The book cover isn´t the only thing that will sell your book. The reader might look at reviews, at the blurb, and a course in miracles author. In order to get to that point, however, she needs to first pick the book up, or click on a link for it, or be enticed enough to read about it.
Some may argue that the e-book doesn´t have the same use for a cover as a printed book. This is not true. The cover is what represents your book throughout your marketing endeavours; it will be there when you tweet about your book or post it on social networks, it will show on reviewing sites and blogs where you promote it.
An amateurish book cover might not spell the end of your self-publishing career, but it can cause a potential buyer to pass your book in the virtual bookshelves. If you have a book cover that grabs attention, that raises eyebrows, you will gain buyers instead. A good cover can stay in a potential reader´s mind and even cause him or her to come back to buy your book.
The first step to design a good book cover is to have a look at your favourite books. Think about what caused those book covers to grab your attention. You do not want to copy them, of course, but they may serve as inspiration. Keep your eyes open at covers within your genre, and if you see one that is especially attention-grabbing, remember it.
Take a step back from your book and try to strip it down to its bare bones. What is it about? A good cover communicates the meaning of the book, together with its tone and style, with just one picture. If you have decided to hire someone to do the cover for you, make sure they know enough about your book to be able to capture this in the design.
Title and author name fonts should reflect the genre and tone of your book, as well. Unconventional fonts can be used to your advantage, as long as it serves a purpose and does not cross the line. If it does, it will give your whole cover an amateur look. Keep it simple and readable – how is the reader going to remember and notice the title if she can´t even make it out?
Do not include blurbs unless they are from someone whose opinion really matters. What your friends say about your book has no place on the cover and will only make it look cluttered. If the book is part of a series, however, the cover should say so.