Any book cover design will have gone through many stages of focus and deliberation before reaching the book shelves and becoming the ‘face’ of its title, it is worth remembering that your cover is (as well as beautiful art) advertising and has the job of selling your book.
The reason that I point this out is because at times it can be forgotten, working with authors on hundreds of book covers has taught us that it can be easy to become acutely focused upon personal influences with regards to the book’s front page.
And this isn’t surprising either, when anyone goes through the process of writing a book it is very hard not to formulate an idea for the cover design, however, this can sometimes lead to designs which try to draw upon too many elements within the book itself or become so personal that the fundamental responsibility of the book cover becomes secondary.
And this is the crux for many authors, allowing a designer to take something which is very personal and interpreting it in a fashion which is both true and that sells.
This will of course be reflected by the designer you have chosen to create your own book cover, any designer worth their fee will care about the project because they have attached their name to the design and as a knock on effect it will become advertising for their own work too. Most professional book cover design services (whether they’re one-man-bands or small teams) will make this very clear by the authors and publishers that they have already worked with along with their experience within the industry.
So trusting your designer is not so much a leap of faith but fully utilizing the skills of a professional within the publishing/book advertising industry, and why wouldn’t you get the maximum benefit from the designer you’ve just hired? This is not to say that you shouldn’t bring ideas to the table, you (as the author) know the book more intimately than any other person, so when it comes to the concept and key focal point/message of the book you should make your voice heard.
Getting this information to the designer is another thing and at times it easy to try and say too much, whether you like it or not your book cover will only be looked at for a small amount of time before a reader decides to either pick it up or move on the next. So when you think about telling another person about your book what do you say?
Of course telling another about your book will very much depend upon who you’re actually talking to, if it’s a friend then you may spend forty minutes convincing them why they need to read your work, however, if you’re pitching your book to a publisher or agent then you’re more likely to have to condense your sales pitch down to something more appropriate. But it’s when you are forced to condense the sales pitch for your book that you bring out the most important elements.
So this is why we like to ask a client to sell us their new book but in thirty seconds only, when doing so in such a short time frame it brings out the very key elements which must be reflected upon the book cover, these can be adjusted of course but it will enable a greater insight as to the most important aspects of the book.
This along with a questionnaire brings out the aspects of the book which are important, for example: the author may tell you in the quick sales pitch that the hero is a woman in her thirties, she may neglect to say what her hair color or eye color is though, so teamed with a follow up set of more in-depth questions the specifics for those important elements can be gained too.
The designer will normally create three to four drafts from all of this information (along with many hours of their own research) for you, and from here you’ll be able to see which fits with your expectations and aspirations. Being open with your designer to ensure you get the best results is what you’re paying them for, so think about your thirty second sales-pitch and then give them the details, after all, you deserve a great book cover design.