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.
Improving your skillset when needed is a great use of your time and resources, it helps you to level up and become a more efficient and productive author/writer. But like most of us, you won’t necessarily know too many world-class experts within the industry, so enrolling in an online masterclass is the best option.
And luckily enough, there are plenty of great courses for every writer to choose from. Here are our Top Five course providers that you should be aware of in 2021.
One - Masterclass
Here you can learn from writers such as David Sedaris, Shonda Rhimes, Malcolm Gladwell, James Patterson, Margaret Atwood and many more. This streaming platform gives you access to hundreds of hours of videos from the very best in writing (and many other fields too), the annual cost for membership is $180 and gives you access to the videos and downloadable workbooks.
Two – Udemy
Udemy is a large online course provider which has over 155,000 courses for you to choose from, its selection for writers and creatives is huge and offers training in everything from creative writing to how to market and sell your book. Udemy has regular sales on its courses and offers prices from free upwards.
Three – ProWritingAid Academy
This academy gives self-paced courses along with live training workshops (these take place at least twice a month), along with this there are 30 day writing challenges and writing exercise daily. They have a selection of expert courses tailored towards writers and authors, most of which are $199.
Four – Mark Dawson
Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing formula is well known within the writing world and trusted by countless authors, on offer are lots of courses specifically created for authors who want to be successful within the publishing world, and for this reason it tends to be more expensive than most other course, however, the feedback from most who enroll is superb and what you gain from taking the course outweighs the price (do keep in mind that the course open only several times a year, so this is one to keep an eye on).
Five – Six Figure author coach
Created by Rebecca Hamilton, these courses have helped countless writers achieve their dream of becoming not just full-time authors but authors earning thousands every month (hence the website’s name). The site offers a wide range of courses with prices ranging from $199 to $4997 (they do offer monthly payment plans too).
Guest Post by Alisha Haqie
A surprisingly large number of companies hire graphic designers. But for people pursuing this career, it can sometimes be hard to work out where exactly to look for work. Which types of companies are most in need of their skills?
That’s the question we answer in this post. As you’ll see, there are a surprisingly diverse range of firms that want talented people to create beautiful visuals, both internally, and for customers.
Video Production And Television Studios
Broadcasters and video production professionals need people who can create beautiful images to accompany their advertising copy. Usually, graphic designers’ task is to come up with visual representations of the ad copy that audiences will find appealing. People who seek careers in this line of work will need to have flexible skills and be able to react to a vast array of briefs. TV and video production requirements are always changing
Many graphic design companies also go into corporate branding. Companies need catchy images and visuals that immediately tell people who they are, what they sell, and the level of service that they can expect.
Typically, graphic designers in this area will sell their services as consultants, not formal employees. Businesses will provide them with a brief, and then they will get to work translating companies’ ideas and goals into images that capture their sentiment. The majority of the projects designers take on relate directly to corporate logos and branding. However, firms may also ask them to take on smaller projects, such as creating a suite of brand-compatible photographs.
For many budding graphic designers, corporate branding is a good place to be because of the steady flow of work. Every ten years or so, companies will decide to revamp their brand to bring it more up to date. And each time they do, they’ll use teams of consultant designers, usually paid off the company payroll. However, some firms will hire graphic designers in-house full time.
Graphic designers are also finding a home at SEO agencies - firms that help businesses rank higher in Google search results. Designers can add tremendous value to the creative output of these companies which ultimately feed into better page ranks for their clients. For instance, they might create infographics or enhance posts or videos with interesting visual media.
Advertising firms are among the longest-standing employers of graphic designers. When their clients approach them for a new advertising campaign, they need people with the skills to make it happen.
Many graphic designers love working at advertising firms because they get to work on both print and digital media. Over time, they build their skills in both, increasing their professional repertoire, giving them more career options in the future.
Advertising firms also tend to be a good place to be financially speaking. These companies often have higher budgets than most and so usually pay higher salaries and offer more benefits. Plus, because they are quite large, they also provide opportunities for career progression.
Because of all this, advertising companies are the first port of call for many graduate graphic designers. They spend a few years in these firms learning the ropes before either creating their own agencies or moving onto different projects in other industries.
Software Development Companies
Many software companies create apps and programs that offer users a rich visual experience. But usually, it’s not the coders themselves who create these images; it’s the team of graphic designers backing them up.
To get into this field, graphic designers need to have both artistic and coding skills. Many firms are looking for people who can make their software easier to use. Often, they’ve mastered the backend, but they need skilled workers who have a knack for understanding the kind of interfaces consumers want. Graphic designers, therefore, are a kind of bridge between the ultra-technical side of the operation and the slick, visual, consumer-facing interface.
For those looking for a long career in graphic design, then software development is a great place to be. The range of opportunities on offer in the sector is growing all the time. And the industry is going to be around for a long time yet, even if individual firms go out of business.
Lastly, graphic designers can often find work in educational firms. These enterprises need people who can create pedagogic tools that will help children learn and remain engaged. Ultimately, the goal of these brands is to ensure that students succeed.
Book cover designers.
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