As many authors know, creating a good cover is important for readers to be able to instinctively understand what the book is about and the genre of the book. Believe it or not, choosing the right font for the book plays is an important factor to consider when designing the cover to help convey that message.
Derek Murphy talks about mistakes he’s seen authors make when it comes to picking fonts for their books, including two of the most common mistakes: slapping on any old font without consideration and using the same fancy font for both the title and the author name.
The font should clearly dictate what kind of genre the book is, especially for the title. It’s also important for the title, subtitle and author name to balance with one another, and not be in competition with the cover art too much. For example, a vampire novel with a picture of a vampire, a vampire-like font, and the word “vampire” in the title is a bit much.
“If you're just repeating the main thing too many times, you're losing the opportunity to do something else with the cover.”
He suggests balancing the elements of the fonts, but being aware that picking the wrong font or font combination can make the cover look unprofessional. Many authors may feel like their names should be as big as the title or take up a large portion of the cover. Unfortunately, unless you’re Stephen King, most likely, the author name won’t be what initially draws someone to the book.
Another thing to be aware of when picking fonts is to make sure you have the rights to use that font for a book cover, which is something to consider when using pre-made cover designs.
Adding the right amount of effects to text
While it’s important for the cover to stand out, it shouldn’t stand out too much. Take a look at other books, especially best-sellers, within your genre to get an idea of some fonts that are popular. And don’t just look at the fonts, but take a look at how those fonts are styled, like the kerning (spacing between the letters); and also look at the spacing between elements, like the title, tagline and author’s name.
Be careful when adding effects to fonts. If you’re not a designer, adding a lot of effects can make it look unprofessional. You can still have text effects, but they should be subtle enough that it looks like it’s built into the artwork. Sometimes hiring a professional is the best way to make sure the title stands out, but doesn’t clash with the overall feel of the book.
You can also find a professional and show them examples of book covers you like and they will be able to bring their designer’s eye to create your book cover in a similar way, without adding too many effects or making it too distracting.
A note about subtitles on the cover: Be sure to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s requirements for titles and subtitles. It’s a myth that your subtitles has to be on your book cover.
Bio of the Author in the Case Study:
Derek Murphy has a PhD in Literature and studied fine art in Florence and philosophy in Malta. He and his wife are avid travelers, and he writes fantasy and science fiction. He is also the author of nonfiction books about creativity and book marketing.
Derek also creates resources for authors to help them publish and market their books on his website and YouTube channel, as well as helped authors like Pat Flynn and Joanna Penn create their book covers.
Resources Referred to in this Episode:
- Derek Murphy’s Amazon Author Page
- Derek Murphy’s Main Website Creativindie
- Creativindie 300+ Fool-Proof Fonts to use for your Book Cover Design (an epic list of best fonts per genre)
- Amazon Reference for Titles and Subtitles
- Derek Murphy’s DIY Book Cover Site
- Creative Market Fonts
- Derek Murphy’s I’m Loving Books free book promotion site
- Derek Murphy’s Marketing for Writers site
- Derek Murphy’s Wriye motivational site for authors
- Book Marketing Show Creating a Symbiotic Package to Market and Sell Your Book
- Book Marketing Show When and How to Redesign Your Book Cover
- Kindlepreneur Book Cover Design Mastery