Conversations: 10/20/2017

book covers


GET EXCITED! Your manuscript is now in the process of being PUBLISHED! The next step requires the writer to “think visually” in a whole different dimension—the flat surface of your book’s COVER. If you’re contracted with a traditional publishing house, the design for your book will be taken “off your shoulders” as their team decides what image will market your book fastest and best. Sometimes they’re right. Sometimes they miss the target audience completely. However, if you’re an “indie” (independent, self-publishing) author, the following discussion will give you a jumpstart in assisting your Cover Designer create the perfect image.

First, let’s take a look at who these Cover Designers are. Without exception, they’ve been extraordinarily creative people since childhood and they’ve come to the career of Graphic Design through many unique avenues. They are also the legacy of visual communicators starting with the ancients who carved designs in stone and utilized “paints” created from charcoal and plants to preserve their images for future generations. However, today’s Designer knows that the distinction between “fine art,” advertising art and graphic art has blurred to the point of invisibility. So it is that they take their work very seriously and we are the benefactors.

Sample of an excellent design:

would you rather be right or well shirley gilbert

At some point during the final stages of completing your manuscript—and discussions with your author representative and publishing consultant—you’ve been asked to create three short information pieces: (1) your bio, (2) a 1-2 sentence theme statement about your book, and (3) a summary of the book. These serve multiple purposes not the least of which is revealing the concepts of your book to the Cover Designer. You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire for the Designer giving them a clearer idea of what you want to see on the cover. This will include:

  • Who is your audience? Important to know because different color combinations appeal to different Readers (buyers) and different age groups.
  • If you’re at your favorite bookstore, what section will have your book? What other books of the same genre do you imagine being next to yours? Important to know so that the Designer can visualize a distinctive design and color scheme that will attract readers to your book vs another.
  • Have you imagined specific images on the cover of your book? Have you dreamed about the cover of your book? Be as specific as possible.
  • What are your expectations from the Cover Designer? This person needs ALL the input you can give. Without it, the process will take longer.

As mentioned above, your Cover Designer is an expert in the art of book cover design. This person is investing in your book to a greater level than you might have initially imagined. He or she has not only studied the “arts” but also the realities of human nature—developing a unique understanding of the visual creatures who instinctively respond to certain colors, shapes and designs.

Some authors have never met the Designer of their book covers, which saddens me a little. I understand the business plan many publishers have established to buffer their Creative Artists from the occasional frustrated author. However, through this blog I hope hundreds of Graphic Artists/Cover Designers will see my BIG THANK YOU and realize that a whole lot of authors would enjoy meeting you and shaking your hand. Your expertise brightens bookshelves, coffee tables, offices and libraries (etc.) around the world! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! ⚓︎



ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.

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