What Makes a Good Cover?
I’m guessing I’m a common demographic on here - novice writer wanting to dip toes into progression. But also like the rest of us, a cover budget would be small at best.
What do you guys think is most important to focus on for a cover? Something like Cradle, with a simple design on a monochrome background, a full fantasy shot, landscape, characters, or some combination? For authors on here, do you have any insight you could give on your own process?
Other commenters have covered “get a professional cover,” which is 100% true and the most important thing.
Otherwise, it’s about function.
Does the cover look good at thumbnail size? Because that’s how big your readers are going to see it. If it looks fantastic blown up and is just a blur when it’s tiny, it’s not a great cover for Amazon.
Does it look distinct from the other covers in your category? If someone scans your category on Amazon with their eye, as they do, does your cover pop up or blend in? You want them to see yours.
Lastly, does it reflect your book? If your book is a Lovecraftian Cowboy fantasy, your cover should scream “LOVECRAFTIAN COWBOYS.” If you have a cover that shows off a massive battle between a mech and a giant zombie, that might happen in your book, but it doesn’t advertise your hook, while a cowboy hip-firing his pistol at a tentacle beast probably would.
That’s why Cradle is an icon on a mono-colored background. It’s completely readable at thumbnail size and when you skim the category with your eye it pops out.