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5 Key Elements That Make or Break Your Book Cover

You’ve done it!

You committed to writing your book, you finished it, and your manuscript is on its way to editing. Along with your editing, it’s also time for you to get your book cover started. Below are some things to consider when beginning your book cover process.

Book Size

What type of book are you writing? If it’s a children’s book, the typical size is 8.5x8.5, but more options are available. Regular paperback novels are usually 5x8. Journals and planners range from 6x9 to 8x10. It’s important for you to make a final decision about your book’s size and inform your designer because it affects your uploading and printing. If your cover has to constantly be resized, it could affect your release date by pushing it behind you desired timeframe. You can find information on the different book sizes available through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) here:


Your synopsis is the book overview that is placed on the back of your book and in the description section for online sales. This synopsis should be approximately 250 words and should give a subtle overview of your book without going into too much detail. A synopsis that is too short would leave too much open space on the back of your cover and throw off the balance of your cover design. A synopsis that is too long would cause the font size on your back cover to be small and likely hard to read. Your print cover cannot be completed without your synopsis, and you shouldn’t release a book without a synopsis, so please be sure to build this into your writing/editing plan.

Release Date

When are you planning to release your book? Since the editing process usually takes approximately 9-12 weeks, you should be commissioning your book cover design no later than halfway through your editing timeline. This will ensure that your cover is drafted with enough time for revisions. Allowing enough time is important because, if your designer already has a full slate, their schedule may require that you push back your release date or find another designer who can work you into their design schedule. Some graphic designers accept rush job commissions, but a rush job could result in extra fees or the design not being what you wanted.


This is important! Having a book cover that doesn’t match your book’s genre could massively impact your sales by not connecting to your target audience. If your book is a romance, it shouldn’t have a broken mirror with a dark background. If it’s a horror story, script font wouldn’t be appropriate. By not speaking to your target audience, you will likely miss out on sales. You could also run the risk of misleading a reader if your cover is styled out of genre, which could get you a bad review. Bad book reviews could also affect your sales. A good rule of thumb would be to look up books in your desired genre to send your graphic designer. This is something that will help with selecting models, font styles, images, etc. Also, keeping within your genre is a good way to establish your brand as an author.


In addition to book size, synopsis, release date, and genre, if you are planning to print your books, you will also need to purchase ISBN and generate a barcode based on that ISBN that displays the price of your book. Your graphic designer will place that barcode in the bottom right-hand corner of your book so it can be scanned for sale in stores.

Congratulations on your book! I wish you bountiful sales.

…With Love,

Mo, your neighborhood DLP graphic designer


About the Author

Moneeka Gentry-Stanifer is a Graphic Designer based out of Dayton, Ohio. She began her designing journey approximately five years ago, when there was a need in her sorority chapter for someone to create event promotion graphics. The spark was lit and has been burning ever since. She took a leap of faith in 2018 and officially began her design and branding consulting business, Created by Moneeka. Ever the creative, Moneeka feels like she was created for this, and will endeavor to continue creating designs for her customers

with LOVE.


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