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In one word YES! How many times have you picked up a book, looked at the cover and decided you wouldn’t read the book? Just because you love what your son, daughter, friend has created for a cover image doesn’t always mean that your readers will embrace it.

We have great designers in our office working with authors to create the best possible cover. Here are some of the things they may ask you (or your own designer may ask) when designing your cover and back cover:

  • Does the title of your book coordinate well with the image on the cover and the book content itself? If the image you use is an apple, the title of your book is Oranges, Grapes and My Dog and the book is about giraffes what kind of message is this sending to your audience? Not only are they confused but it may prevent them from even picking up the book to read it.
  • Do you have permission to use the image you want on the cover? If you copied the image from the Internet or took a painting you purchased for the cover, you may need permission from the artist to use the image unless it is in the public domain. Also the image will need to be high enough resolution for print.
  • What do you want on the back cover? Typically a back cover can have:
    • Synopsis – Be brief but get your ideas across so your readers can determine if this book is of interest to them.
    • Endorsements – Consider contacting experts, colleagues or even well-known authors for endorsements. Contact them well in advance and provide at least a word document so they can read your book and provide a testimonial for your book.
    • Bio – This should be written in the third person and be fairly brief. If you have written other books include those as well. Don’t put in when and where you were born unless it is pertinent to your story.
    • Author picture – Get a professional picture taken for the author picture. Not everyone wants their picture included on their book. That is a personal preference.
    • ISBN (Bar Code) – You will want an ISBN and Bar Code on the back cover if you plan on selling your book. This is free for our coop members or you can get one through your designer or from Bowker.com if you are publishing on our own for $150.
    • Book price – While the book price is usually part of the bar code, it is still a good idea to include the price either above or below the bar code.
    • Web address – If you don’t have a website, at least secure the domain name so you can include this on the cover as it is being designed. The website should be finished before your book is in print. It is not necessary to include an email address as that will be on your website.
  • Do you need a professional designer to create the cover?

The easy answer is no, you (or your friend/relative) can always do it. The more important question is: do you (or they) have the expertise to design a cover that will POP and give you not just an okay cover but a GREAT cover (also known as MORE sales)? Our designers have years of experience designing book covers specifically and they know both what sells books and how to set the files up right to avoid problems at the printer.

  • Where should you start in coming up with cover ideas? 
    • Go into your local bookstore or go to the Internet and find book covers you like (and don’t like.)
    • Determine what works and what doesn’t and be sure to convey your likes and dislikes to your designer.

A bad cover design can hinder the sale of your book and stop the media from publicizing it. Don’t let that happen to you. Work with a designer, get feedback from others, and get the best possible cover you can. Then the feedback on your book will be about the writing and content not because of a bad design.

If you need design services or have additional questions about the design process, please contact David Allen at design@custommuseumpublishing.com.