Creativity when it comes to book cover design (like the art of actually writing a book) comes from focus and of course inspiration regarding the subject itself, now this inspiration will come from reading sections of the book (as not many authors and publishers have the time for you to actually read the entire manuscript) and in-depth discussions with the author. This is where gaining as much information about the author’s book is paramount to the success of the project.
So, prior to any book cover design it’s important to get to grips with the concept of the book, this can be easier to achieve than you may think, but only if you ask the right questions of the author. One of the best questions that we’ve found is to ask the author to sell the book to us but in only 30 seconds, given such a window the author normally hones in on the most important elements within the book itself.
The use of a professional book cover design is recommended by any publisher, agent and serious author these days, but the advertising of your book goes further than the cover. As anyone who uses social media understands, engagement (along with your digital foot print) needs to be consistent with your cover too.
If you take a moment or two to do a little research you will see that the big hitters within the publishing world have worked hard (either themselves or their publishing houses) at establishing a professional and consistent public face/brand. You’ll also find that the social media feeds they use are specific to them as authors and not as individuals, this is a distinction that’s worth making before you start actively using your feeds to promote.
Your book cover design will normally be uploaded to your chosen publisher in the form of a one-piece PDF, there are of course exceptions to this rule with some independent publishers wanting your book in sections, even some of the bigger players (like Barnes & Noble) will want your front and back pages separately too.
But for the overwhelming majority of book cover designs the finished project will be as a single ‘landscape’ PDF, this will vary in size depending upon the page count of the book, paper chosen, dimensions of the trimmed book and style of book (ie; hardback/paperback). Many of the bigger names in Indie Publishing do offer the use of templates for their book cover designs to be sized to, this can ensure that the finished design is correctly sized for the printer.
It is the spine width that makes the biggest difference to any book cover, the wider it is the more you’ll be able to place upon it (such and names, title and publisher’s logo), but with a smaller page count the spine width becomes too narrow to have your book’s title and your name printed there, for the likes of KDP they even advise for any book with less than 101 pages to leave it blank.
For any author who is taking the publication and advertising of their new (or existing) book seriously, then having a website is a must. This is in an era where self-publication is the ‘go to’ option for thousands of authors every week of the year, with so much competition, you need to do something more in order to stand out from the crowd.
But for many authors the thought of creating a website fills them with absolute terror, for a start you may still be under the impression that a thorough knowledge of coding is needed in order to develop a site yourself, or if not, you’ll need to pay a website developer thousands to create one for you.
Rest assured, you only need a little bit of creativity and imagination to build a website yourself, in some cases you can even have a new website up and running in an afternoon. So where do you go to start your new author website?
The process of designing a book cover is one which doesn’t vary too dramatically from book to book, the basics of which are understanding the concept and key elements within the book, the individual genre and audience along with symbolism and a massive pinch of creativity. Of course if you could boil a creative process down to a couple of steps then everyone would be best-selling artists with exhibitions in London and New York.
But this said, there are steps that a designer will take in order to get the most effective solution for the book or project’s needs and requirements. For us we have this initially condensed into a client brief questionnaire, using an interactive form we ask each client to tell us what makes their book tick, what’s important (and what’s not), this questionnaire has come about over the course of several years and has altered to become more honed to the needs of each client.
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