One challenge that authors face is sorting out their book cover. If you’re not a designer yourself, it can seem a little bit daunting. How exactly are you going to create an eye-catching professional cover that you can be proud of – when even drawing a stickman “poses a challenge”.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you four steps that you can follow so that you can get the book cover that you need – the easy way.

Roughly hand sketch your idea

Create a draft concept of what your book cover needs to look like, so you’ll need your

  • title
  • subtitle text
  • some idea of imagery that you think you’ll want to include

Keep it very simple – the key thing here is to play about with basic concepts to see what works and ignore any concerns you have about the finished final design. When you have a clear winner, make an electronic version using Word or PowerPoint. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to give an indication of what you have in your mind’s eye. This is your draft concept.

Get some feedback on your draft concept

I’d like you to take your draft concept and show it to people for 3 to 5 seconds only. If they can’t understand what your book is about and how they might benefit from reading it just by looking at the cover, then something is wrong. It’s not clear enough. It might be unclear because of the concept itself – the theory behind what you put together and why – is misleading. Otherwise, the concept is clear, but how it’s laid out, how it’s presented is the problem.

Perhaps the

  • title is a little bit too small
  • subtitle doesn’t have enough prominence
  • image you’ve chosen doesn’t create what you think the book is about in the mind of the viewer

Get some feedback on your concept, make some revisions, make some tweaks. Test your concept again, then come up with the finished idea.

Then you need to think about how you’re going to render or present that finished idea.

Create a “mood board” of styles to brief your designer

Step 3 is to use a technique that interior designers use and create something called a “mood board” to represent how you want your concept to be finished. They create a collage of ideas to show their creative vision for the finished interior.

This means you can decide on a colour scheme. You can also get some fonts that you like. You can get some imagery that you like, just like an interior designer will present their clients with furniture or curtains or carpets that their client might want to use. You do exactly the same thing just for a book.

Once that’s done, you can approach your designer. You’ve got the conceptual idea. You’ve had some feedback on it to know that it’s clear and you’ve also got a color scheme and a presentation idea. All you need now is to get the designer to combine those two things together. They’re going to be pleased that you’ve come up with a specific brief. There’s nothing worse than being a designer and somebody just says, “Oh, can you make it look good please? You choose.” There’s a good chance they might not hit the mark and have to do a lot of slow and annoying rework – which is no good for you or the designer!