What Ever Author Needs To Know About Book Cover Design

Author Information to Book Cover Design

It’s not just about a pretty cover. Book cover design should be about giving form (picture) to the content inside the book. Also keep in mind that the book cover design should be a communication to your targeted audience.

What should a book cover design communicate?

  • At one glance the viewer should know what the subject matter of the book is without reading the title
  • It should get a response out of the targeted audience
    • To pick up the book
    • To wonder what’s that about
    • Ultimately to purchase and read the book
  • A book cover is also considered as a piece of marketing material – is it eye catching

It is true that most authors almost never contractually have approval over their own covers, though they may have some definite ideas on how they want the cover to appear.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your publisher has been through this process time after time and knows the industry. Trust your publisher.
  • Though the cover may not appeal to your taste – remember the cover is for a targeted audience and should reflect that cover more than your individual taste.
  • Old adage – sometimes more is less and less is more; Trust your publisher to assist in creating that balance.
  • Publishers and authors are on the same team. The same objective is to sell your book. Though it may be a great book the goal is to get the audience to invest in you.

A Practical Exercise for Authors:

Go online or to a book store and browse. Pick out three books in the same section or subject matter that immediately captured your attention as well as three other books that you would never give a second glance.

  • Ask yourself the following questions regarding the book cover:
  • What about the book cover that captured or did not capture your attention? Was it color? the picture? the title?
  • Did the cover immediately communicate to you what the book was about? Or did it make you go further to read the synopsis to understand what the book was all about?
  • What emotional response did you feel in viewing the book cover?
  • Would you or would you not purchase this book in spite of the book cover?

Author’s Book Cover Questionnaire

  1. Who is your targeted audience? _________________________

Example Audiences: Children, Women, Men, Religious, Teenagers, Music Industry, Artists etc.….

1a. Is there a race preference for the cover?

  1. Do you want your photo to be used as the cover? ___________________

Submission of images must be minimum 4” x 6” inches 300dpi resolution.



  1. Using the color wheel below; please indicate the color family you prefer: (Note that these colors may not be the primary background however there will be an attempt to closely work within the desired color scheme requested as well as using complimentary contrast.)

Color Tone/ Family Selection_______________________

  1. What is the overall theme or book cover concept image(s) in 5 words:

Example 1: Children, Fun, Rainbows, Clouds, Playground

Example 2: Photography, Weddings, Events, Bride, Groom

First Word____________________________ Fourth Word __________________________

Second Word _________________________ Fifth Word ____________________________

Third Word ___________________________

  1. What is the primary emotion that you want the book cover to convey? __________________________

  1. What type of images do you prefer? Photographic, Silhouettes or Abstracts

Examples: ________________________________________________

  1. Select Three Fonts from the following pages for the book cover design?

First Font_____________________________

Second Font____________________________

Third Font______________________________