Creating Your Audiobook Cover
July 6, 2021

They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but realistically, it's your #1 promotional tool! Entice your listeners with a great audiobook cover. 

Cover Requirements— The Technical Stuff

There are several specifications your audiobook cover must meet to be accepted by all of our partners. You’ll set some of these parameters when you create your cover project, and others when you export your project. It all depends on which software you choose to use. 

Ready for some fun technical jargon?

Size: Your cover must be a perfect square— exactly 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels

File size: must be less than 5 MB

Format: The file must be in JPG format

Filename: The filename must be alphanumeric - no need to get fancy here with special characters. Keep it simple. (e.g., AudiobookTitle2021.jpg )

Resolution: 72 pixels per inch (ppi) minimum

Colour: 24 bits per pixel minimum (8 bits per channel) Must be RGB which stands for Red-Green-Blue. 

Contents: The author name and title of the audiobook are the bare minimum. If you include a subtitle and the narrator’s name on the cover, they must match what is announced in the opening track and closing credits track of your audiobook. 

What NOT to do

  • No coloured borders on the sides
  • No offensive material
  • No references to physical (CD) or other media editions
  • No photocopies or photographs of CD jewel cases
  • No promotional stickers (e.g., “On sale now”, “New lower price” etc.)
  • Do not use CMYK colour mode (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Key/Black) which is used for printing
  • Avoid stretching your rectangular book cover to fit a square— the image will be distorted
  • Some platforms may feature your audiobook cover with a triangle on the lower right corner, it’s best to avoid any important information around that area if possible.

Planning Your Cover Art

DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

Do you want to try designing your own audiobook cover or should you leave it to the professionals?

Planning to DIY your audiobook cover? Canva, GIMP, Inkscape, and DrawPlus Starter Edition are just a few of the many free graphic design and photo editing tools available. If you have a bit of experience in the graphic design world you might choose a paid software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. 

If you want to hire a graphic designer to ensure your cover is professional and visually intriguing, there are several cost-effective services such as 99designs, Fiverr, and Upwork that can help connect you with the type of artist you’re looking for. SelfPubBookCovers.com offers customizable pre-designed covers starting at around $75, and once sold can never be sold again (ensuring your cover will be unique).

Before hiring a cover designer, check out BookBub’s 12 questions to ask when hiring a cover designer.

The Visuals

Check out the audiobook cover art of bestsellers in your genre; having a good idea of what sells well, what doesn’t, (and why) might spark some ideas. What are the current trends? You can choose to follow those trends or create your own path. Explore the perspective of your potential listeners.

The Colours, The Background, The Fonts

Gather some colour inspiration or create a free colour palette on www.coolors.co

Covers typically have an illustration, photography, or a patterned background. You may choose to hire a graphic designer or artist if you’d like an illustration. You can search through stock image sites or hire a photographer to snap a professional image of people, landscapes, or a spooky forest. Whatever draws your attention and accurately depicts your story.

If you want multiple fonts, round up some options you like and test them out together. Serif or sans serif, bold, underlined, italic, you choose!

Audiobook covers are typically displayed fairly small on most platforms. You'll want your font to be big and bold enough to be seen. To accommodate the font, your cover image may need a slight blur, some lead space, or a transparent overlay.

Get some inspiration from your local bookstore or your audiobook listening platform to gather a few examples that you like, and a few that you want to avoid at all costs.

Licensing Agreements for Print and eBook Cover Art

If you’ve already released a print or eBook version, you can choose to take the marketing in a different direction or stick with the same cover. You’ll want to make sure you have the rights to use the artwork and ensure it’s adjusted to fit within the audiobook cover requirements (Do not stretch your rectangular book cover to fit a square).

If you hired a photographer, graphic designer, or used a stock image for your print and ebook cover, before creating your audiobook cover double check your licensing agreement. There may be stipulations about the use of the images or text. It’s fairly rare but some retailers may ask for proof that you have the rights to use the image on your cover. Have your licensing agreement on standby just in case.

Happy Creating!

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