When an author goes to a bookstore, they are sure to be impressed by how creative all the book covers are and worried about how their own will stand out. It will have to, one way or another.
By now, everyone knows that people shop with their eyes. They want to feel at home, but they also want to be surprised by something new and exciting.
They want a book they can be proud to carry on the subway or read on their e-reader. Since so many books come out every year, good book covers must show that the pages inside are worth the reader’s time and attention.
In the Ultimate Guide to book covers, we’ll look at how to make the cover of your book tell a story before people even open it.
Know what goes into making book covers.
There are some parts to book covers:
- front cover
- back cover
The pages of a paperback book are stuck together with a paper cover, which is then cut to the right size. The pages of a hardcover book are sewn or glued into a cardboard “case” that is then covered with cloth or paper.
The paper cover goes all the way around the book and has flaps on both sides. When you open a hardcover book and see colored or printed pages stuck to the boards, you’re looking at endpapers. These are a beautiful extra set of pages that designers can use to tie a book project together.
Pick a design direction
Next, you should consider your design direction and how it will fit with what the author had in mind for her book. There are a lot of beautiful books out there, but not every design will work for every book.
Think about what the author or publisher has to say. Make a Pinterest board with covers and book packages of similar books that have done well. Go to your local bookstore and pick up some books to feel the different thicknesses and materials of paper. Write down what you like and what you don’t like.
This could help you if you hit a wall in the design process a long time from now.
Figure out what needs to stand out in the design.
Think of the front of the dust jacket or the book covers as an extension of the book’s marketing plan. What’s the most important thing about the story that makes it special, that will help a reader decide whether or not to read it? Is it one of the people in the book? The way you write? The place where the book is set or the part of history it talks about? If the book is similar to a popular movie, think of ways to hint at that movie without making a cheap copy.
The author might be thinking about writing a sequel or turning the book into a series. Think about how the design of future books could be similar to the first to build the author’s brand.
If the author is well-known, their name might be the best way to market the book. But for most authors, the book has to stand on its own and out among other books on a shelf.
Choose the graphics and fonts
One of the best things about book covers is that almost any design can be used. Writers have wild imaginations, and it’s up to the designer to make a cover that shows all the amazing worlds in their books.
The problem with this is that it can be hard to choose just one style. There can be a photo, an illustration, or an abstract design on the book covers. They can have anything from funny doodles to clean, modern fonts.
Think about what the graphic style says to a person who buys a book. A picture of New York City shouldn’t be put in a book that doesn’t take place there. Let the Alpha Book Writers professionals do the work for you so your book covers can be perfect with your books.
Ask for feedback.
The more people who look at the book covers, the better you’ll be able to tell if it’s sending the right message to a wide range of people. Start with what you think and then move on to the author’s words. From there, let outsiders look at the cover without knowing anything about it. Ask them what they think the book will be about. If a child is on the cover, they might ask, “Is this book told by a child?” They might say that a design makes them laugh or sad.
Know what the printer wants
The final file for a book project will be one flat file with all the important graphic and text information for the front and back covers, spine, and flaps (if your project has them).
The printer will need this as one wide file they can print, then cut or fold to fit the final book. Most printers like high-quality PDFs, but some also accept ai and eps files. For printing, each color must be CMYK.
If you want special printing, like foil stamping, you’ll probably have to make a second document that shows where you want the foil to go. Some printers will use a specific measurement to carefully control how close your text will be to the edges of the spine.
Printers will want the cover file to be “full bleed,” meaning all images or elements should go past the trim line and leave no white space. Book Writing Services are industry standards (.125 to.25 inches on each side), but it’s best to talk to the printer directly to ensure your file is set up correctly. Even a small mistake in math can make the text roll off the spine and onto the front or back cover.
Every writer’s dream is to see their imagination come to life in the form of beautiful book covers. You should feel ready to start your next book design project now.