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Readers do judge a book by its cover

Interested in having your book cover designed?

Believe me when I tell you– as a fellow author, I understand that is not something to be taken lightly, especially after all the time and effort you took to write, rewrite and edit your book! There is so much more to a cover than sticking some words on a snapshot to make a compelling cover. A book cover is basically an advertisement. It should catch someone’s attention, often from a small thumbnail, enough for them to click on it to find out more. The colors, the art and typography, the feel and mood all have to come together in an eye catching design that fit your unique book.

Let me share how I work, what is included in the design, what factors could increase costs during the project, ask some questions and see if we are a good fit.

For the image, I am better at photographing objects, scenes, or animals, rather than people. If you are local in Western North Carolina, I can recommend Paula Roberts for portrait or author photos. You do not have to be local for me to design a cover, or photograph cover images for you, as long as you are proficient in computer use.

At this time I am not offering consulting, interior layouts or other services in addition to cover design. I am not a copy editor and will use only the text copy you provide me with. I do not offer computer help and assume if you’ve written a book and are to the point of looking into having a cover designed, that you are familiar with basic computer tasks like uploading, downloading, sending and receiving attachments and emails. Your files will be emailed or made available for download to you. My services do not include working with third parties or uploading your files to the printer or publisher.

I do not make multiple mock-ups or changes free of charge and my fees apply regardless if you use the cover or images.

A cover designer not only understands graphic design, they know what is needed for book specs for your cover to go from an idea to being in print. Before hiring a cover designer you should take the time to view your competition online and in book stores. Do you want your book to look similar or do you want to stand out? Your front cover should be readable from a distance and as a low-resolution thumbnail.  Whether you choose me or someone else you should be able to provide a brief summary that answers the majority of these questions.  The more you can narrow down what you need, the quicker the design process will go, the less costly revisions will need to be made, and you will likely feel happier with the final results.

If you truly have no idea what would simply convey your book as a cover, I would be happy to come up with concept ideas after you complete the questionnaire and I hear your elevator pitch.  YOU know your book, it would be better if you had an idea of what you are looking for.


To start the process please take a moment to answers these questions, and gather your ideas on a Pinterest board before we talk. A brief is needed so I can see what you are looking for.

General questions for all covers

Contact info:
Book Title (including subtitle if you have one):
Author Name:
Titles of previously published books:

5 W’s—who, what, where, when, why.

What is your budget?
For any budget it’s very important to know what you want to avoid costly changes. Does the price require you use stock images or can you spend more for custom?

What is your “elevator pitch” - with the least amount of words tell me what your book is about?

Have you seen my work and do you like my designs?

Are you open to suggestions or allowing room for creative freedom or are you set on an idea?

Do you have an idea of what you would like, you can show me? Pinterest boards are great for this.
Realistic, formal, casual, artistic, bright, cheerful, dark, mysterious, something from a scene in the book

Is this for use only online or is it for physical print books also?

Do you prefer certain colors (for or against)?

Do you need a certain typeface or font on the cover (keeping with a theme)?

Is this book part of a series that you want to carry a theme or brand across?

Colors, fonts, and logos can be recreated more easily than coming up with a new concept for each book so if you let me know ahead of time if your book will be part of a series it will make the following books after the first one go quicker and thus save time and cost.

What genre is your book?

Who is your reader base? What age and demographic is your book geared toward? Note– “everyone” is not an answer here.

What is the title and author name for this book?

Do you want ‘a novel’ or ‘a thriller’ etc. written on your cover? How about a teaser line?

Do you have sketches or other covers and images you admire?

Remember your image will be viewed as a thumbnail size until someone clicks on it. Again, Pinterest boards are helpful here.

What type (pdf, jpg, tiff) files will you need?

Do you know what size file you need?
What size minimum /maximum (pixels) and file size (kb, mb) do you need?

Depending on the printer being used different file formats are needed. For example Create Space only offers a few templates that let you supply your own fully formatted front cover, or fully formatted front and back cover. For a full flat you’ll need to know your page count and paper color. If you do not have your own account set up with the printer you need to tell the person uploading the cover designs that changes to my work can not be made. I make each of my designs, illustrations and photos to the color destinations, ink limits, size and proportions provided by each printer or from what you’ve told me you need. For print books the platform is typically a pdf, for ebooks and audiobooks jpegs are often required. Just a side note here—it is wise for you to have your own account with companies like CreateSpace, Ingram Spark, or LSI so you are in control of uploading changes to your title and keeping up with your own sales and tax info.


Do you already have an image you want to use, and permission to use it?
Typically an uncluttered image has the most impact.

Does this image need editing? Do you have the rights to edit the image?

If you would like me to photograph the image do you know what you’re looking for?

Print books, back covers and full flats

Are you doing a hardback, paperback, audiobook or ebook?

Do you know the color profile and color destination your printer needs?
For example most printers want total ink limits less than 240% for the best quality and it should be CMYK for print and RGB for screen.

Do you have your ISBN image from the printer, publisher or Bowker?

Do you want a price printed on the back cover?
Tip- check into the pros and cons of choosing to have a price printed and a price in your barcode.

Do you already have blurbs (testimonial praise endorsements) from names recognizable in your field that you can use for the back cover?

For the back cover– what is your headline, description/sales statement, facts, benefits, testimonials, unique author qualifications that set you apart in the field your book is about, and what is your call to action to make people want to buy this book over others?
This should be short enough it’s easily legible. Less is more. This is your chance to grab potential readers' interest to purchase your book. I can’t stress enough, the importance of your choice of words and their legibility.

Do you have an author photo you want on the back cover?

Do you know what size cover including bleed specs you need?
Most printers will give you the dimensions and bleed sizes and some even provide templates of what they require.  Also HB or PB, the total number of pages and paper type changes the spine thickness. See LSI or Create Space spine calculators if you can’t get the exact specs from your printer.

Do you have a subtitle or publisher logo that you want that on the spine?
Books with under 130 pages typically don’t have room for text on the spine. Most printers have minimum space requirements.

What is your finished page count?
Are you using white or cream paper?
This number is for your total page count, not just the numbered pages, as this affects your spine width, formatting and design.

Have you looked up your BISAC categories and do you want that listed on the back cover?
This comes into play if you have an LCCN to help librarians place your book in the correct category. Libraries often have a relatively current version of this or you can go to a bookstore and look at the categories other books in your field have used.


Will you need?

A logo or brand image

A publisher imprint

Social media banners and headers

Bookmarks, business cards, postcards?



You can download the questions here or copy the text above and paste it with your answers in an email.

I uploaded related videos to this YouTube channel—Take a look!

Authors -category search list rank (reg speed)

Authors -category search list rank (slow speed)

Covered -book cover design modified presentation from Blue Ridge Bookfest 2015

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