November 17, 2020 - Day 2: Finding the right cover for your genre

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We're back with Day 2 of Canva x Wattpad Design Week! Today's focus is all about selling your story to the right audience, and finding the right cover for your genre. Your cover is the first thing people see when deciding to read your story, so making sure you capture the right tone for the demographic you're trying to attract is key. We've collaborated with cover designer and Wattpad Star Ren Tachibana (@rentachi) to show you how to create covers in three popular genres: contemporary romance, paranormal/fantasy, and young adult.

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary Romance is best defined as romance stories set in the current day, reflecting current social mores. There are a variety of styles these covers can take. On Wattpad, these stories tend to be read by readers aged 18-25, so if you're aiming to appeal to the broadest reach possible, keep that target in mind. Common elements for these covers include: a young attractive couple touching innocently; rural backgrounds that are colourful and feel innocent; silhouettes that are feminine and romantic; and fonts / title treatments that include a combination of serif and sans serif fonts, usually bold but romantic.

Young Adult

Young Adult covers offer a lot of opportunity for creativity! YA novels tend to focus on growth and the transition from teenager to adult. While YA is a genre in its own right, it can also be combined with a variety of genres including Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance. Common elements for these covers include: a focus on youthful energy—fonts can be playful and bold; bright, colour-driven covers are eye catching and popular; whitespace and shadow are important–they help focus the reader's attention on the elements you decide are most important (usually this is the title, which we can assume is devastatingly clever.) 

Paranormal & Fantasy

Before creating a cover for your Paranormal / Fantasy story, it's vital you identify the story's subgenre, this will help you determine the best imagery, fonts and colour schemes to use. There is a wide range of subgenres within both genres include High Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Creature Fiction. Common elements for these covers include: atypical fonts; title treatments that play with word placement; vectors; and bold title only covers. 

Check out the full Sell Your Story: Finding the Right Cover for Your Genre resource on the Writer Resource Page for more in-depth tips and advice on sourcing images. Join us tomorrow for a deep dive on author branding!

- Wattpad HQ

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