Your book WILL be judged by its cover!

Yes, whether you like it or not, people DO judge a book by its cover.

Your book cover image will be the first thing people look at when they browse an online bookstore such as Amazon.

Research shows that 74% of a reader’s buying decision is based on the cover.  Potential buyers will spend approximately 5 seconds looking at the front cover then about 10 seconds reading the description on the back or in the blurb online.  If your cover or description don’t hook them in during that time, then you’ve lost a sale and they will move onto the next book.

This is why an exceptional book cover design is more important than ever.  Without a compelling, eye-catching, high quality cover in a store or a thumbnail image to grab the attention of online buyers, sales will simply not happen.

Your book needs to say ‘Buy me!’ It also needs to set the tone for your book and establish you (as the author) and it as the book as a brand.

Your book cover is therefore your prime real estate.  Every element of your cover – your title, subtitle, image, concept and colour – is critical.  It can make or break the success of your book.

If your book cover says ‘boring’ or ‘unprofessional’ in any way, then the reader will not have much faith in the writing and you are guaranteed to miss out on sales. Which is why I’m suggesting that you get your cover created by a professional cover designer – more on that later.

Here are my tips to ensure an excellent cover design:

  1. Always use a professional cover designer to get an eye-catching, attention grabbing cover. Professional cover designers know what works and what doesn’t in terms of which fonts to use, the space between elements and what images would work.
  2. Keep your cover simple and easy to read for potential readers – remember it will only be a thumbnail size online!
  3. Ask yourself what emotions you are trying to get across from your cover and then communicate that to your cover designer.
  4. Before you get started on your cover, do some market research in your chosen niche.  Go to an online book store such as Amazon, which will have the biggest range of professional looking covers that you will find, type in ‘Paleo diet cook books’ or the subject of your chosen genre, then have a look at the particular covers that come up. Research winning covers in your niche and use elements from their covers. I don’t mean steal titles or photos, rather model yourself on what works in your genre.  You will notice that most covers in that niche will fit the genre and meet the reader’s expectations of that genre i.e. there will be no confusion as to whether the book is a romance novel, thriller, fantasy novel, business or self help book. Thrillers, for example, most often share a strong, bold title and author name with a dark silhouette of a man with a weapon, or a terrified looking protagonist.  Romance novels usually have a dreamy picture of a man and a woman locked in a passionate embrace.  A mind, body, spirit book usually uses calming images in soft colours, not boisterous colours to inspire peace in the reader. There are definitely books that veer away from readers’ expectations, however, for your own book, try not to make it hard for your readers or yourself! You have so little time to convince readers to buy your book before they move on to the next one.  Create a cover that eliminates confusion as to what genre this is and you will be likely to create more sales.
  5. Have a short, catchy title for your book – 2-3 powerful words.  
  6. Ensure that your sub-title (if it is a non-fiction book) leaves your reader with no confusion as to what the book is about.  Include key words that people would search on Google and Amazon to find a book such as yours.
  7. Use just one strong image that grabs the attention of your target market, conveys the ‘essence’ of your book and fits the genre.  Too many images, rather than just one, makes a cover appear too ‘busy’ and make it difficult to make out what the images are.  Ensure that the image is in the correct dimensions (see below) and that you have correctly purchased or licensed the image or sought permission from the owner of the image and accredited the image otherwise you could land yourself in hot water.
  8. Use 2-3 persuasive testimonials on the back cover of your book.  Get these from people either who are well known and who have credibility among your target readers or who are in your target readership who can endorse your book. How, you wonder, can I get a testimonial from someone if I haven’t yet had the book published?  Simply contact them (via phone or email), tell them that you are just about to publish a book on ‘x’ topic. Ask whether they would read your book or a chapter of your book then if they like it, would they be so kind as to supply you with a written testimonial. Most people are happy to support others and will say yes.  Don’t place limits on yourself.  Who would most like to see on the front cover of your book?  Write a list, start at the top and work down.  You never know until you try!
  9. Use simple classical clear easy to read fonts (which will improve legibility), not complex, unusual fonts or 3D or drop shadows (which will be hard to read in a thumbnail image). Use fonts that can be clearly seen online.  The best book cover uses several fonts – one for the title, one for the sub-title and one for the author’s name.
  10. Don’t be afraid of space! Balance the design elements otherwise your cover will look cluttered and confusing.
  11. Never use more than three colours.  Use colour based on your genre.
  12. Increase your font size and use contrasting colours to enhance legibility.
  13. It is an absolute no-no to draw your own cover or get your brother who’s ‘brilliant at drawing’ to do it for you. People are judgmental and will judge it harshly.
  14. Use only one image! Please please please never put a collection of different photos on your cover – it will make your book look amateurish and ‘tacked together’. One strong image is far more powerful than 3 different ones scrapbooked together.
  15. Pay for a professional looking image.  You can either hire a professional photographer.  Or you can search websites such as,, or  They have a vast selection of powerful images that will make your book look professional. They are also reasonably priced and their licence means you can use them up to 499,999 times.  Make sure of course that you avoid visual clichés, images that look like stock images.
  16. Test your cover on your target readership.  It is not enough for you or your friends and family to love your book cover.  They are not your target readers.  If your target market are teenage girls, show your book cover to teenage girls. If they say your cover looks boring or ‘I wouldn’t buy it’, then show them some book covers in the same niche on Amazon and get them to show you what which covers they like most and what they would read.  Then take note of what they say and adapt your cover accordingly.  Show your revised one to them and get more feedback until it hits the mark.

If you would like to know more about cover design or have us design you an excellent cover, then contact us at info (at) 

10 compelling reasons to publish your own book

There are so many reasons to publish your own books rather than go through a traditional publisher.  Here are ten!

1.You can enjoy the benefits of ‘published author’ status sooner rather than later
Being a publisher author rather than simply a writer with an unpublished manuscript can mean career acceleration, prestige, wealth and opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.  You can literally go from ‘unknown’ to ‘expert’ over night.  All of a sudden you are in demand, with people wanting you to sign their books, speak at their events, write articles on your subject and be interviewed on their shows.  With this newly established credibility you can begin holding seminars, commanding consulting fees, travelling the world speaking, being interviewed by media and of course selling lots of books.  All of this is very achievable if you publish your own book.  What’s better is that it can happen in the immediate rather than distant future.

2. Your book is your ultimate business card
A book brands you as the ‘expert’ in your field.  You can use it to grow your business and increase your revenues.  You can give it away to your clients.  As a published author, you now stand head and shoulders above your competition.

3. Your chances of being published by a mainstream publisher are less than 0.1%
The brutal fact is, the chance of your manuscript being accepted by a mainstream publisher is less than 0.1%.  Traditional publishers are concerned with books that are going to make them a substantial profit in order to justify their investment in producing, marketing and distributing it.  Of course, some of you may be lucky enough to land a publishing contract straight away.  But for the remaining 99.9% of us, if you are not prepared to have your confidence undermined by dozens of rejection letters thrown into your mail box relentlessly over months and even years, then stay away from the traditional publishing route!

4. Publishing your own books keeps your self-esteem intact!
JK Rowling, Stephen King, John Grisham and Mark Victor Hansen’s manuscripts got thrown on the slush pile numerous times before their work saw the light of day.  I’d rather keep my self-esteem intact and go the self-publishing route! Wouldn’t you?

5. Publishing your own book will be far quicker than going through a traditional publisher
A book normally takes 18 months to get onto the shelves with a mainstream publisher. If you’re keen on seeing your book published NOW rather than possibly having to wait months or years for your book to be picked up not to mention the additional 18 months for it to see it in the stores, then it’s wise not to waste your time on mainstream publishing.

6. Self-publishing equals more money
Traditional publishers pay a measly royalty figure of 6% and 10% of net receipts (a couple of dollars per book if you are lucky).  It is rare for publishers to print more than 5000 of your books (5,000 books is considered a best-seller in Australia!).  With those kinds of numbers, the chances of getting rich through book publishing are slim.  It’s an entirely different story if you publish your own book.  You get to keep 100% of the retail price if you sell directly to the customer (through your website, at seminars and other events).  That figure drops to 31.5% if you go through a distributor to get your book into bookstores, but it’s a lot better than what the traditional publisher will give you.  And while you’ll be lucky to sell a few hundred or thousand books through a traditional publisher, you can keep selling hundreds and thousands of books each year – year after year.

7. More control over your books
If you publish your own book, you have more control.  If you go through a traditional publisher, then they make many of the decisions including what the cover should look like and what the title should be.   Wouldn’t you rather keep control of your book, get more say in what it looks like and get to keep more money from the sales?  And do not be misled into thinking that publishers will pour money into marketing your book.  Time and time again, I’ve heard the saying, “Publishers are simply glorified printers”.  If you want to sell lots of copies, you are going to have to do lots of marketing, simple as that! And that’s easy once you learn how.

8. Publishing your own book has never been so easy
Finding a professional to edit, design and type-set your book has never been cheaper and easier than with (formerly where professionals get to outbid each other for the job.  A friend of mine recently had his children’s book designed and typeset for $200 US and it looked fantastic! With print on demand printers, you can now print low numbers of books, sometimes even one at a time at the cost of roughly $4 per book and not get stuck with thousands in your garage.

In the Internet era, never before have there existed so many opportunities for the self-publishing writer.  These days, you don’t even have to spend any money on printing your book.  You can simply upload it onto or, which makes your book available on Amazon, the biggest online bookstore in the world!  Forget about little markets like just one country! You can go global! Other online book platforms include or where you can upload your Word document and have it published in a variety of different formats making it accessible to use on people’s laptops, Iphones and Kindles.  The future of publishing is getting more and more exciting with advances in technology.

9. Self-publishing will teach you about the whole publishing world
If you intend on being involved in the publishing world as a career, then nowhere else will you learn better or faster about the mysterious world of publishing than by doing it yourself.  By reading books on self-publishing or by getting a self-publishing expert to guide you in your journey and by doing what’s involved in the process, you learn step by step how it all fits together. Wouldn’t you rather be knowledgeable about publishing than give all the power to the publishers?  This knowledge could save you thousands of dollars in the long run and put thousands more in your pocket over your lifetime.

10. With a self-published book, there is more likelihood you’ll get picked up by a traditional publisher
As an unpublished writer, your typed up manuscript is likely to land on the slush pile along with the manuscripts of other unpublished writers.  There is little doubt, however, that if you sent them a published book especially one that demonstrates sales, you’d dramatically increase your chances of being taken seriously by them.  How great to be in a position to decide whether or not to sell your book to a traditional publisher?

I could go on forever about the joys and benefits of publishing your own book and this article has really only scratched the surface.  However, if you’d like to know more or need advice on writing, publishing or marketing your book, please email me at info (at)

For more information on this article, contact Julie at info (at) or go to