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1. Choose your package

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How to Choose Stock Photos for Your Book Cover

5 minute read

Choosing stock photos for a book cover can be a daunting task. But the right images can help to convey the book’s genre, mood, and plot and attract the attention of potential readers.

We’ve prepared 7 tips to simplify choosing stock photos for creating a marketable book cover.

1. Consider the genre

The book cover is the first thing a potential reader sees, and it often gives them a sense of what the book is about. Different genres have specific standards when it comes to book covers.

For example, a romance cover typically features a couple in a romantic pose, while a thriller novel cover might feature a dark and foreboding landscape or an ominous object. Using a stock photo that does not fit within the genre standards could confuse or turn off readers who are looking for a particular type of book.

Book cover design by Getcovers

2. Decide on the main element

By choosing a strong main element, the cover can quickly communicate the book’s key message and attract readers interested in that type of content. Choose the central image according to your novel’s plot or main idea. It should intrigue your readers.

The main element can also establish a visual hierarchy on the cover and build a strong composition. This is key for creating a cohesive and balanced design that is easy for potential readers to understand and engage with.

Book cover design by Getcovers

3. Choose high-quality images

A low-quality image can create a negative impression and may even deter readers from purchasing the book. On the contrary, a high-quality picture can make the book stand out, convey a professional and polished image, and increase the chances the book will be purchased.

A high-quality image will ensure that the cover looks good in different formats, whether it’s in print or digital format. It also helps to convey a sense of trust and credibility to potential readers. It indicates that you’ve invested time, effort, and resources into producing a professional-looking book.

Book cover design by Getcovers

4. Avoid cliches

The mediocre images may not accurately represent the unique and original content of the book. Readers are more likely to pay attention to book covers that are innovative, visually interesting, and original rather than those that are cliched or derivative.

Cliches are often overused and can blend in with other books in the same genre, making it difficult for a novel to stand out. But a cover without cliches can help the book grab the reader’s attention and communicate the originality of its content.

Book cover design by Getcovers

5. Pay attention to colors

Hues and shades can evoke certain emotions and convey different meanings. That’s why choosing the right color scheme can help attract potential readers, set the book’s tone, and communicate its genre and content.

For example, warm colors like pink, orange, and yellow can convey excitement, love, and energy, which may be suitable for a romance or adventure book. Cool colors like blue, green, and purple can convey calmness, serenity, and mystery, which may be appropriate for a sci-fi or fantasy book.

Book cover design by Getcovers

6. Check for the license of use

Many stock photo websites offer images under different licenses, which can vary in how you can use those images. Some licenses may allow you to use photos for commercial purposes, while others may restrict commercial use or require attribution.

Let’s see how some licenses work in practice:

  • Standard License usually allows you to use images unlimited times digitally, including ebooks. But if you want to print your book, there is a limitation. For example, Shutterstock includes up to 500,000 times you can print a particular image. 
  • Extended License offers more freedom as long as the image is not limited to the circulation of other copies.

You can learn more about where to find stock photos and what licenses for these images include in our blog.

7. Get feedback

You can get feedback from various sources: friends, family, book cover designers, or even a focus group. It can help identify potential issues with the cover, such as if the image or color scheme is not appealing or if the cover does not accurately represent the genre.

Feedback helps avoid potential biases from being too close to the book. It is common for authors to have a personal connection to their work, which can sometimes cloud their judgment when choosing a cover image or design.

Book cover design by Getcovers

Summing up

You’re ready to visit stock photography to find the best images for your book cover. Let’s summarize the basic rules:

  • Consider the genre because readers associate certain pictures with a specific style
  • Select one central element to build a strong composition around
  • Choose high-quality photos as this is proof of your professionalism
  • Avoid clichés because readers pay attention to something unique and innovative
  • Pay attention to color since each hue evokes a specific emotion and mood
  • Check the image license of use to avoid legal trouble
  • Get feedback from your friends to make your choice objective.

How do you choose stock photos? Share your tips in the comments.

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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