Creating a book cover design for any manuscript requires research and (most importantly) information from the actual author/publisher, this may sound a little obvious but sometimes this information can be a little slow in coming.
It’s not unusual to work upon a project where the only information you’re initially given is a short sentence telling you that the cover needs to have a man on it and should look kind of dark and have a forest in there somewhere…… and that’s it.
The first things you’ll ask yourself is, how old is the man, what does he look like, what’s his hair, eye and skin coloring? Does he have any unique features? What’s he wearing, what’s the time period, what’s the genre? Where is the location? Who is the book aimed at? And so on…
What happens is that the author is so close to the novel that they take some of these small details for granted, and this is totally understandable too, if you’ve been working on a book for the past six to twelve months then you’ve gone past the point where these details seem as new and important as they did when you first started.
When something occupies your mind as fully as your book and its characters for a long period of time, it becomes harder to view the overall concept from an external point of view, this is why having a professional editor work on your book is so important.
When it then comes to working with a book cover designer, you do need to step back and think about your book’s concept and finer details, a great way to do this is to explain your book to a friend and get them to tell you what they understand about it. Can they describe your main character? Have they understood the genre and location? If not, then you will need to give them more information.
One way around this is in the questionnaire that we use with every author and publisher, this asks questions about the book both technically and detailed around the concept and focal points. This helps to get the author to furnish as much information as possible and in a timeframe that allows for detailed reflection upon the book they’ve written.
And this is a great process, focusing in on what your book is actually about helps with regards to the blurb and promotional synopsis for the book, condensing a book down into 300 words is far easier said than done, but it is an important element to the promotion and sale of the book.
So being prepared for the book cover design stage of the publishing process is helpful in both the aesthetics and synopsis, having the details condensed will help the cover and the sales copy. If you’re about to start on your cover, then stop and think about your book, what’s important and what information do you need to pass on to your book cover designer, the more relevant detail you consider now, the smoother the process.
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