The long road to a good book cover

The cover of the book is maybe one of the most important things involved with publishing. Because, surprise surprise, everyone is gonna judge it based off of just that. You know what you see on Amazon when you’re scrolling through books? Covers. You know what the first thing is you see when you’re walking by the shelf? Probably the cover. Even if it is, for some reason laying with the back facing the audience, most folks will pick it up, flip it over, and look at the cover. So please, when I tell you this thing, get it done professionally. Don’t open up Publisher, play around for a couple hours and fill in images on Paint with black so they overlay makes it look like a 12-year old’s fan fiction book cover. Much like these ones below. This is not my best work, but I’m not a graphic designer so it doesn’t really matter. #noregrets

Don’t pop open Picmonkey (actually an awesome site for photo editing, check it out) and screw around with stock photos for a while. We’ve -hopefully- all seen where that gets you. Your book cover, the deciding factor for most fools on whether or not they pick up your lovely manuscript, will look like utter crap. And that’s to be expected, unless of course you are a professional graphic designer and you’re just having a bad day or something.

This is one of the few things I actually do think you should pay for. As far as bookmarks, maybe even media design, if you’re pinching pennies you might be able to bypass it or find it pretty cheap. But the cover is literally paramount, maybe even more important than how well the manuscript was edited. For covers are precisely like first impressions, if you go to a job interview and your outfit and hair look like a poorly executed Photoshop project, you’re not gonna get the job.

It really is as simple as that. Don’t make a bad first impression. Don’t put together your own cover based on your maybe skewed vision of your own story with your poor Publisher/Photoshop skills.

As another note, when using a graphic designer be sure to give them the proper templates for what website you’re going to use. Make sure they’re giving you the whole shebang. You want the spine, back cover, and front to look uniform and that is their job. Ask them to put whatever you order from them in 300 dpi or above and make sure they transferred it to CMYK format, or else your colors won’t print right and your stuff will come out grainy and looking cheap.

When designing your cover, have fun with it! It’s your book that you’ve worked on forever and it should be a lot of fun to think through cover possibilities. Sift through the symbolism loaded down in your book, the major themes you want to portray, all of it. Designing is the fun part, that’s for sure.


Happy Reading and Writing!


Sofia B Ashford


If you wanna read more of my ingenious works you might glance at the rest of the blogs or our Facebook. Or you might take a gander at my new title “The Belle of Eden” that you can buy here.

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