5 Design Mistakes That Can Make Indie Book Covers Look Wonky | Self-Publishing Relief

by | Book Cover Design | 1 comment

Despite the popular saying, most people DO judge a book by its cover. So your self-published book cover is your last, best opportunity to attract the attention of potential readers, give them insight about the contents of your book, and close the sale.

At Self-Publishing Relief, we know that the selling points of your book should never be overshadowed by the wrong cover design choices. Check out these common cover art catastrophes you must avoid to ensure your book will stand out for all the right reasons.

Wonky Design Choices That Will Ruin Your Self-Published Book Sales

Lots Of Fluff And Clutter

Covers that are cluttered with too many photos, words, or stylistic elements can confuse and turn off readers by misrepresenting the key points of your book.

Instead of including every design element you can think of, consider a more restrained touch. Too many elements will make your cover look amateurish. Incorporating minimalism into your cover art design can show off your creative side while making a huge impact with simple pieces.

Essential Details Downplayed

While having too many design elements can make your cover distracting and busy, ignoring the important details can be just as bad. Your self-published book will attract more attention with a prominent title and author name.

Hard-To-Read Fonts

Interesting fonts can make your title and author name stand out, but they can also lead to another common design mistake: sacrificing functionality for fun.

You may be tempted to use a very jagged font for your terrifying horror story or an intricate cursive for your flirty romance novel. But titles that are too difficult to read might cause potential readers to choose something else. And what happens when that unusual font shrinks down to thumbnail size—will it be legible? Instead, check out some of the best (and most readable) fonts for book covers.

Imperfect Pictures

Your images have to fit your cover in more ways than one. The content of the image should accurately reflect your genre. Then there are the technical aspects: The image must have the right dimensions for your cover size. You don’t want to try to stretch a too-small image beyond its limits. Stretching an image can cause its resolution to drop and distort into something unrecognizable—and it screams “amateur” and “low quality.”

Instead, find a larger image that can be cropped to size or made smaller without sacrificing its quality.

Copycat Style

When it’s time to design your self-published book cover, looking at other covers in your genre for inspiration is a great way to get started. However, you should never copy someone else’s cover art completely! This shows a lack of professionalism and will make your book seem like a knock-off. Also, potential sales of your book might end up going to the lookalike. And if your cover is too similar to another author’s, your book may become famous for the wrong reason—stealing!

Taking the time to make sure your book cover avoids common design blunders will help you catch the eye of your potential buyer and boost your sales potential. If graphic design isn’t your forte, you might want to consider a professionally predesigned cover. Or, you can contact the cover design experts at Self-Publishing Relief and let us create the perfect custom cover for your self-published book.


Question: What is your favorite book cover and what about its design catches your eye?

1 Comment

  1. Colin

    Take on board more simplistic design. My second cover was a bit complex. It was deemed old fashioned, at the time, but the novel has found popularity on Kindle. You need to consider-what will the cover look like on a screen- not just in a bookshop. It needs to be genre appropriate. Fifty eight per cent of sales for e-books are from independent publishers, not mainstream, apparently. There’s hope for authors who self-publish e-books!


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