Book covers aren’t just the display and outer appearance of a book. The intricate details in the type and images convey not only the emotion of the book, but also the zeal of the writing, with only a small amount of space and words to do it. When a cover is done right, it’s the best marketing tool your book can possibly have.
But how can you be sure your cover will do its job?
In this post, professional book cover designer Joshua Jadon and the Knockin’ Books design lead will candidly discuss the importance of good cover design and what authors should keep in mind when choosing cover art.
Joshua Jadon on drawing inspiration from surroundings: The stories we speak of and the tales we narrate are often a shadow of what goes into our surroundings. We tend to be inspired by the things occurring around us. They may be trivial, but they hide a sea of truth and lies. For you to design an appealing book cover that resonates with your environment and surroundings, it must be relevant to your story. You’ll notice the smallest details which will guide you to an image, and the words floating in the air will help you come up with a theme or name of the book.
Knockin’ Books: That’s an excellent point. As an author, your writing is inspired and informed by your surroundings (the people, places, events and geography), so it’s important to study them as you work on a cover. At the same time, you have to be cognizant of which aspects of your environment have actually contributed to your book, otherwise they’re irrelevant to the cover design.
Joshua Jadon on drawing insight from your life and the lives of others: Things that people jot down are a reflection of what goes on around them. The experiences they have, they share in their writing. Their writing and books are about their struggles and life stories. Under such clouds, one can take the insight of what he or she centers their world around. One should look for things in their life that matter the most to them and use them to form a book cover design that will capture the essence of their book.
For instance, if dresses are what you find the most fascinating part of your life, then throw some colors on the cover. Come up with different prints like floral and abstract. Come up with anything that best complements the clothing and dresses. That is how one makes an exceptional book cover design for their book.
Knockin’ Books: Couldn't agree more. If there’s something in your life you find particularly interesting, it’s okay to incorporate it into your cover design, even if it isn’t an integral part of the story. When I designed the cover for Semi-Human, I incorporated an orange hue into the background simply because it was author Isabel Jordan’s favorite color, even though it had nothing to do with the story.
Authors should also consider when they begin working with a book cover designer. Going back to my work with Isabel Jordan, she and I actually worked on the cover while she was in the process of writing the book. Isabel wanted to find a photo that would capture the strength and grit of her main character, Harper Hall. I spent weeks searching and submitting images, but none of them were quite right.
Finally, I found an image of a tough-looking heroine in a unique pose that Isabel absolutely loved. The only catch was that the woman in the photo was holding a sword. Isabel adored the photo so much, she decided to integrate the sword into the story. It turned out to be a fairly minor addition, but it allowed the author to use the image she preferred for her book cover.
Joshua Jadon on the conception and ideation behind a book cover: For any writer, author or publisher, the meaning of a book cover isn’t just two-fold or simple. The book cover reveals the details and values of the book. Often the writers go with a literal rendition of the phrases and words, but you can also play along. The process of ideation for book cover design is based on the following:
If you do the above mentioned steps, you will end up with a unique, effective book cover design.
(Editor's note: for more questions to ask yourself during the cover design process, check out one of our earlier Design Dude posts.
Knockin’ Books: This is one of the most important ideas an author should remember when designing a book cover. Cover art doesn’t have to be (and really shouldn’t be) literal. Your cover should convey the ideas, emotions and thoughts of the story, not the story itself.
So, just because your story is a bear shifter romance set in Scotland, you don’t need to show a guy in a kilt, a bear and a couple locked in a clinch on your cover. Doing so will only clutter-up your cover and make it a less effective selling tool for your work.
Joshua Jadon (more on what to keep in mind when designing a book cover):
Knockin’ Books: Couldn’t agree more with everything Joshua mentioned. In addition, don’t forget about the power of color to convey a mood or emotion. But keep in mind that specific colors have different meanings depending on geography and culture. For instance, red is often associated with anger and passion in Western society, but Chinese culture associates red with good fortune and joy.
Type is also a potent design element. It’s absolutely critical to find a typeface that will complement or even enhance the intended mood of the cover design. Avoiding an overabundance of typefaces and styles will help keep the type from being a distraction rather than a critical component.
Long-story-short, people really DO judge books by their covers, and having a beautiful cover can mean the difference between a bestseller, and a book that rots on the shelves.
About Joshua Jordan
Is solely to create book cover designs that work to significantly increase the amount of copies each author sells. This aim is accomplished by ensuring that each of my clients book covers catches the attention of potential readers.
Remember your book cover is the first visual impression you can leave on a reader. It is the “make or break” factor for your book sales. A good looking book cover design can mean the difference between a reader picking up your book and buying it or simply just ignoring it.
When creating a great book cover I find it key to never limit my designs to anything. I find having an open and imaginative approach with every design, integrating beautiful typography, graphics, images, and illustrations with striking looks is what makes a cover unique and different. No cheesy templates are used and everything I create is from scratch. State of the art software, innovative tools, and graphic design expertise are the aids I use to create your book cover design. Each cover undergoes an extensive design process that ensures the end result looks stunning and gets readers to buy your book.
Whether your to-be released book is a novel, part of a series, e-book, novella, or any other, I can create you a beautiful book cover design that immediately increases its appeal and subsequently, your sales.
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