Promote Your Book

Book Cover Design for Your Author Brand: Name Placement

Including your name on your book cover is very important. Without it, your book will look bare and illegitimate. However, there are many things that authors get wrong with their name’s placement and look on their book cover design. Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of your favorite books at home. You’ve probably… [Read More]

Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

Including your name on your book cover is very important. Without it, your book will look bare and illegitimate. However, there are many things that authors get wrong with their name’s placement and look on their book cover design.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at some of your favorite books at home. You’ve probably glanced at the author name before, but take a moment to really appreciate the details.

Contrast that professionalism with some of the sloppier self-published efforts you see online and it could be a costly self-publishing mistake.

Want your author name text to pack a professional punch? Avoid the following pitfalls at all costs!

Don’t Put Your Name on Top—Unless You’re Famous

One of the first missteps authors make when considering their author name and book cover design is the position of the text.Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

It can be tempting to put your name center stage. However, this is a mistake. We can see in the cover from indie author community stalwart Derek Murphy that he has chosen to emphasize his title over his name.

While you’re initially establishing yourself as an author, the name of your book should receive the prominent upper placement on your cover. Plus, having your name at the top can sometimes confuse the customer in thinking the title of the book is your name.

A well-chosen book title will be a bigger draw for potential purchasers than your author name. At least at this stage in your career!

Don't Make Your Name Larger Than the Title—Unless You’re Famous

The second pitfall to avoid is the size of your author name in relation to the book title.Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

See how King’s regal literary status allows him to break the rules?

Just as the book title should have a more prominent placement than your author name, it should also be larger.

To get a feel for the right size ratios for your niche or genre, check out the book covers of not-so-famous authors you admire and are successful in your genre or niche. If you’re not sure, then go to lists on Goodreads for your category or find lists of genre-specific top books like the one I use for science fiction.

This will ensure your size choices are appropriate for your particular work.

Don't Hide Important Elements of the Cover Image

Think of your book cover as being like a good meal. The different elements have to work in harmony to provide an enjoyable experience.Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

Do you see how the elements of Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz’ groove along together smoothly?

One error authors make when placing their name on the cover is to design the text and graphic elements separately. Instead, there should be a workable vision from the earliest stage of how the font and graphics will harmonize.

Failing to do this can lead to a pairing of font and picture that isn’t cohesive and you can even end up with details of the cover being obscured by the text.

Choose Colors That Contrast the Background

Color is a seemingly simple but deceptively powerful part of author branding.Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

For example, the strong contrast between the red, black, and white on the cover for Bad Blood is both eye-catching and relevant to the title.

Even the biggest companies devote time and other resources to studying how color will influence their customers.

Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.comAs an author, you want color to fulfill two functions for your book cover design:

—Attract aesthetically. This could involve using an eye-pleasing palette or eye-catching contrast, for example.

—Show suitability. The colors on your cover play into someone’s judgment of whether your work is right for them or not. Use colors coded to convey you’re a good fit.

Don’t Use the Same Font as the Title

Pairing fonts is an artform of its own.

You want to ensure your author name and book title text are distinct.Where to place your author name on book cover design by Dave Chesson for BookWorks.com

The cover for Meditation and Mindfulness clearly shows how different fonts can delineate different information.

Choosing an unsuitable pairing may lead to confusion about where your name ends and your title begins or create other problems for your readers.

One of the best ways to avoid a mishap here is to get neutral feedback. An objective, third-party set of eyes will help you notice any major mistakes before they have the chance to embarrass you as an author.

My Final Thoughts

Thanks for checking out my tips on the author name element of your book cover design.

Do you have any awesome examples to share with your fellow authors? Any thoughts on color or font pairing? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.


Ready to hire a cover designer for your book? Check out BW's Author Services. You'll find trusted partners as well as our Service Provider directory searchable by category/type.


6 thoughts on “Book Cover Design for Your Author Brand: Name Placement”

  1. Having designed covers for 8+ years, the first one is absolute nonsense. There is no such thing as a name on top meaning that the author is famous, and it’s not a mistake to place name there.

    Placement of name depends on cover design and often the design has plenty of space up top and name has to go there to not hide the important elements.

    The overblown author name size is definitely a mistake tho. And others are right too. But there is definitely no issue with placing author name on top…

    1. Dave Chesson says:

      Hi Adrijus, with the size of a book cover on Amazon’s website or other online markets, the eye goes from top to bottom (doesn’t have the ability to do the “E” or “F” motion that studies have shown). Therefore, with books that have the author name at the top, you’re making it so that the first thing the shopper registers is the author’s name. There are ways to combat that – sizing, color, etc. But generally speaking, it’s best not to make the first thing a customer sees is the name if the name isn’t anything they’d recognize.

    2. I’d add one more item to this list. Devote quite a bit of time to coming up with just the right title, subtitle and cover image. That is what sells it. When I start a book in Scrivener, I always create a document where I can place my ideas for those. In general, I make the title short and catchy, so it’s easily remembered and can be placed in a large font. Then I make the subtitle descriptive and don’t fret its length. That way, if all that survives the distribution system is the title and subtitle, then potential readers will still know what it is about. Also, if the book is part of a series, I’d suggest mentioning that in the subtitle, i.e. “Book Three in the Beggar King Tales.

      Spend a lot of time getting the cover image right. In my case that means hours on stock photo sites. I wrote a book for hospital staff explaining how to deal with embarrassment issues. You can see in the link below that I followed by my rules for the title, subtitle and series mention. I also agonized over what the cover picture should be. The most obvious was to show typical a doctor and nurse, the target audience. But I couldn’t find one that wasn’t dull as dust. Then I hit on an idea. Why not put on the cover the only patients who’re NOT embarrassed—small children? You can see the results here. I think it is cute.

      https://www.amazon.com/Embarrass-Less-Practical-Students-Hospitals-ebook/dp/B01M24EA14

      1. Dave Chesson says:

        With the stock images, I actually love keeping a file on my desk where as I’m on Amazon, if I see a book cover that I like, I copy and save it to the file. Then when it comes time to creating mine, I will look through those images and ask myself what I liked about them. Imagery? Font? Word design? Etc…

  2. Douglas Kelly says:

    I’ve been a commercial artist for many years, and I see a problem with the cover of “Bad Blood”. It is entirely red and black with a line of type in white.
    The problem is that anyone who is red/green color blind (a very common kind of color blindness) cannot immediately distinguish the red type against a black background because reds are seen as black or dark gray.

    1. Dave Chesson says:

      Good point on the color blind aspect. Hadn’t thought of that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you are not a SPAM robot by answering the simple question below: *

 

Get Connnected From The BW Author Community


Our Partners

Partner