Saturday, July 7, 2012

Guest post: Victorine -- Your indie-published book cover, Part Two

Last week we read the first half of Victorine Lieske 's guest post on Indie Book Covers: Three Seconds to Success or Failure. Vicki’s keen eye for detail and BIG success with her own indie published book put her in a prime position to offer the straight dope on creating your indie book cover. Today we have the second half of Vicki’s post:

Top six things to avoid when creating a book cover:

image photo : Watching sunrise on the beach1. Sunrises, Oceans and Clouds – Pretty scenery is just that, pretty. It promises calm and relaxation. That’s okay if your book is about meditation, but most books should avoid the calm book cover. It’s what my friend Lisa Kovanda, the Nebraska Writer’s Guild President, always says. “It’s the happy people in the happy village.” Who wants to read about happy people? No one. Books need conflict. Your book cover should imply that also. Don’t make it look too bright and happy. Promise the reader conflict.

2. Poor Font Choices – Watch out for fonts that are too ornate. The buyer should be able to read the title in thumbnail size. If they can't, change the font. You also want to avoid fonts that have been overused. Google “Fonts to avoid,” and start a list. Make sure Papyrus and Comic Sans are at the top of your list.

3. Snapshots – Unless you are a professional photographer, you should avoid using photos you've taken yourself. Try looking on royalty free websites like or

4. Homemade Artwork – Again, if you're not a professional artist I suggest you avoid using homemade artwork. It usually isn’t successful.

5. Rainbow Gradients – Most of the time rainbow gradients look garish and unappealing. They also have a bit of a “happy people in the happy village” look to them. They’re too bright and colorful. Avoid them.

image photo : Mask and skull6. Obscure Objects – I swear sometimes a book cover is designed with the sole purpose to confuse me. Don't put something on the cover if you can't tell right away what it is. You've got three seconds. Don't mumble. Make sure your book cover speaks clearly.

My best advice is to get more eyes on your potential book cover. Ask your critique group if the cover works for them. (If you don't have a critique group, you may have more problems than just your cover design.) If the cover isn't working, you may want to hire a professional. There are many cover designers out there. You can find all kinds of artists and price ranges. A quick Google search for “Indie Book Cover Design” will give you lots of choices. Make your first impression count.

My heartfelt thanks to Vicki for sharing her views on my blog. I absolutely love these sentences: You've got three seconds. Don't mumble. Make sure your book cover speaks clearly.  And thank you, readers, for coming by.


  1. Thanks again for hosting me, Owllady!

  2. My pleasure. I hope you'll be back. Indie publishing can seem like a big wilderness to people who haven't gone that way, so we can use the help!

  3. Great info! I'll save this one for when I'm looking into book covers.

  4. Good to know! Thanks for sharing. :)