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The Most Important Part of Your Book Cover Design

There’s one thing in the writing world everyone says not to do, but 99.9% of people do: Judge a book by its cover. This is why your book cover design matters so much in order to sell your book!

I’m definitely guilty of this. 🙋‍♀️ What about you? If you’re wanting to self-publish your children’s book this year, be sure to include this major factor in your design.

Book Cover Design for Your Kids Book

The Most Important Part of Your Book Cover Design:

The book cover design is so important because it makes the first impression to a reader. It’s what makes someone decide whether to even entertain the option of picking up your book. (Not even whether they want to buy slash read it!) No, just simply take 2 seconds to investigate what it’s about.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on one feature! 😯 So how do you know when a book cover is a good one?

It all has to do with SALABILITY.

This is one of those times when having a team surrounding your books at a traditional house comes in handy. There are art directors and marketing teams scouring over every tiny detail of your story to see what’s going to make the most impact.

And sometimes it’s no fun when these people get involved. Because that’s when the writer loses all say on how the book will look.

Kidlit Writer's Starter Kit

I have a friend who’s picture book sold to a publisher. My friend absolutely LOVED her story idea, especially the title, however, when the marketing team got ahold of it, they axed the title right away and selected a not-so-fun one. And it was all because of salability.

If your cover doesn’t convince people to buy it, then you shouldn’t use it. No matter how much you love it!

The same thing has happened with my own books. Even though I’m technically in charge, it doesn’t mean I get to override marketability. (No matter how much I like my own choice.)

Book Cover Design Inforgraph Humans in Training
Real cover decision for my 2nd picture book, Humans In-Training

We were finalizing the cover art for Humans In-Training and I was really torn on the page. My illustrator and I had been working and tweaking things for WEEKS trying to find the right look for this book. And we finally got it down to 2 options.

Although they look very similar, there’s a clear winner here: The one with the text above the dog’s head. Because it takes a reader too long on the other option to know what the book’s about as they’re skimming through — especially online if it’s a thumbnail.

There are 3 things a book cover design should do.

When you’re designing your cover, you need to make sure it:

  1. Is easy to read.
  2. Clearly tells the reader what the book’s about.
  3. Sets the tone for what they should expect.

Going back up to the example, you can tell our book is meant for kids and is probably going to be funny, in about 3 seconds. And that’s what your book cover needs to do, too.


As you’re thinking through the book cover design for your next children’s book, make sure to think about salability. Is your title easy to read in less than 3 seconds? Does the cover clearly tell the reader what the book is about? If not, go back to the drawing board and try again!

People are going to judge your book by its cover. Make sure it’s a good one. 💕

And for more self-publishing tips, check out these articles:

Factor This into Your Book Cover Design Today!

Download the free children's book template

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