26 Things Every Book Cover Should Have

26 Things Every Book Cover Should Have: Hints on the Body of Your Book

By Kirk Whisler

Cover Layout

  1. Remember most people look at a cover for 5 seconds or less and then decide if they want to know more about a book.  ****
  2. Often they are looking at the cover on Amazon, a comparable place online, or in a printed catalog. How does your cover look at 1” high? If it is not readable at that size you may want to redo it.  ****
  3. The illustration or photo should, in most cases, be easy to understand the meaning of it.

Cover Fonts

  1. Never more than three, Ideally two within the body of the book.  **
  2. Make sure they are readable. I like to print a test of the cover and spine and then see if I can read them 5 to 6 feet away.  ****
  3. Sans serif is better than serif fonts for covers in most cases  *******
  4. For spines Sans Serif is the only way to go. ****

Body Fonts

For the body of the book Serif fonts are the way to go. For adult books, the most common font for the body of the book is Minion Pro at between 10.5 and 11.5 point size.******

Back cover content – most common place for mistakes. 50% of the books we see have 3 or less of these elements.

  1. The publishing house *******
  2. What section would this book go into in a library or bookstore? This is key. If kids book, what grade or age level. Make it easy for the people on the other end and more people will find and use your book. This is also key for your online information. *******
  3. ISBN UPC code *******
  4. Price of the book included in the ISBN UPC code  ****
  5. Quotes about the book — ideally from 3 people. One sentence each.  *******
  6. Description of the book — 100 to 250 words. Why should we care that this book exist? *****
  7. A photo or graphic of some sort  ****
  8. About the author — might be part of the book info, or might be a separate section. Ideally a page or two at the end of the book about the author. ***

Spine Content

  1. The title and author in a readable font on the spine  *******
  2. The logo of the publishing company  ****

Front cover content

  1. Name of the book  ****
  2. Subtitle — this is key, not only for the layout, but later for the marketing  *********
  3. Author  ****
  4. Perhaps, a one line quote about the book or a line from a review ********


  1. That the cover of the book be an appropriate weight  ********

Do Not

  1. Do NOT use a print on demand system that you put in items and then a computer lays out the cover and the book.
  2. Do not try to fill every inch of the front and back cover.
  3. Do not make it too busy.