to work on detail, and can be reduced to view in the small postage stamp size displayed in lists on Amazon, Smashwords, and others.

All sites (at this time) accept the jpg file format. Some sites accept other file formats, but why create the same image in different formats, when one format is accepted by all sites? I keep it simple so there is no confusion when I upload each new ebook onto the different sites.

Colour vs. Black and White Images

Most readers only display covers in black and white at this stage, but there are colour readers coming onto the market, so better to use colour from the start.

Even so, once the cover has been created, change the image to black and white to confirm what the user will see once downloaded from the web sites to their readers.

Branding Book Covers

What is branding? I think it is consistent font sizes, image creation layout and mood portrayed on each cover for each author. This can be for a series, or all books by that author. Like an icon, the author name will be recognised by the readers if the font and size is consistent.

The easiest way to understand branding is Google a series you love, or an author you love. Study the same features on each of the books.

I studied The Night Angel Trilogy covers by Brent Weeks on his site

What is consistent in the series?

Same while background.

Same black clad figure with head covering and sword.

Same swirl of colour (paint diluted in water) behind figure

Same splash of colour (paint?) in front of the figure the same colour as the swirl behind the figure.

Same sized black fonts for each title.

Same sized grey fonts for the author name.

Same font for the detailed line of text.

Same positioning of title, detailed line of text and author name.

I studied L. E. Modesitt, Jr. books on his site

He writes both series and standalone fantasy and science fiction stories.

His series had most of the same consistencies as I listed for the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.

His standalone novels in both genres only had one consistent item, his author name. Same font and same layout of text. That is his brand.

You can study other genres and different authors you love, and see if there are other details I have not listed relating to branding.

I decided on my author name as my brand for my science fiction ebooks. I would be consistent with the font size and position of the author name. That way,  if I branch out in mystery or other genres readers will recognise the author name, just like L. E Modesitt, Jr.

I decided my series brand will use the same style of image for each series as well as the author name.

You need to decide your type of brand for your ebooks before you upload your first story in your genre.

You can change the brand for every other genre, and write under many different pen names.

Types of images.

Photos and Illustrations

  • Take your own
  • Purchase from web site such as:








Manipulated photos

  • Use one of the programs listed above and alter one or more photos to create the final image


  • Draw your own picture and scan into your computer
  • Draw your own picture, colour it with pencils, water colour paints, or oil paints, scan into your computer

Manipulated drawings

  • Once your illustration is scanned, colour or manipulate using layers
  • Use more than one image and arrange as required

Part A: Introduction

Part C will cover the Software Required

Part D will cover researching Genre

Part E will cover my examples

How far along are you in understanding all the different areas of eBook creation?

Any questions or suggestions appreciated.


3 comments so far

  1. ekcarmel on

    I knew self-pubbing was a lot of work, but just looking at this list — for just the cover — really makes it hit home.

    Not that it’s necessarily scaring me off. I studied Graphic Design before switching my major in college and I can actually see myself falling into this part of it and tinkering endlessly. Should I choose to go this route, I’ll have to pay attention to that!

    I agree you can learn a lot by looking at other series’ covers. I haven’t run across Brent Weeks’ before, but I love the covers. Simple and contemporary-looking, yet engaging.

    • D J Mills on

      And the Brent Weeks’ stories are good, too. A good lesson in how to make a standalone story into the first in a series. It is based in a single city, next book based on city plus neighbouring state, then in third story, make it big world. 🙂

      Lucky you utilising your knowledge of Graphic Design. Maybe I need to go back to university and do those subjects!

  2. Angela/Curiocat on

    I like how you laid this out: like a check list. It makes it easy to go through and think about.

    I love black and white photos, I can see me using black and white for dramatic purposes and as a trademark.

    It’s all a bit overwhelming but I think if I just go through your checklist I can focus on one thing at a time.

    Thanks for all the information, it is helpful.

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