Research Question: What constitutes a GOOD book cover versus an AMAZING cover?

What kind of criteria would make you say a book cover is good?

What criteria, factors, etc would make you say a book cover is amazing?

Other insight into creating book covers welcome :slight_smile:

It honestly depends for me.

It can be something like this:


So beautifully illustrated and super dynamic.

Or something like this:


So simple but if you even know a bit about the story, you know it fits perfectly.

I think it’s all about context and genre. YA and especially Fantasy right now are using a ton of illustrated covers and they’re are beautiful. Just look at The Storm Crow’s cover. That’s very in-tune with what’s happening right now.

While minimalistic covers like American Psycho is just aesthetically pleasing on so many levels. It’s clean. It’s very simple but it’s so telling and genius.

So I think it’s all about what fits the story and its genre. And on the most basic level it’s all about construction. How are you composing the cover? Does the font flow with the imagery used? Do all of the element match - or do they not match in a successful way? Are there interesting and/or contrasting colours?

And most importantly: does it stand out?


Agree with @AWFrasier.
I would also like to add that a book covers that you’d want to display by turning it around in your bookcase, so that you can actually see the front and not just the back like all the other books, is a good indicator for what I would consider a good cover.

But the bottom line is that it all depends on taste.


Do you mean a printed book cover, an ebook cover, or a Wattpad cover? Because those are different sizes, so the details that might enhance a trade paperback would fade to noise on the postage-stamp sized cover in someone’s Wattpad smartphone feed.


Wattpad book cover specifically.


Then the simpler and brighter, the better.

Title should be in a big, thick font in a contrasting color, author name in same or similar font but medium. The image art should be a single icon, with color and contrast cranked up to 11.

This may look garish when you make it on a computer screen, but it needs to be like that to “pop” on someone’s Wattpad feed. If you look at the most popular Wattpad books, you’ll notice this quality.

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No offense, but somehow that sounds like something I personally would never click on.

Do you maybe have an example?


Well, here’s me following my own advice. If it looks pixelated, it’s because I downloaded it from Wattpad, where it’s only displayed at 256×400 pixels.


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Okay, I’ll definitely say we have different taste in covers. No offense, but to me that looks highly amateur and I wouldn’t trust the book to be well written.


A good cover gets the job done (reels the readers in), an AMAZING book cover is what readers want on their bookshelves and feel proud to own it. A good cover has the basics of an amazing cover: intentional typography, high quality photo/illustration, and eye-catching color contrast.


I think you shouldn’t worry about making it amazing, because it will never be. At least not for all of us. Making it good enough is well… Enough. And by that I mean a cover that’s not so ugly that it turns readers away, and something that goes well with the general theme of the story. This is what I tried to do with the cover of my book. Hope it worked lol.

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Well, I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I’ve noticed that really stunning or amazing covers tend to draw people in better so I’d like to know what really draws people in and makes them think a cover is amazing.


You can always create a poll, showing different samples of amazing covers. The results will help you to know (I hope) how you can appeal to the majority.


I might. Right now I’m just struggling to make something simple on photoshop. I hate it, honestly. Too complicated.

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Honestly don’t spend more than a day on your cover. It will attract readers to some extent, but it won’t make them stay. And the one thing that attracts readers the most is the number of reads. In any case, I can give you my opinion on that once you’re done :wink:

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I always spend more than a day on my cover if not at least two or three. I usually remake my covers about 5 times before I like them. Sometimes I even give up and go to designers, but I’m really picky so I like to do them myself I just don’t posses the skills.

The cover is always what catches my eye first on a Wattpad book, so I’m really picky about mine, and I hate having cringy old covers on my books.

Thank you, though.


Anytime. Good luck

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There’s a lot of factors into what makes something amazing, and it obviously varies from person to person.

For me personally, the graphic should be balanced, as in the images and text shouldn’t over power the other. This doesn’t mean they all have to be the same size, but rather should balance each other. A good display of knowledge of color theory, such as complimentary and light contrasting colors to create the color palette of the cover. Another thing that makes a cover good is an awareness of the genre it’s being made for. Different genres usually constitute different styles. Fonts should be fitting — if you’re going to make it something scripty, make it count. Don’t be afraid to add shadows and highlights to fonts.


i feel like a good sense of color theory is the most important thing


Well, yeah. If I thought that story was ready for prime time, I wouldn’t have posted it for free on Wattpad. Though I’d like to think it’s decently written, it’s also a barely edited manuscript that I posted for critique. That’s not worth a professional cover.

Maybe that’s because photoshop is complicated, so you’re using the wrong tool? Maybe you’d be better off with Canva. Which isn’t what I used, if you’re wondering.

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