Guest post by Wendy Wong, Creative Director of Tusitala

For a good percentage of book buyers, the way we choose which books to buy from the bookstores is often by browsing. When a design appeals to us, we pick it up and study the details as well as turn to the back cover for the synopsis before deciding if we want to purchase it or not. Yes, we judge a book by its cover.

The buying experience on ebook stores is very different. There are no physical shelves to display book covers and book spines. Instead what is on the website are small thumbnails of ebook covers. Often they are too small to make any impact on our purchases.

As there are no physical shelves, it would help to remember the 3 Ss when designing your ebook cover.

#1 S: Work on small

Test the cover design by reducing the size of it to a small thumbnail on your computer screen. 150px by 150px is a good estimate.

Then check if the words can be read easily? Or are the details now a jumbled mess? Can someone else make sense of its genre by looking at it?

The key is not to make your readers have to put in effort to figure out your cover. Let them “get it” immediately when they see it.

#2 S: Keep it simple

Display the title and byline only and remove blurbs, subtitles, awards, etc.

Make use of a core graphic or visual to be the anchor to attract attention.

#3 S: Strategize your design

What can you use to as part of your recognizable series/brand?

Think about a consistent design pattern for your series of books and build a fan base from there.

Consider the positioning of your ebook. Is it a quick guide? A romantic novel? Or a Sci-fi for teens? Different visuals, fonts and colours set a completely different tone and immediately tells your targetted readers what to expect.

A good ebook cover matters because it is the first thing that readers see. It invokes feelings and emotions that allow readers to get a strong sense of what they would expect from your book. Last but not least, a good book cover makes a strong lasting impression. And in this day and age, a beautiful ebook cover also means it is Instagram-friendly — that’s important because you’d want as many people to instagram your ebook cover as you can. That’s an extremely effective way for people to discover your new ebook!

Next month, I will share more details on what makes a good book cover design.