There’s an old say: “You can’t judge a book by the cover”, it’s a good thing to remember as a metaphore and for sure it’s a good advice when it comes to read a book. There’s a little problem to consider too, in terms of marketing this say is wrong.
As an author/publisher you need the best cover available for your works. The very first thing potential customers will see about your ebooks is the cover and first impression matters a lot for the most part of readers when they browse on Amazon, looking for new stuff to load on their Kindle devices.
So what you have to do is to get a good cover, that have to be considered when you set up your budget unless you’re an artist on your own. What do you need in a good cover? Of course your name (or pseudonym), the title of your book, the name of your publisher (*); this is the minimum set of information that have to be displayed on it. If your book is a part of a series you’ve to add that piece of information too (i.e. Part two of the Steel saga).
[a good cover sample, artist Luca Morandi]
Then you have to consider two different formats; the first is 300×300 for the preview, the second is 1200×1200 for the real cover. A good image in the latter format usually looks good in the first too but you have to check this out before using it for your book. Now it’s time to consider background and lettering colors. The information on your cover have to be readable, so avoid using over-complicated fonts and focus on the composition: the information blocks (the aforementioned name-title-publisher) have to be spaced well enough to leave room for the image (or the images) to be seen.
For the background and lettering colors, it’s a matter of common sense and tradition. The two colors do not have to clash, nor they can be too much alike. For the tradition aspect you have to think about the books you have in your house; a lot of thriller/noir books got a black background, many science fiction books got a blue background, quite a number of romance books got a white or pink background and so on. Of course the lettering colour to use is to be readable of that background.
How about to rent an artist for your book cover? It could be a good investment for your project and a nice way to find a distinctive trademark for your works. Try at Deviant Art, there you’ll find thousands of good pros from a lot of countries, many of them well experienced in the field. If you got many contacts in the Net you can try to hold a little competition about that, using the money from your budget to set a good prize. Please remember that any e-book of yours will be on the market forever if you don’t recall it. So every cover will speak for your name as an author/publisher.
(*) A publisher? But I’m an author/publisher on my own! That’s true but it’s a matter of public image. If you stick on your cover the name of a firm, then you’re giving to the potential customers something that resemble the usual stuff he/she’s buying.