Your book needs a cover

Lesson Progress:

You need a striking, good quality, professional cover that will appeal to your readers and make them want to choose your book over someone else’s. Remember, your potential reader will see your cover first before they see the book summary or free sample and many readers really do choose a book by its cover. Digital books have only a front cover.

Take the time to create a fabulous cover. We advise you to pay an experienced cover designer to create your cover for you, but you can do it yourself if you follow all the cover requirements very carefully.

If you do use a designer, they will create the cover in a design programme like InDesign and then give you your cover in a file format called PDF. Be sure to get the InDesign files as well as the pdf from the designer on completion of the job. You may need to make changes to your cover at a much later stage. It is not the cover designer’s responsibility to keep an archive of your files (or to keep a backup of them).

Smashwords book cover requirements


Smashwords Book cover requirements also cover the requirements for e-Retailers like Apple, Kobo, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

  • You must include the book title and the author’s name.
  • Do not include a naked person, a price, a web address, or advertisements of items not already included in the book.
  • Choose a good quality, hi-resolution image. In other words, the image must have a high pixel count. Usually an image like this has a very large file size (2MB or even higher).

The following technical specifications will be understood by your cover designer.

  • Book covers must be vertical in shape: 1,600 pixels wide by 2,400 pixels tall.
  • Your image must be in RGB colour, not CMYK.
  • The image must be a good quality, hi-res image. The cover cannot be grainy, blurry or pixelated (this will happen if you use a small image and try to enlarge it).
  • No 3D covers are permitted.

Remember, your cover will be very small when it is displayed by ebook retailers online. Do not add in too many images so that it becomes busy and cluttered. Make sure that your cover still looks good and that the text is legible at a postage-stamp size.

The book title, author name and book description must be the same everywhere

This might seem obvious but make sure that the title and author name on the cover is the same as the title and name inside your book and in the digital form you fill in on Smashwords before you publish your book.

Remember that just after you publish your book at Smashwords, it will appear on the Smashwords’ home page for about 15 minutes, but only if it has a cover so you must upload your cover at the same time that you upload your MSWord.doc file. (More about this process later.)

For more information about covers please read the Smashwords Style Guide. You can download it here: Smashwords Style Guide

Here is a handy checklist to use when you are finalising your cover.

Cover checklist Yes/No
Is the title correct?
Is your name spelt correctly?
Do the author details and title match those on your title page inside the book?
Has the correct font type and font size been used?
Is the resolution of the cover image correct? (Look carefully at the image, it should not be pixelated or blurry.)
Is your cover legible and striking even in a thumbnail size?
Do you have copyright for the image? If not, has permission been obtained?
Is the acknowledgement listed correctly?
Have you obtained permission for multiple use, for example, for books translated into other languages using the same image?

Where can I find suppliers?

Cover designers

The suppliers listed below are able to design covers.

Advanced Design Group
Contact: Clinton Arendse
Phone: 021 981 1782

Baseline Publishing Services
Contact: Jenny Wheeldon
Phone: 021 685 5363

Firelight Studio
Contact: Scott McGregor
Phone: 021 422 3227

Flame Design
Contact: Daniel Jansen van Vuuren
Phone: 021 462 3660 or 082 782 7941

Ink Design Publishing Solutions
Email: or
Phone: 021 705 0933

Jigsaw Graphic Design and Layout
Contact: Richard Jones
Phone: 012 662 4251 or 083 3093804

You can also find a list of cover designers recommended by Smashwords here:

Mark’s List