How to Create Good Book Covers
Regardless of how much we try to deny it, we all judge books by their covers. Sure it would be nice to have our writing judged solely based on our ways with words, but with so many books available you need your book to stand out from the masses for it to have a chance of being read. Just take a look at these stats at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Books_published_per_country_per_year to get an idea of the competition. These stats aren't even up to date. In recent years the number of books being published every day has increased greatly. Why should people pick up yours? What's going to make them pick your book? Most likely the cover will at least part of what makes them buy, or pick a different book.
Your book cover is your first impression. It's a way to grab the attention of browsers and, hopefully, turn them into buyers.
As I was researching for this post I came across some great articles that cover what makes a good book cover.
http://author-zone.com/what-does-a-good-book-cover-look-like/ offers some good points about typeface use on covers and being able to see the name of the author. As an author your brand is you so it is an important element to consider. They also make a good observation about the length of your book title/ subtitle.
http://www.wired.com/2014/09/makes-brilliant-book-cover-master-explains/ talks about catching a potential-buyers eye, but also on the importance of having that unique element that makes your book stand out from the rest. Playing it safe isn't always the best option.
https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3820558-what-makes-a-good-book-cover author Elizabeth Egerton Wilder gives some good advice in this post. One of the things she notes is that you should check what your cover looks like as a thumbnail image. Is the cover still effective on a smaller scale?
http://www.publishingtalk.eu/self-publishing/four-steps-to-create-a-great-book-cover/ highlights the fact that "your book cover isn’t just a picture, it is your packaging."
http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/designing-book-covers/ comments on how your cover should also communicate the genre of your book. Also includes links to some helpful tutorials.
http://www.hbook.com/2014/03/choosing-books/horn-book-magazine/makes-good-book-cover/ notes "the exploration of book cover brilliance depends upon a thorough understanding of just what the book cover is trying to do."
http://completelynovel.com/self-publishing/writers-toolbox-cover-design points out that your cover doesn't need to illustrate every theme/character. "There is no need to put an image of every character, setting and theme on the front cover, as your book will explain that for you."
http://www.thecreativepenn.com/bookcoverdesign/ offers a long list of book cover designers should you decide to hire a professional cover designer for your book. Even if you just use it as a starting point for your research into designers, rates, styles etc... I'm sure you'll find it a useful resource.
Another awesome site to check out is http://www.thebookdesigner.com/ This site is packed full of useful articles on the subject of book cover design.
You might also want to check out these articles from right here on Writers and Authors: