By Scott Lorenz
“A Good Book Cover Can Help Sell a Book- A Bad Cover Can Kill a Book.” Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist
“Your book cover is not a decoration. It’s a smart business investment.” George Foster, Foster Covers
Being a book publicist and book marketing guy I often weigh in on book cover designs. Sometimes it’s in the nick of time sometimes it’s too late to make a change. Here’s the situation, authors, please – do not underestimate the importance of a book cover’s design. Not only do potential book buyers judge a book by its cover but so do members of the media. Many reporters receive dozens of books every day! Do you really think they read the book flap and your pitch? Ha!
Here are some important items to consider when making decisions on book cover design:
Use a subhead to create more description. If you have a 10-word title, you have not properly named the book in the first place.
Check with Google on the words that are most searched on your topic. To do this, type in the word that best describes your book in the search box and then see what the next most important or popular words are in that list. That ranking is very relevant marketing- wise so try to use those words in your title or subtitle. Consider using the genre in the subtitle too because that’s what people are searching on.
Visit book stores look at the covers of all types of books. What catches your eye? Look at the book face and look at the spines. Which ones are readable and why?
Will it play on Amazon? Go to Amazon.com, BN.com, Good Reads, Smashwords and search for competitive books in your space. Notice the book covers that catch your eye and the ones that do not. If your cover does not show up well in an Amazon thumbnail then you are going to lose sales.
Contrast. Don’t let your graphic designer get started without keeping contrast in mind. The reason black ink works so well on white paper is because it produces the best contrast possible. Yellow ink on green paper in a small font simply does not work. How does your book look in black and white? Not every publication will be printing it in color.
Font size. Many designers are young with great eyesight. But your buyer may not be able to read the tiny font some designers insist upon using. Be practical.
The spine. Can you read it from five feet away? If not, neither can browsers in a bookstore.
Blurbs. Keep them relevant and short. Consider including a mention on the cover of a foreword written by a famous person or author. “Foreword by Best Selling Author Judith Grisel” or “Foreword by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos” or “Foreword by Singer Ariana Grande.”
Back inside flaps. Do not overlook creating content on the back inside flaps because consumers pick up a book after looking at the spine, front cover and back and then open the book to find the price or more information.
Use a laser printer. Don’t just review your cover on a computer screen which will make it look considerably better. Print it out actual size and make a determination using that printed version.
Pictures are worth 1000 words. Use photos and illustrations to describe what would take too long to explain. When choosing a book design ask yourself how the cover will look on your website home page. Branding is important so you’ll want to use the same design elements on your website that you do on your book cover
Ask for feedback. Show your cover designs to as many people in your target group of potential readers. Get their reactions and opinions. It costs you nothing and you’ll likely find out something you did not realize before.
Here are 47 book cover designers and services to consider for your next cover:
- 99 Designs, https://99designs.com/: 99designs.com uses graphic designers from around the world who compete for your business by actually designing the book cover on speculation, ie no charge. I commissioned many covers for authors using 99designs after the author was not happy with the creations from his own designer. I mentioned several design elements such as the title, subtitle, what the book was about etc. Figuring more is better, we got 65 different cover designs in 5 days! The most difficult part was narrowing down the selection to 8 then having friends, family, co-workers vote on their favorites from all corners of the world all online. They also added their comments, insight and logic behind liking or disliking a cover design right under the image of that cover. They voted over several days and the comments were able to be read by our team, also scattered all over North America. The cost was under $700 or so and it was only that high because we put a rush on it and paid extra. This was an excellent process that delivered a NY Times bestseller quality cover that I highly recommend.
- Fiverr, http://fiverr.com/: Fiverr gives you many options for just $5. These are fast and obviously cheap but I’ve seen some pretty nice work. Order from 2 or 3 designers at the same time. Hey, it’s only $5 bucks!
- Draw Big Design, http://www.jeniferthomasdesign.com/: Draw Big Design produces smart visuals that stand out from the ordinary.
- Killer Covers, http://killercovers.com/: Killer Covers offers various packages for your book cover needs including web pages, Facebook pages etc. They are based in Australia and I’ve used them and recommended them several times.
- Book Cover Express, http://www.bookcoverexpress.com/: Book Cover Express has a competitive flat rate so you can work with your ideal budget.
- Author Support, http://www.authorsupport.com/: The designers at Author Support are a great resource.
- Book Creatives, http://www.bookcreatives.com/: Book Creatives offers book cover design and ebook design for authors.
- Foster Covers, http://www.fostercovers.com: George Foster of Foster Covers is a book cover designer who has earned more than 300 awards and created covers for 134 bestsellers. His work has appeared on over 1,000 books.
- Karrie Ross Graphics, http://www.bookcoverdesigner.com/: Karrie Ross of Karrie Ross Graphics specializes in book cover design for the self-publishing industry
- Damonza, http://damonza.com/: Damonza has over 30 years combined experience in the design and advertising industry
- Robin Ludwig Design, http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/: Robin Ludwig Design specializes in providing superior book cover design services utilizing professional equipment and software
- Andy Carpenter Design, http://acdbookcoverdesign.com/: Andy Carpenter Design is a boutique design firm for self-publishers and small presses.
- Self-Publishing Lab, http://www.bookcovercafe.com/: Self-Publishing Lab has been voted the best website for authors, so be sure to check it out
- Lulu, http://www.lulu.com/publish/books/: Along with publishing services Lulu provides design quality at a competitive price.
- David Airey, http://www.davidairey.com/designing-book-covers/: David Airey is a creative book cover designer
- Book Cover Genius, http://bookcovergenius.com/bcg-2/: Book Cover Genius offers a great sales pitch about why you should download their software to design your own book cover. Worth a look.
- CreateSpace, https://www.createspace.com/Services/UniqueBookCover.jsp: CreateSpace allows you to work with their professional design team to custom-create an affordable, striking cover that broadcasts your book’s key messages with distinct colors, fonts, and one central image.
- BookBaby, http://www.bookbaby.com/services/coverdesign: BookBaby offers a straightforward approach to finding a budget and designing your book cover.
- Guru, http://www.guru.com/Find-Freelancers/Cover-Book-Designers/004-RQ3JSR: Guru is a great website to utilize to find freelance book cover designers from around the world. Very cool.
- 1106 Design, http://1106design.com/: 1106 Design offers editing, proofreading, cover design, Interior page layout, eBook formatting, Printing and more.
- Infinity Publishing, http://www.infinitypublishing.com/book-cover-designs-gallery/book-cover-designs-gallery.html : With Infinity Publishing you have complete control over the cover design and layout of your book.
- Abacus Graphics, http://www.abacusgraphics.com/: Abacaus Graphics is an intimate award-winning design studio creating exceptional image building graphic designs for print and the web since 1979.
- Albertine Book Design, http://www.dotdesign.net: Albertine Book Design offers complete design and production services for children’s books, tabletop books, cookbooks, textbooks, fiction and non-fiction hard covers and paperbacks.
- Book Covers for All, http://bookcoversforall.com/: Book Covers for All features one designer boasting over 18 years of experience with 1000+ books to his credit.
- Book Cover Express, http://www.bookcoverexpress.com/ Cathi Stevenson of Book Cover Express has 30 years of publishing experience and more than 1500 book covers to her credit.
- Duck of All Trades, http://www.duckofalltrades.com/: Duck of All Trades is a full service design studio offering graphic design, illustration, publication layout and more.
- Dunn+Associates, http://www.dunn-design.com: Dunn + Associates creates the success tools that authors need like best-selling book covers and more.
- Elaine Gignilliat, http://www.romancebookcoverart.com/: Elaine Gignilliat is one of the foremost romance book cover artists. She has painted covers for over 350 romance books representing more than 150 authors
- Extended Imagery, http://extendedimagery.com/predesignedcovers.html: Carl Graves is a professional book cover designer who has a fire sale on book covers with more than 2,000 book covers on hand. These are really amazing must see covers.
