Everything you need to know about book cover design in one graphic

I talk SO MUCH about book cover design, but I thought it would be easier to just see all the important stuff in one simple book cover design checklist. So before you publish (or if you see someone’s hideous cover and want to gentle encourage them to make a better one) please share and use this graphic.

If you don’t know what fonts people hate… I’m making a huge post on that, it will be up soon.


how to make a book cover design

About Derek Murphy

Hey there! I'm a philosophy dropout and book cover designer with a PhD in Literature. After spending a decade as a starving artist, I vowed to create the life of freedom my restless spirit demands. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write young adult fantasy novels and do a few editorial critiques to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles. FREE GUIDE: Book Marketing is Dead.


  1. Thank you! Handy to have on the desktop instead of having browsers open. Just a quick question: How effective is having the Title running vertical instead of horizontal? I’ve seen it on a few covers of mainstream published novels and a few self-published. By effective, I mean for readability and visibility. I know we naturally read horizontal, so it puzzles me why some books go vertical.

    • The main reason to do that is if you have a longer title in a genre that needs big text; horizontally you’d have to make everything much smaller, so it gives you more space; I’ve also seen some books split the title word in half. It’s still pretty rare though, I’d avoid it if you can.

      • Thanks Derek. Personally I think vertical looks pretty awful, but that’s just me; I thought it may have been some new marketing magic I wasn’t aware of, lol. Keep up the good work, this site’s one beast of information 🙂

  2. this is terrific. thanks!

  3. Not bad! The first one opened my eyes 😉

  4. Can’t wait to read Title, looks awesome. When’s it released?

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