Today is super exciting because, after almost 3 months, a now have a book cover I am happy with! In fact, I may just go ahead and admit that I love it 🙂
It’s taken me over 10 iterations to get to this point and here it is:
What do you think? Let me know your thoughts!
I feel relieved that it’s finally the way I want it. It’s taken a few iterations because I wanted to ensure it fits the target market and is genre -specific.
As a reminder here are some of the early iterations the cover went through:
Here were the original 4 samples I received after I provided a brief of what I wanted:
But these totally missed the mark and my expectations! In addition, my target market didn’t respond with positive feedback so I knew I had to go back to the drawing board.
I told the designer to make some cover that were typographic (text) only and some with images (like the sign post image):
These were the next samples I received:
So then I picked the cover I liked and asked the designer to make some minor adjustments to the below image:
Here are a few lessons I learned from getting a book cover designed
1) Expect changes!
No matter how good your instructions are, you still will need to go through multiple edits (just like your book goes through multiple rounds of edits) to get the cover exactly as you want it
2) Focus on the reader
When assessing the cover, don’t just think about what you (the author) wants. The aim of the cover is to get the attention of your ideal reader. So know your reader. Understand what they are likely to gravitate towards.
Potential readers will probably spend less than 3 seconds on looking at your cover. That’s all the time you have to grab their attention.
3) Less is more
Because you have such a short window span to get the readers attention, it’s best to make your cover as simple as possible and not busy. Keep the design minimal (this works very well in my genre).
Lots of white space on the cover helps to guide the readers focus on to what matters the most (in my cover, it’s the title and sub-title text).
4) Do your research and think BIG!
I scoured Amazon.com (because it’s the biggest market even though I’m based in the UK) and looked at the best selling books in my category (self-help, non-fiction).
I made notes as to the look and feel of these types of book covers. I noticed the colour scheme, the text font, use of images, etc.
The aim of this research is not to copy what is already out there but to be aware of what the expectations of this market are.
It would be inappropriate if I put a vampire picture on my book cover as it would give the impression it’s a fiction book…about vampires!
Be clear and specific with your cover. Because we DO judge a book by its cover!
5) Think BIG!
Looking at the bigger global market will also help you to appreciate what sells on a global basis.
As an indie-author with goals to make a multi 7 figure income from my writing, I am thinking global from Day 1. I don’t want to just sell in the UK. I want to sell my book in every country in the world. (So think big!)
6) Be patient
Your designer will have their own ideas. Listen to what they have to say but you don’t have to take onboard all of their comments.
The same applies to your editor when they give you their feedback. They are professionals and know what they are doing, but you are ultimately the creator and owner of this asset you are creating.
So don’t be afraid to push back (with reasonable comments) and don’t be afraid to make changes or ask for changes.
7) Be specific in your feedback
Saying things like ‘ I don’t like this cover- start again’ is not going to help you or the designer. You need to point out specifically what works and isn’t working. See how I provided some feedback in the image below.
I stored all my feedback on DropBox so the designer could access it.
8) Put on your business hat
When going through this design process, I took off my writing hat and started to think like a publisher.
I asked questions like:
- Will this book stand out on the virtual and physical shelf?
- Does it say clearly what the book is about?
- Can the cover be seen and read clearly as a thumbnail image on a mobile phone (since most readers purchase ebooks via their phone)?
- The covers purpose is to sell the book- is this a convincing cover that will make a potential reader want to stop and look at it? Is it eye-catching?
- Does this look like a professional cover (and it should especially if you are hiring a professional!)
Ensure you have constant communication with the designer and be clear with your instructions
What I could have improved on
I am a bit of a control freak!
- I like things done my way so, in the end, I was prescriptive with the tiny details as we got close to finalising the cover. But I think it paid off!
- No wonder why I chose to be an indie-author as it suits my style and gives me the freedom I want in creative projects.
I only corresponded via email with the designer which I think led to a few misunderstandings.
- It’s always best to speak directly to the designer to ensure you can articulate what you want.
- I couldn’t do this because the designer was contracted by the editing company I used so I was using their designer. This meant I had to communicate to the designer via my editor. In hindsight, I would go directly to a cover designer myself and ensure I had at least one conversation with them during the process.
- Because of the above arrangement, I hadn’t seen previous cover designs by this designer, and I don’t think they had relevant experience in my genre hence why I felt I had to provide a lot more guidance. Next time I will be sure to check their previous samples of work.
But like I always say, this is all a journey, and the learning is not in achieving the final goal but in who you become when you achieve that goal. The whole process is one of constant learning and course-correcting.
Let me know what you think about my book cover. Do you have any tips to share about how to get a book cover designed? Please join in the conversation by posting a comment below or like and share.
Related & Recommended Posts
- How to choose the best cover for your book
- How to get feedback to create an awesome book cover design
- Help Me Choose a Book Cover For Escape The Cubicle
- How to get started on your book cover design
Also published on Medium.