Judging Covers: Design a Book Cover

How to Design a Cover for a Self-Published Book

By Deborah S. Nelson

How to design a book cover

Design a Compelling Book Cover for your Self-Published Book

When publishing a book yourself, one of the most important aspects is how to design a book cover. Since the majority of  books are sold online, the book cover is a small icon, and you will only have a few seconds to entice readers to buy your books. To help you design a book cover which looks professional and compelling, be sure to include the following components:

  1. Front Cover: Compelling graphic (300 dpi) which represents the message of your book, book title, book subtitle, author name
  2. Spine: Book title, author name, publishing company. This must match exactly the information in your title that is associated with your book’s assigned ISBN number
  3. Back Cover: Author professional head shot, author bio, persuasively intriguing book synopsis, ISBN number

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Hire a Book Cover Designer

The best way how to design a book cover is to hire a professional designer, but be careful. This could run over $1,000 if you are not informed and ready. The following is a list of tips how to hire and manage a book cover designer:

Step 1: How to Make a Book CoverGet a Quote First: Hire a book cover designer with book cover experience and samples. Ask for written quotes for your book cover. Apply for print on demand account for access to printing specifications of the book cover. Provide this info to potential cover designers. For a print on demand account, sign up for a free CreateSpace account, it is free to apply.

Self-publish a book yourself Step 2Let me save you one nightmare: Do not agree to pay by the hour. Ask for a written estimate for the cost of the book cover and ask how many rounds of corrections this will include. Provide the exact specifications of your book cover, according to your print on demand company.

STEP 3: Making a Book CoverState a deadline:  Your book cover design could take a long time. Freelance graphic artists have other work to do for other clients, and yours will go to the bottom of the list without a clear and reasonable deadline for completion. .


How to Make a Book Cover-Step 3- Self-publishing a bookProvide the following: Author headshot, front cover graphic, ISBN number, synopsis, author bio for the back cover, the exact title and subtitle of your book; and cover template from your print on demand account. They will be clear of the EXACT printing specifications required. When time to print, the files will be accepted for printing, not rejected.

Making a Book Cover--Self-publishing a Book Step 5Images for the cover: Provide all images at least 300 DPI (300 dots per inch). Because of potential copyright infringement, buy the images or use your own images for which you own the copyrights. Be sure all images are graphically appealing and simple. Include only the headshot of the author, no complex background.

Making a Book Cover--Step 6 Self-Publishing a BookStart a DropBox Account: Organize all your book files in a file folder. When you need to transfer something to the designer, send them the link to avoid lengthy uploading process or difficulties with emailing large files. Going back and forth with trying to open files is quite time-consuming and will significantly slow the process down.

Making a Book Cover-Ste[ 7 Self-Publishing a BookPre-Design: Use the CreateSpace Cover Creator to establish an idea of what you want before you send the design concept to a book cover designer. This will save time and frustration. Communicate clearly with the designer by letting them know right up front the exact specifications for the book cover. Refer to our Createspace Cover Template if needed.

Low Cost DIY Covers or Free CreateSpace Cover Template

If you want to do it yourself, use the free CreateSpace Cover  Creator software or your own design software. Createspace offers a Cover Designer for free if you have a Createspace print on demand account.  Click on this link to watch the CreateSpace Cover Tutorial Video. If you want to know how to design a book cover yourself, you will need to use a good graphic design software. You can download a free trial of Adobe In Design and use it for 30 days. When you are complete with your book cover design, export it to a print ready PDF and upload to your print on demand account.

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About Deborah S. Nelson

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