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Designing a solid cookbook cover is one of the most important things you can do to maximize sales. Most readers will come across your book on Amazon or other websites and their first impression will be based on your front cover. A shoddy cover will turn away many potential readers and a great cover will pull them in.
Cookbook covers do not have to be complicated, many simple ones work great. If you are unsure about your graphic design skills it's much easier to develop a clean and simple cover that looks professional than a complicated one.
For great cover ideas we recommend looking at the Amazon best sellers to see what is currently working well.
Different publishers have different requirements for cover size. We highly recommend you work on the largest cover size first, usually the print version, then you can scale down from there.
To design your cookbook cover you can use any graphic design tool. Photoshop and Fireworks are great choices, as is InDesign and Illustrator. Many people also make simpler covers in MS Word. There are many free tools available as well such as InkScape or GIMP. You can learn more about cookbook design programs
Depending on where you are publishing your cookbook, they might have a built in cover making tool you can use. CreateSpace has a popular cover making tool.
You can also outsource your cover design. If you do not have the design skills and tools to create your own cover, and since the cover is so important, this is an area you may want to invest in professional assistance. Generic job sites such as eLance or Upwork (formerly oDesk) have designers for hire. However, there are several design companies you can use such as 99 Designs or crowdSpring where you get dozens of custom cover designs for a flat rate starting around $300. Killer Covers also does ebook covers for $100 to $200.
There is a wide variety of things you can include on a book cover but there are few things you need to have. A bold, easy to read title is very important. An eye-grabbing image or two is key to capture people's eye. A descriptive sub-title is used to provide more information. And of course your name, so people know who wrote the book at a glance.
Remember that the front cover needs to look good at a smaller thumbnail sizes since they show up in Amazon search results. Currently Amazon displays most covers at 100x100 pixels so try to make sure your photograph is clear and your title is easy to read at that size.
Your cover will normally be shown on a white background. This means if your cover is white it can blend in, especially at the edges.
If your book is related to your blog, it can be helpful to try and match some styles or include your logo on the cover. This helps spread brand awareness to new readers as well as draw in readers who are familiar with your blog.
The spine is the area between the front cover and the back cover. It is usually best to keep this simple and just include the title of the book and your name centered vertically.
If your book is short, you may not need any text on the spine. If that is the case, just run the front and back covers together in the middle of the spine.
The back cover can be used for a variety of things but you want to make sure you include a few different elements. The ISBN and barcode is the most important thing to include for print books. Including a description with benefits and marketing highlights is also often very important.
If you have any blurbs or endorsements from other authors this is a great place to highlight them.
It can be helpful to reiterate the title if you want. Some authors also like to include an author bio and picture on the back cover, though we feel the space is better used for marketing the book unless you already have wide name recognition.
You can view the back covers for many books on Amazon by clicking the thumbnail below the main image on the Amazon details page.