Having created thousands of book covers for authors from all genres, backgrounds and corners of the world, you gain a great understanding of what you should ask when starting on a new cover, what details you’ll need, what you won’t and the specifics that would make creating a book cover design impossible without.
There are basic details that most authors will naturally pass on to a designer and others that maybe they’ll forget about, so, here is our list of seven of the most important things you should consider when letting your book cover design know about your book.
One – Remember, no one else knows your book like you.
When working on a book or creative project, it is natural to become fully immersed within it, spending weeks, months and in some cases years, it is very easy to know the details so intimately that over time you take for granted those smaller (and more basic) elements.
These more basic elements can get overlooked because you have developed the book further and are now considering a larger picture, however, those basic elements can be crucial to your book cover designer, forgetting to tell them a minor detail can result in a delay in the cover’s creation.
Two – Know your genre & audience.
One of the most tempting things to try and do is to market your book to everyone, you’ll think of the manuscript and that there is something for all readers within it, however, not everyone will want to read your book, and this is so important to understand.
It may seem a little harsh, but the sooner you get your head around this, the sooner you can target the correct audience and sell more copies.
With so many authors and publishers promoting their books, trying to target a massive audience of people who may not necessarily be attracted or even interested in your book is just not cost effective, knowing who your audience is and targeting them with your book cover and advertising is a far better way of spending your money and far more likely to yield results.
Think of every best seller you know, not every reader bought a copy, J.K. Rowling is a highly successful author, but if you don’t like fantasy and wizards, you will not buy her book.
Three – Details, details and some more details.
As mentioned in number one in our list, no one understands the book as good as you, remember this when it comes to the details.
If I asked you to think of a woman with brown hair, brown eyes, 5ft 8in tall and in her twenties, the likelihood is that the woman you’re thinking of will be different to the one in my mind, we don’t know her skin color, if she has any distinguishing features, what clothes she’s wearing, what her hairstyle is, does she wear glasses, have tattoos or piercings, the list goes on.
So, when you are thinking about the characters within your book, paint a picture in minute detail, the same goes for the world within the book itself, if it’s set in a certain location, give details. If the book is non-fiction, again, give details, the more your designer can understand about the manuscript the better.
Four – Get to grips with your blurb
Writing a blurb for your book can be a very time consuming part of the publishing process, there is so much that goes into it, and of course, it has a very important sales job to complete for you.
Now, most designers will use place holder text when creating your book cover (so you can see how the cover will look with a block of text upon the back page), but you should still be working on the blurb as the cover is going through the design process, hopefully you’ll have this ready to coincide with the completion of the design itself.
There are some basics on how to create a great blurb for either fiction or non-fiction that we have in our blog post on how to write a blurb, which I would recommend you taking a look at.
Five – Know the size of the book
There are plenty of choices for self-publishing authors with regards to who is printing your book and what ‘trim’ size you’ll choose for your publication. It is worth investigating this before you start on the cover design itself though.
The size of your book will have a knock-on effect to the page count and spine width, so if you don’t want a book with a massive page count, you may want to opt for a larger trim.
Again, we have a great article on book sizes, you may want to look at this to figure out which trim size will be best for your publication.
Six – What’s it called?
I know this sounds obvious… however, having a title for your book along with a subtitle is really helpful for the book designer. In many book cover designs the title becomes part of the artwork, so if you change the title halfway through the project, the artwork can look drastically different (and in some cases need to be redesigned).
The subtitle is not as big an issue as the main title, but, your designer will have put a lot of thought and detail into where and how the subtitle is placed and how it is also laid out.
Seven – Who will be printing your book?
For self-publishing authors the options for print on demand services is excellent, there are many indie printer/publishers and of course the big ones such as KDP and Ingram Spark.
For your designer, it’s important that they know who will be printing your book so that they can create the cover according to the specifics of your chosen printer. Things such as ink levels, color profiles, templates, exporting settings and paper stock for spine widths will all differ, so the earlier the designer knows who you’ll be using the better.
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