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Designing a Book Cover - The Fourth Layer

 In my last post, I spoke about "The Third Layer" in my process of designing book covers. That was adding the author name.

I also likened layers one through three to being a cake. It's baked. The layers are stacked. And it's edible.

But in order to entice someone to eat the cake, the final decorations—icing, color, flowers, etc.—need to be added.

So what can I do with my current book cover to spruce it up?

The Fourth Layer of course!

This is the crucial and final layer. This is where everything comes together to form the complete book cover. The steps I use below are my own. You'll need to determine what is needed for your cover when you get to this layer. Only you know your book. Only you know what's important. The Fourth Layer is where you can get creative.

First, I want to continue with the older adventure book type feel. With The Legend of Kyd Lumin, I want people to think it's a book not published in 2021 but rather, published sometime in the 80's, or even earlier.

So I'm going to add some very subtle border lines that connect the top of the book title to the author name.



Next, I'm not a fan of the title resting on top of the background image. It's not bad but it also looks slapped on the page. So, I'm going to get the title to interact more with the background image. In this case, I'm hiding parts of some letters behind the rocky scenery. I also have the lasers reaching over and under parts of the title.


Oh boy. I'm almost there. Things are really coming together. It's just that I still have issues with the title. The "Kyd Lumin" part has that adventurous red to yellow gradient moving from the left to the right but's it's too bright. Too colorful. Too "kiddy" even.

What do I do? Well, I took a sample of an area from the full image that isn't shown on the cover. I then placed that behind my text. I made "Kyd Lumin" slightly transparent so the texture of the rock shows through. But only a small amount (you'll notice it more in the yellow areas).

In addition to this, I added another constant tone of a light shade of brown to "Kyd Lumin" so it wasn't as bright as before.

Here's what I got.


Yes! I love this!

And now for the cherry on top! A simple thing but I want to make sure people know this is a novel. In a smaller size font, I simply added "A NOVEL" to the cover.


The cover is done!

There are other things you can add. If you've written other books, you could say something like "From the author of [Insert Book Title]." Or you could tag it with a phrase that highlights a theme of the story. Just don't clutter it so much with other words that things get lost.

I opted not to do that for this book because I want the story to shine through as much on the cover as I can; especially because the scene depicted is a very important part of the book.

And that's it! Four Layers and your book cover is complete. (Check out the nifty GIF below to watch it transform before your eyes!)


Hopefully these posts have been useful for you in designing your book cover. I'd love to hear your thoughts and see what you have designed. And if you want any critiques, I'd be glad to help! Just let me know in the comments below.







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Designing a Book Cover - The Third Layer

In my last post, I spoke about "The Second Layer" of designing a book cover, which is making sure you title stands out well.  Now we head to "The Third Layer". This one probably will seem obvious and it complements "The Second Layer" . It is your author name. It's important that your author name be positioned and sized correctly. There are a few approaches to this. For well known authors—for instance Stephen King or James Patterson—having the author name prominent and big on the cover is good. The reason is, their names are so popular that the author name sells the book more so than the book title sells it. As a self-published author you could use this thought process for your cover to give the impression that you are a popular author. Of course, your mileage will vary with this approach. The other option is to not allow the author name to dominate the content. So you would want it to be smaller than the title. You could even make it barely noticeable