We’ve all heard the old phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Now, I can’t speak for the content of the manuscript, but you can definitely judge a book’s sales by its cover. As a matter of fact, a book’s cover may very well be one of the most important pieces of your sales pitch. Would you click on a book’s thumbnail if the cover art was dull and uninteresting? No, and your potential readers won’t either. But what makes a great cover?

What’s In a Name?

Or in this case, what makes a name? Your font typing. That’s right. From spacing, to colors, to loops, to swirls… your typography makes a difference and a big one. Fonts alone can dictate the message you deliver to your audience.

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Other than text, your cover is more than likely going to have cover art. Cover art –believe it or not– can actually be a lot trickier than you think. First off, a complex design might be just that. Too complex.  Try to avoid a sensory overload. This can steer potential customers away from your book and into the arms of another. Keeping things simple can be a great way to entice readers. Use symbolism to your advantage. Remember, you do not have to tell your whole story with just your cover.

Yin and Yang

Balance is the key to a great book cover. Check to see if your cover art clashes with your font. Is your title and message clearly visible? An ornate font and complex cover art tend to fight with each other. This is what you do not want. If your cover art is complex, stick to a simpler font and vice versa. This makes your book cover much more aesthetically pleasing and more likely to result in sales.

Armed with this knowledge, let’s take a look at three epic and awesome book cover examples. Starting with…

#1. Whitechapel Gods

Considered by topscifibooks.com to be one of the best in the Steampunk Genre, this book’s cover art is beyond excellent.

First, let’s take a look at the art itself.

The man exhibits classic steampunk features such as cogs and gears. He is dressed in Victorian style clothing which is typical of the genre. (This also matches the title as Whitechapel is a famous district in London’s East End.) The fire emanating from his chest alludes to a conflict that will be told through the story. Alongside the detailed interior is an equally undetailed background. The minimal cityscape actually blends well into the man’s coat and is visually pleasing.

Next, the typography.

The font is in a stark contrast of the art. It is bold and rich compared to the grays of the background. Yet, it is simple enough to not clash with the deepness of its art. The title and author are both clearly visible and do not interfere with the rest of the cover.

If you are looking for a great example of balance, this is it. Whitechapel Gods creates a harmonious marriage of complexity and simplicity in its cover.

#2. Against Happiness

This is symbolism at its finest.

This book cover is a direct satire of the iconic smiley face. The simple yellow and black color scheme mirrors that of the smiley. However, the smile is replaced with a frown comprised of the book title and author. The frown correlates with the actual book’s title, Against Happiness.

In this case, the font choice is relatively basic. But the placement is far from it. Use typography to your advantage through every means available.   This cover shows you just how powerful something simple can be. For those looking to add overt symbolism into your covers, look no further than this book’s cover. Remember, you can always draw inspiration from even the simplest of concepts.

#3 Psycho

This is another simple book design with one goal in mind: To Terrify. And it does just that. The giant typography leaves you with no confusion as to what this book is about. The black and white color scheme plays to the duality of human nature. Also, did I forget to mention that huge knife cut tearing the title in half? Creepy. This is an extremely memorable book cover. When this book was adapted for the Silver Screen, the original cover art was used in part.

Psycho’s cover does everything that a book cover should do. It instills emotion into the reader (or potential buyer). Its powerful imagery –or lack thereof– gets into the mind of the audience. This is what we as authors should strive to achieve.

Book cover typography can literally make or break your book sales. The decision of choosing your font and style should not be taken lightly. Remember, your book may be competing with thousands of other books. Does your book cover typography have what it takes to rise above the rest?