Ugly Books—Get Out of Here!

Seriously, folks. It’s about to get real.

I recently scrolled through the online bookstore of a independent small publisher (who shall remain nameless) and I was shocked. SHOCKED by the ugliness of the books they publish.

People do judge the quality of a book by its cover.

Indie authors, please hear me out, if you get a publishing “deal” with a small publisher and their existing collection of books looks hideous to you then do not publish with them.

Some might argue that cover design is a personal preference but there is also a collective agreement that ugly is…well…ugly. We all know it when we see it.

Entire marketing careers are based on knowing what is appealing to the eye and what isn’t. 

As a self-publisher, you will have a much easier time marketing your book if it has an attractive cover.

You will have a much harder time marketing and selling your book if your cover is universally perceived as ugly. That’s a fact.

Seriously, this is your book and the culmination of all of your hard work. You do not want your book associated with other books featuring amateur book covers with clip art cut-and-paste graphics, do you? 


Please, tell me you don’t want that for your book.

In an overwhelming market where readers have to make a split-second decision based on a thumbnail sized version of your cover, you need to be able to immediately grab their attention.

If your book cover is ugly, well, then they won’t give your book a second glance even if your story is heartfelt, important, and compelling.  

I’m all for helping writers and children’s books make it onto bookshelves but there is a better way. The way forward is do design a beautiful book by understanding and avoiding all that makes a book ugly. 

What makes a book ugly?

  1. Bad cover design. I’m talking baaaaad, like it looks like it was designed in Word 2001 using clip art bad.
  2. Questionable titles. Dogs Pray was one title that had me shaking my head.
  3. Poor interior formatting. If I open up your book and your chapter titles are squished at the top, there’s zero usage of white space, and your margins are wacky, I’m probably not going to buy it.

You do not need to settle for poor quality cover art or text that appears in chunks on the page. Self-publishing on a budget does not mean we don’t care about the quality of our work.

If you don’t have funds to hire an interior formatter, then you need to learn the ropes yourself. In this free video tutorial, I go over interior typesetting and some basics about how to make a book look beautiful on the inside.

If you are not a graphic designer, please do not attempt to design your own book cover. I know that Canva has ebook templates and it is tempting to save some cash and do it yourself, but that’s a bad decision in the long-term.

Graphic designers can work with you to figure out the best look for the cover of your book.

This is your book, your baby, and you want to be proud to show it off and have people spend their hard-earned money on it, right?

Click here to grab my FREEBIE video training on what you need to know to design a beautiful book starting with the words to the spine.

Don’t settle for an ugly book. Design a book that is a pleasure to read and one that you’ll be proud to put your name on the cover.

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