There are some simple rules to follow, and some of them you can apply to your website and promo images as well:

  1. Never use more than two fonts
  2. Never use more than two colors for these fonts.
  3. Either author name or book title should be large. Not both. It should always be what gets the reader's attention. If the author is well-known, use the author name. If that's not the case, it should be the title. (Just look up Stephen King books, his name is always bigger than the title of his books.)
  4. Make sure that the coloring of the font is in stark contrast to the colors of the image(s) you use for the cover.
  5. If colors of the fonts smudge when you decrease the size, use a thin border around the fonts that is darker than the background, never lighter.
  6. Make sure you use the cover image that fits the content. Never use an image for a cover because you simply like and it "might" fit.
  7. Try to combine two images, add something to the main image, or change the coloring to make it unique when you use stock photos.
  8. Keep it simple: if you put to much on the cover, readers might not find it interesting enough.
  9. If you use a slogan, make sure it cannot be mistaken for the title: use a different font or color, but don't forget #1+#2.

 

The golden rule: Always take a look at the cover in a size as large as it will be shown on Goodreads or in the Amazon search. You should till be able to identify the important characteristics, such as title or author name.

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