The Right Cover
Here, too, if you are going to independently publish your book, you have total control of what goes on the cover. If you are writing a memoir about your great grandfather’s trip from Norway, you might select a photo that depicts his trip or something from his life here.
When your book is about an idea or concept:
- If you want a photo that conveys the idea at a glance or backs up your title/theme, what would it be?
- Where do you position the title and subtitle over the photo?
- What color should the words be?
- What typeface makes the strongest impact?
You could go with using only words—the title/subtitle—and no photo or graphics. Here the typeface’s design and color as well as the cover background color is paramount to your book’s success. As fiction authors become more well known, their name is bigger than the title of their book. For non-fiction, the title sells the book unless the author is a big name for reasons other than being an author: business, sports, celebrity, etc. Many people who speak to large audiences are known within that industry or for their topic, so their name alone can sell the book, regardless of the title. This is not true for a lot of us, however.
Most authors have a few ideas of what colors they like, but really are clueless about design, color for impact, and the power of different typefaces. That’s why it is important to hire a book cover designer. These professionals know what is important in the total design, including the information and spacing on the book’s spine. Where does the author’s photo go? How many book blurbs fit on the back cover? Just because you have software on which you could design the cover, don’t. Leave this very important part of your total book to an experienced cover designer.
How do you find a book cover designer? Ask other authors or the company that is going to print your book. Gather several names. Review each designer’s portfolio of cover designs (in person or online) to see if what he designs fits how you see your cover.
- Does he understand what your book is about?
- Is he flexible?
- What does he charge?
- How many initial designs do you get for that fee?
- How many revisions do you get?
- What is his timeline?
- Has he won any awards for his work?
Check references by calling and asking the same questions about each designer you are considering.
HINT: Before you start the cover process, visit your local bookstore and look at the newest releases in your genre. Even if you aren’t writing a mystery, you can do a little investigation to benefit your book.