There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Cover Do’s and Don’ts February 23, 2013

Filed under: Publishing — thereanddraftagain @ 7:56 pm
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An inevitable step for any book is the cover design. For self-publishers, this bookcoverstep should be at the forefront of their minds just as the final product of their story. For fantasy writers in particular, covers are almost as important as the novel concept itself. With an abundance of fantasy tales out there, an eye-catching cover will ensure people choose your novel over others. All you have to do is follow these easy Do’s and Don’ts.


Include “The Point” – Your cover should showcase the central themes and concept of your novel.

Entice Readers – The cover should give a sense of tension, adventure and excitement.

Be Flashy – Bright colors or a thrilling design will create interest for your book.

Be Unique – Fantasy story covers are often clones of each other, so use this space to display your uniqueness.


Overdo It – Crowding the cover or having too many things squished on there can become an eye-sore.

Be Clichéd – This goes in tandem with staying unique. Steer clear of the ubiquitous magical sage, warrior princess, or anything else clichéd.

Be Obvious – Bring mystery to your cover by keeping the reader guessing instead of showing them your entire story in one picture.

If you aren’t a double threat (writer and illustrator) seek out a friend or mutual acquaintance whose artistic skills you admire so you can be heavily involved in the cover design process. For writers seeking publishing on the traditional route, keep these tips in the back of your mind and speak up to your cover artist to help them see your vision to completion.

Share your favorite and least favorite fantasy book covers here!

~Rachel H


5 Responses to “Cover Do’s and Don’ts”

  1. Man, is there anything worse than self-pub fantasy covers? Pasty, sallow skin in mannequin heroes sprinkled with dark woods or starry nights. Actually, there are worse things: most academic book covers, and Watchtower magazine covers. Perhaps I’m too fussy.
    And then there are some real exceptions, some well done covers in indie work. I think, in general, authors could learn from CD designs. Go to and see what works and what doesn’t for art-based album covers.

  2. I’m definitely not a fan of the U.S. cover of Sarah Maas’s Throne of Glass. The UK cover, however, is awesome. I also really like the cover for Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta.

  3. Alana Says:

    Has anyone used Create Space through amazon? Any comments on how their paid cover services turn out? Or recommendations on how to find a freelance cover designer?

  4. The great thing about writing fantasy is the potential for amazing cover art. I love the cover art on the UK version of the Green Rider series – although I’ve yet to track down the artist. By the time I’m ready to publish I’m hoping to have a wishlist of great fantasy artists. Because I think every book should be a work of art, inside and out!

  5. kathils Says:

    One of my biggest gripes with any self-published work is lack of a good cover. Ah, heck, any published work at all. But for fantasy in particular, I think you need a great cover. I always suggest to authors who are self-pubbing, no matter genre, check with local art colleges. You’d be surprised what talent comes out of there, and how eager students looking to build a portfolio will be to create an awesome cover for nothing more than bragging rights and a show piece.

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