Is my cover good enough to publish?

So I recently paid a designer to create a book cover for a book I’m planning to self-publish, and I’m worried the cover isn’t good enough. Can I get some feedback please so I can see if I need to pay to have another cover made?
EDIT: I rehired my designer and they created a new cover. Is this one better?

Personally, I like it. Simple, but compelling. Based on the cover, I would read it.


Thank you! I’m just worried about the quality once I upload it to B&N

Barnes and Noble? Are you serious? :anguished:

Maybe you can ask the creator to make it a little better quality.

Yep they offer the best self publishing service I’ve seen!

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I might suggest making the author name a smidge larger because it might get eaten alive in thumbnails. Otherwise it’s simplistic and there’s nothing wrong with simplistic.

But I do have to ask just because I’m always paranoid since so many Wattpad authors don’t know this but is that a commercially usable image with a model release?


This is important, and you need to check that.

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The image is from Unsplash, so it’s commercially available as long as I alter it in some way. This is the whole statement from the website:

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive, worldwide copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service.


I was on here like two weeks ago asking all about legality and what not so that was the first thing I checked haha I’m really paranoid too


All right good. I just had to make sure because I definitely wouldn’t want you to get in trouble for that. I’ve seen too many people go and use a cover on Amazon or other retailers that they’re not supposed to :cry:


Well thank you for checking! I would hate for someone to get in trouble

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I hate it too. I always feel so bad when it happens because it’s really not too hard to make sure either the image used or the designer creating the image are legally usable. But people get so focused on doing things as cheap as possible that they tend to miss that important step.


For a serious publication, I think it needs to be altered a bit.

I just did a quick edit, as it shows what I mean better. I think the font you have is fine, but I just picked a random one to save time.

Essentially, I think the title is too high up. It’s not an optimal use of space with the image that you have. Also, adding a gradient to the lettering would also make it look a little more professional I think!


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Thank you for the advice! I think I can manage to do those things on my own, so I’ll try it out!

That’s not a model release, that’s a photo release. A model release would have the model’s signature and outline what you can and cannot do with their image. Unsplash operates on good faith that their photographers have the release, but not all photographers do.

This is directly from one of their articles about their terms:
While photographers agree that photos they upload on Unsplash have model releases, there is no reasonable way for us to monitor all photos that get uploaded to Unsplash. We cannot make any guarantees, therefore we recommend when using a photo containing a person, that you should not imply endorsement by the person in the photo.

We recommend reaching out to the photographer to clarify whether they have a model release, which you can do directly via the ‘message’ button on the photographers profile.


Best to be safe and request the model release directly from the photographer.

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Oh wow I didn’t even know there was a difference. Thank you so much!

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Not gonna lie, some of the wording in this made my head hurt LOL But might help explain model release a bit

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Hm. First of all, I would be worried about using Unsplash imagery for the reasons mentioned above. The cover itself also bothers me a bit, it is minimalist and artistic, yes, but it also doesn’t tell me what this is about (e.g. genre), I would consider adding a tagline or a subtitle. Mine all run with " A Magical Misfits Mystery". Now, you might not have a series, but this does need a pointer. Is it a Greek saga retelling. A love story. YA drama? This is not clear to me and that could be a problem. You might argue it’s shelved in the right place but still…


First of all, I like the cover, but as @charlottemallory pointed out, the title is probably too high up, however, I found that her example was down too far, so I would probably settle for a happy medium. If the image will work overall will depend on your genre and category. Since I have no clue what that is, I couldn’t advise you, but I would suggest you check on Amazon what other covers trend in your genre/category to get an idea if it will be able to compete.

Now to Unsplash:

First off, even though they indicate it’s irrevocable, I believe that’s misleading since creators can, and have, changed their mind and unpublished their free work. While they can’t come after you for using the image while it was free, they can insist on you to stop using it. If that happens, you will have to create a new cover.

Secondly, there is the issue about the model release that was pointed out before. I use Unsplash images for commercial book covers and Facebook ads, but those are strictly landscapes or nature photos that are often additionally manipulated. For everything that includes a model, I use commercial stock photos that have a model release attached.

Whatever you do, err on the side of caution.


Where do you get your commercial stock photos?