Friday, September 18, 2009

What’s the Big Deal about Book Covers?

The cover of your book will often make your first impression with readers. Everyone knows that first impressions are very important. They should be done to the best of the author’s ability. Thought and purpose must be given to cover design. Publishers have long known that a book’s cover is instrumental to the marketing process. In fact, if the cover of a book fails, so does the book.

Publishers value the investment which goes into the publishing process. For this reason, they pay strict detail to how their books’ covers look. The cover represents the author by and large. But it also relates to the publishing company that published it. No publisher wants to be known for poor quality. To ensure this doesn’t happen, entire departments are typically devoted to the production of professional appearing book covers.

Traditional publishing companies invest a significant amount for cover design.

As stated before, specific company departments are dedicated to cover design. Here we could have artists, as well as, graphic experts. Their purpose is to produce the best cover for your book that is possible. There are a number of considerations that go into the whole process.

Cover designers use pictures, graphics, and fonts with concerted effort. None of these cover components are done without a purpose. Each is placed and designed in order to yield the best profit. These departments focus on marketing and pride themselves on producing quality covers.

Self publishers must take cover design as seriously as traditional publishers.

Many companies that help authors self publish, have a cover design option. This option allows the author to pick through some standard templates for their cover design. I do not recommend template covers. You want your book to look as good as a New York Time Best Seller.

Prior to participating in this phase of publishing, an author should familiarize themselves with two things. He or she needs to understand basic marketing techniques. How does cover choice connect to the buyer? What colors are distracting? Study the covers of the top ten bestselling books in your genre.

This is important information. The author should also understand what message they are trying to communicate to the reader. The design of the cover will communicate something, whether positively or negatively. The most effective message an author should want to relay is that of their book’s theme. Covers shouldn’t be chosen because they are liked. They must be chosen for effectiveness as well.

Independent designers will happily produce the cover you want.

Some authors have a specific cover idea in mind, but need help bringing it to life. For this reason, there are many independent graphic design companies. These companies offer a variety of services, some of which include cover design. Working with this type of service doesn't have to be expensive. It may, however, be the best way to ensure that your idea is communicated through your book’s cover.

Designers work to make your idea a reality, and then send you a completed file. Sometimes these projects have to be worked on over time. They can take months in some cases. Once completed though, this file can be used to create the book cover you’ve always wanted.


  1. As a book designer and cover designer myself this is just one of the best blogs on why covers need time and love to create the impact the book deserves. Thanks for championing one of the lesser regarded parts of the publishing industry. Ned of 2h design, UK

  2. I am an avid reader and I have to admit though my life I have often chosen books by the cover, I am a visual person and the image matters. Now I am creating cover art for books too, and I find it very rewarding to help authors represent their stories.


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