A book cover design is more than just the binding and protection for your book, the cover design becomes the ‘face’ and advertising for the work, and this is something that every author should consider prior to publication. However, sometimes there is a strong desire to design your book cover with too many elements or a greater focus on a detail which is very personal, this could be something which you alone understand or appreciate and runs the risk of being lost upon the viewer.
Creating a design is a fine balancing act of knowing what to put in and (just as importantly) what to leave out, stripping the elements of your book back to their bare bones is a great place to start and will of course help with preparing your synopsis. For this you do need to look at your book with a fresh pair of eyes (and this really is easier said than done), but stepping back and looking at your book in an objective manner will help bring in to focus the primary elements of the book itself.
The objective is at first to have a clear understanding of its overall theme and message, being able to boil this down into one paragraph which clearly relays this to the reader will enable a more effective book cover design to be created.
So, start by writing your synopsis and then look at how much you’ve written, is it five hundred words? If so, then you need to start condensing it down, keep going until you can get it down to a couple of paragraphs, this should start to reveal what the key message for your book is. Please note, if your book cover needs to include characters within the design then you can add those details later, the key is in first finding out what the main focal point of the book is.
In some cases you can strip the book down to a line of text, for example: ‘The re-found love between a man and woman in later years, a story of hope, love and forgiveness’. From this short line you have an understanding of the theme and focal point of this book.
Once you understand this first you can then start to work upon the rest of the cover, from here you take this brief synopsis and flesh back out again, but only with relevant details. So, knowing that the book was about a re-found love between a man and woman you may need to get details of their description, location and era (if you wanted to add the characters to the book cover). Or, you could look at metaphors to represent the theme of the book instead, having stripped it down to the short paragraph you’ll find it easier to design to what is important.
In designing your book cover, remember to condense it down to truly understand those key focal points of the book and then flesh back out (don’t go too far) and only use relevant details.
Book cover designers.