Cover Design Tips For Upcoming Books: 5 Amazing Covers To Learn From

One of the many privileges of self-publishing your book is the cover design tips you can implement. With so many books released every day, it’s crucial to create a standout cover so potential readers choose your book out of the countless options. 

Another aspect important to consider is staying up to date on current trends. While your book will hopefully outlast the various design trends that will undoubtedly come and go, presenting a quality cover on the day of your release is a contributing factor to your sales success.

That’s why in this article, we look at five books scheduled to release in 2023, dissect their covers, and take away ideas from each one. These various cover design tips are meant to inspire your own ideas and provide a sort of template in case structure helps your creative process.

Bookshop lists their most anticipated books of 2023, and their first five titles are what we discuss below.

This novel, by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, is scheduled to release on May 2. Its cover is a mustard yellow gold, and only two other main colors dominate the space. The title is black, in a large font, as is the author’s name. 

Red, the third core color of this cover design, grabs the reader’s attention. A faint violet and bright blue appear in the upper left, reminiscent of flames. 

This cover, aside from presenting important information such as the title, author name, and that the author is a bestselling author, seems to tell a story all by itself. 

As you collect various cover design tips, keep the importance of your story at the top of your design needs. Yes, your cover can’t verbally tell a story, but the art and even the colors communicate without words. 

This cover is a great example of how to use the limited real estate of a book cover and communicate a vivid story with few resources.

Cover Design Tips, #1: Make use of color and fonts to communicate a story.

This April 18 release is an entirely different vibe than the first cover we discussed. Teal, taupe, and white provide almost the entire color scheme for this cover, and although the colors themselves are calming, the image is not.

A large ship lists starboard, fighting a ferocious sea. Below the ship, amid the waves, a title looms: The Wager. Underneath the title, the designer uses a flowing, thin script as well as a thicker, large font to communicate the subtitle: A tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder. 

This design is well-executed: 

  • It draws you into the story right from the front cover
  • It tells you exactly what you’re getting with the subtitle
  • In the upper portion, it lists the author as a bestseller 

Balancing out the raging storm, every word on the page is in white, providing a small sense of calm amidst the chaos.  

Cover Design Tips, #2: Look for a sense of balance in your cover design. 

Salman Rushdie’s book releases on February 7, and its cover speaks for itself. Pastels of blue, brown, and dark maroon dominate the cover. A white, more minimal font but still thick, gives off a science fiction feel. 

Roughly the entire top half of the cover includes first the author’s name in maroon and then the title in a pale orange. Directly beneath the title is a brilliant sunrise, as if reinforcing the first word in the title: Victory.

Cover Design Tips, #3: Focus on aligning an implied idea of your title with the design of the cover. For instance, victory and a brilliant sunrise imply a similar meaning. 

Releasing March 14, Happily is written by Sabrina Orah Mark. This book cover design uses three key colors: Blue, black, and grayish-white. 

While the colors of the cover may not grab you, the starkness of this cover will. A girl stands in a knee-length dress, looking down. At first glance, she looks like a picture of shyness or innocence. 

What will likely grab your attention as you pass it in the bookstore or scroll past it on Amazon is the boat around her waist. Yes, you read that correctly. The dichotomy of a girl in a dress but with her legs poking through a hole in a boat will likely make you open to the first page.  

Cover Design Tips, #4: Never underestimate the power of mixing two entirely different moods, the innocent and the ridiculous, the dark and the light, the humorous and the sad. 

The last book cover we look at today releases on June 6 and is written by Cristina García. This cover, similar to Chain Gang All Stars, is a deep orange. The title and the author’s name show up in mustardy gold. Between the title, the top of the cover, and Christina García’s name, the bottom of the cover, is a unique design. 

A flower covers a picture frame, and a used cigarette leans against an ashtray. The flower perfectly covers the frame and creates intrigue, and encourages readers to open to book to find out why these objects go together. 

Cover Design Tips, #5: Create intrigue by pairing various objects together, concealing some, and revealing others.

Choosing The Best Cover Design Tips For Your Book

Now that you have looked through five different cover designs, it’s time to think through what’s best for your book. What works for one book will not work for another, and there are many reasons for this. 

Genre, target audience, and even if you have published a book previously all play into what your cover will look like. You may want to launch your first book with a daring cover. However, some new authors may want to play it a little safer. 

All of these considerations are subjective and largely depend on your career goals. However, consider the below questions as you choose the best cover design tips for your book:

  • Does my audience want a comforting cover or a more in-your-face design? 
  • Does my cover need to shout from the bookshelf, or can it stand quietly on its own?
  • What is my writing brand, and how will the design of my book cover contribute to my brand voice?
  • If I plan to create a series, how can my cover morph and change to accommodate my upcoming titles?

Try to think long-term when designing your cover. The tips you employ on your current cover will likely impact your future covers. 

Another factor to consider is what genre you plan to write in or if you plan to write in multiple genres. For instance, if you start out writing fiction but want to transition into nonfiction, how can your covers both portray your individual books while also maintaining brand integrity? 

Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed by the many contributing factors to your cover. Instead, choose the book cover tips that best work for you, run your ideas by those you trust, and consider hiring a graphic designer for the final stages of your cover. And as always, enjoy the process—designing a book cover is a privilege! 


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