Book Cover Design – What is expected and avoiding the abyss

Book Cover Design – What is expected and avoiding the abyss

The publishing industry is rapidly changing with new doors opening on a weekly basis, allowing self-publishers more access to affordable book cover design, editing and the ability to produce a quality book products. Having your book available on a commercial retail store brings one of the single greatest opportunities for emerging authors today.

With this opportunity, comes a cost. That cost is the fact that competition in the book marketplace is becoming stronger and stronger and this means now more than ever before, that you need to set yourself apart and stand out from the crowd anyway you can.

You do this by having a commercial quality product.

The cream eventually rises to the top!

All book marketing aside, if you have a quality book product then you will naturally create the best marketing tool you could possibly have for your book. Yes, some of you may have already guessed it, ‘Word of mouth’.

I see so often the terrible template generated book cover designs, authors designing book themselves without any idea of the importance of good copy writing (the use of words to sell) and not understanding how to create visual images with a distinct purpose. On top of that, they don’t get professional editing and the final result is a book that doesn’t become the product it needs to be to find traction, make sales and fuel word of mouth. You need to try and avoid this and prevent…

Your book dropping into the abyss with thousands of others never to be really discovered.

Is this what you want for your book, after all the hard work with the manuscript?

I didn’t think so.

Now, your here reading this because you know that in order to give your book the best chance of success, you’ll need to invest some money into your book product. Don’t get daunted with the cost of publishing a book, we’re not talking about thousands of dollars and we’re not talking about going to an upstart self-publishing house who will only rip you off. Please avoid those!

If there’s only two things you spend money on, it’s a good book cover design and professional editing. If you can’t, your probably not ready to publish at all.

The old saying of  ‘never judge a book by it’s cover‘  is quite far from the truth, simply because we all do it. The online marketplace displays books in thumbnail sizes before we see anything else. In the eBook marketplace especially, people buy or pass based on the cover.

I understand budgets all to well, but if your serious and believe in your book, then you’ll come to value why you need at least, a professional book cover design. I’ve sat on panel’s with traditionally published authors who have complained of having no input with their cover what so ever. There’s stories online of authors being published by a traditional big house publisher who feel their covers didn’t represent their book well, but had no say in the matter.

As a self-published author you have the opportunity to have your input with your book cover template and work with a professional to deliver a quality book cover, equal to any cover created by a big traditional company. You would be doing your manuscript a disservice if you didn’t.

The role of the book cover design

Listed below you’ll find several points that show just how important the role of your cover design really is.

  • Your book cover design is going to be your primary marketing tool and much of your author platform and promotional efforts include the visual cue of your cover
  • For fiction it conveys the tone of your story
  • For non-fiction it’s about presenting a clear message of the content in the book. What exactly do you say, how do you say it, what to include or not include
  • It’s often where your visual branding is derived from
  • To draw the eyes of potential buyers the cover needs to be clear with good composition, as an online product thumbnail like what you find on Amazon, while being music to the eyes as a full size poster

The cover designer will help answer these questions for you with a professional perspective that authors don’t have, being so emotionally attached to their work.

What do you get with your book cover design

When the time comes to create your book cover you’ll be looking at the options available including finding a cover designer to work with you. Most cover designers today cater for most budgets and will create both eBook and print book covers for you.

If you have a print cover done for POD, then most respectable designers will include the optimised eBook cover, as well as optimised images to use in your online marketing efforts.

What to have ready before contacting a book cover designer

Your book cover designer will appreciate receiving as much information about your book as possible. Every book cover designer works a little differently, but below are some general key considerations you’ll need to make and what the book cover designer will require from you.

  • A copy of your manuscript/book
  • Any details about your target market
  • Title and subtitle suggestions
  • Authors experience and/or qualifications (non-fiction)
  • Any awards you as the author have received
  • Key benefits your book offers (non-fiction)
  • Any ideas you have for what imagery you feel represents your story
  • Is your book part of a series and if so, consider what branding elements can be used to tie the series together
  • Your cover size (you get this from your printer you’ve selected, such as Lightning Source)
  • The name and logo of your own publishing imprint (if you have one)
  • ISBN/Barcode you have purchased

Working with a good book cover artist is a lot of fun as this part of the book production process is a collaborative one and along with professional editing, you’ll have a quality book product you can confidently take to market.

Here’s to a quality book product!


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