- Illumination Graphics, http://www.illuminationgraphics.com/: Illumination Graphics provides affordable and dynamic design for books, both book cover designs and book interior layouts.
- BookWise Design, http://lightbourne.com/: BookWise Design has designed over 1200 book covers and strives to provide the most experienced and helpful book production services.
- ExpertSubjects, http://www.expertsubjects.com/covers: Expert Subjects has several cover artists and you can choose to create a fully customized book cover depending on your budget constraints. They also provide an array of services including typesetting, editing, critique and undertake publishing & distribution too.
- Canva, https://www.canva.com/create/book-covers/: Canva’s book cover maker makes book covers amazingly simple to design – even for non-designers. I’ve used them for memes too.
- The Cover Collection, http://www.thecovercollection.com/: Here’s a way to get a high quality book cover for a great price using premade book cover designs. Authors receive multiple drafts to choose from and a choice of font options. I’ve checked out their covers and they are top notch.
- TS95 Studios, https://www.ts95studios.com/subpages/MyServices.html: Hampton Lamoureux of TS95 Studios is a Daily Deviation award-winning artist on DeviantArt.com. He designs e-book and full-jacket covers, crafting elaborate realistic scenes from stock photos for fantasy, horror, mystery, and sci-fi novels.
- JD Smith Design, http://www.jdsmith-design.com/: JD Smith is an award-winning book cover designer who has worked in the graphic design industry since she was 17. She designs book publishers for traditional publishers and independent authors.
- Jessica Bell Design, https://www.jessicabelldesign.com/: Jessica Bell is dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind book cover designs that fit any author’s budget. She began designing covers as favors for her author friends and has turned her hobby into a successful business.
- Mars Dorian, http://www.marsdorian.com/: Mars Dorian is a digital illustrator and storyteller who specializes in creating e-book covers that stand out for affordable prices.
- Alexandra Brandt, http://www.alexandrajbrandt.com/: Alexandra Brandt’s print and e-book covers focus on sci-fi and fantasy works.
- Kingwood Creations, https://www.kingwoodcreations.com/: Find stunning premade book covers at Kingwood Creations. You can select your favorite design from over 100 premade covers.
- MiblArt, https://miblart.com/: MiblArt is a design company that specializes in book covers. If you choose them for your book cover design, you can expect the first concept to be delivered in 3 days and an unlimited number of revisions.
- Jeff Brown Graphics, http://jeffbrowngraphics.com/: Beautiful sci-fi and fantasy book cover designs can be found at Jeff Brown Graphics. Jeff has collaborated with over 90 authors on more than 250 covers.
- Historical Fiction Book Covers, http://www.historicalfictionbookcovers.com: For a historical fiction book cover design, consider Historical Fiction Book Covers by Jenny Quinlan.
- Dissect Design, https://www.dissectdesigns.com/: Dissect Design was created for indie book authors who are in search stunning book covers that don’t break the bank. https://www.dissectdesigns.com/
- Laura Duffy Design, https://www.lauraduffydesign.com/: Laura Duffy of Laura Duffy Design is a former art director who takes great pride in creating professional book designs.
- The Frontispiece, http://www.thefrontispiece.com/: Known as an award-winning design studio, The Frontispiece offers book design services. They believe that great books deserve thoughtful consideration, inside and out.
- More Visual, https://thebookcoverdesigners.com/: Dave Kessler of More Visual is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and specializes in unique and professional book design services.
You can and should spend a few hours going through all of these websites. You’ll be glad you did. I know I was enlightened myself in creating this list of book cover designers.
The Bottom Line: Get involved early in the entire book publishing design process and get at least several creative concepts for the front cover, back cover, and spine. Don’t let it be the ‘last thing’ you do.
Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and book marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book.
He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.
Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist