I received the following question at a talk I had given in 2012 for the Independent Communicators Alliance. Here is the post about that discussion.
"How would you design a cover if you knew it was only going to be an eBook?"
Great question! What the author was really asking me had more to do with her decision to NOT print her book and instead only have the book available as an eBook. So, if you find yourself in this situation I would suggest a few things in terms of design:
- Book cover size ( the online retailer will tell you what the best size is for their website )
- Just one cover image is needed. No need for spine, back cover or flaps
- Be sure the design includes your title and if possible author name very large
- Use color and contrast to help the book cover "pop" in online retailers
- Keep it simple
You can save money with a designer if you know the specifications and realize the difference between creating artwork for an online retailer versus a traditional print publisher. Keep in mind that there is a difference between an eBook and a digital copy of your book. An eBook is a document prepared to publish on an electronic reader such as a Kindle or a Nook. A digital copy is often a PDF ( Portable Document Format ) of your manuscript with or without a cover.
To the left, Catfish and Mandala, is an example of a cover design I think could be better if it is only available online. Notice how the author's name is hard to read? Also, notice how much extra sub-text is on the cover making it difficult to read and brings into question why it's on the online cover? I do love the orange color! On the right, The Bone Season, is a cover I think works really well strictly in an online environment. It has both the title and author name very visible and it enjoys some nice graphics as well.
Many authors publish both a print version and an online version of their book. If you are in this camp, your graphic designer can help you create a cover version that can work well in both scenarios. Or they can create two covers, one for each environment, keeping the look and feel consistent.
When I design a book cover for print, I would follow the above suggestions somewhat, however a seasoned designer will always ask additional questions such as the final book size, what kind of cover ( soft or hard ), dust jacket included, ISBN, author bio and much more and design accordingly. Also, with traditional book cover design for print, a designer will consider the spine size ( depends on number of pages ), back cover layout, and if designing a dust jacket, inside flaps as well. You might want to check out this post about the anatomy of a book.
Are you working on an eBook right now? What cover ideas have you seen that work really well?