A good cover has some dramatic impact and is related to the story. You want a cover that isn’t too “busy” because when people are shopping for books, they’ll see a thumbnail version of your cover. If it’s too “busy”, it won’t make much sense to them. A good cover will help to sell a book. A bad one could drive sales away if customers can’t get past the cover. Yes, people do judge a book by its cover.
For an eBook, you’ll need the following sizes (all 72 dpi):
- Amazon and Smashwords 2820 x 4500 (or similar size)
- Internal cover for Smashwords version 252 x 402 not greater than 252 x 441
- Thumbnail for your advertising (like at the bottom of your emails): 100 x 160 or so.
We used to run our AKW Books covers at 4 : 7 ratio (the same as a mass market paperback front cover). Amazon suggests a 1 : 1.6 ratio, but the only real requirement is portrait (taller than wide).
If you’re going to publish a paper version, things get nasty in a big hurry because the paper size and spine width need to be exact (spine will vary with the number of pages). Consult your publisher before ordering your cover artwork if you want “wrap-around” art.
Most artists will be happy to include your title, name, and a short blurb (some will without asking). Bear in mind you’re stuck with that if you decide to change anything unless you want to pay the artist to change it. The positive is that most good artists will do a bang-up job with the text — probably better than you can do unless you’re talented, have a good graphics program, and a great, LEGAL, font set(s). So be careful what you decide.
We used a number of very talented cover artists. These are the best along with a couple of examples each of their work.