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
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
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
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
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.
As 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.
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.