Ever get the sense of deja vu when seeing young adult fantasy novel covers?
Here is how you can create your very own young adult fantasy novel cover.
Single-tone background — this can be a metallic silver, a neutral white, black or grey, or a bold teal or red. This base background of the book should be compliment the overall cover design as well as hint what is in the book, for example:
red = romance or bloodshed
silver = technology
gold = royalty
black = mystery and intrigue
A single, stand-out image — pick one, single, stand-out image for your cover — extra points if the image is cropped half off the page. If you choose to feature a person, it must be your female protagonist and her face can't be shown (either have her face cropped from the cover, or obscured by her hair or clothes, or have her facing away from the reader).
A distinct, functional, but instantly recognisable font. Simple enough.
An intriguing, punchy title about 2 to 5 words long, bonus points if the title has some sort of connection to royalty, gentry, or ruling. For example:
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross
If you're struggling, remember a good format is: [insert noun] of [insert noun]. This format is, of course, made popular by George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Here are some recent examples:
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova
Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
Or take it up a notch and follow this formula: [insert noun] of [insert noun] and [insert noun].
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J Maas
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
A punchy, mysterious teaser, should be printed on the cover, giving the read a taste of what is inside. Here are some examples:
"She stole a life, now she must pay with her heart." A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J Maas
"Power is a dangerous game." Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard
"First survive, then tell the truth." Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
"A heart of ice, a will of steel meet the assassin." Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
"In a land without a queen a princess must rise." Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
Any praise for the book, or the Author's previous accolades.
The international bestseller
#1 New York Times bestselling author
From the bestselling author who brought you...
Now a major motion picture
Now a Netflix original series
"This is the next Twilight" — an author I actually like
"This is the next Twilight" — some author I vaguely remember
"This is the next Twilight" — some person I've never heard of from some newspaper no one reads
Bonus round — if the author knows they'll make good sales on the book, consider adding something special on the book, such as embossed font, a metallic shimmer or high-gloss pattern. But don't do this if you're unsure if the book will sell — embossed covers are EXPENSIVE.
... and putting all my advice together, here is my YA book cover (plot, character and any actual writing or work still to come) (but also, publishers I am willing to accept your contracts and advance payments for this masterpiece).