Select the Right Artwork for Your Book

Contemporary Graphic Design (Taschen)

Image by thinkdanijel via Flickr

I always loved art; art class was one of my favorite classes. A few years ago, I pursued a graphic design certification and worked as a graphic artist. I loved it and learned a lot about design. The graphic designer in me looks book covers with an ‘eagle’ eye. In fact, the artwork can dissuade me from buying a book if it ‘freaks’ me out. That may seem odd but it’s true. For example, the cover of Tina Fey‘s book Bossypants grosses me out. When I saw it in the bookstore, I had to quickly walk away. That’s how ‘freaked out’ I was by it. I’ll probably read the book but will have to take the cover off first!

Writing your book is half the battle. The next phase is designing the book cover (interior and exterior). If you self-publish, you can work with one of their graphic designer’s or use your own. Choose a graphic designer that listens to you and understands your needs and wants. Make sure you review samples of work and ask questions such as:

1. What was your last project? What did you like about it? What didn’t you like about it?
2. What’s your favorite book project?
3. What’s your least favorite project?
4. What do you enjoy about graphic design?
5. How long will the design take?
6. Do you provide a ‘mock’ up?

You can ‘test’ out your book cover by asking for feedback from your writer’s group, family, friends, co-workers, etc. Make sure you receive ‘genuine’ feedback. You don’t want people to tell you the cover looks good when they secretly think it’s not very good. Ask for constructive and honest feedback.

I appreciate various forms of art from graffiti to paintings; from drawings to pottery; from graphic design to dance; and everything in between.

I’m glad I have a graphic design certification because I could design my own book cover, but I probably won’t. I choose to concentrate on writing. After you finish your book, step back and think about the artwork for your book. Make sure it will appeal to your target audience. It may ‘turn-off’ some of your readers but a hand full won’t make a difference. Or, like me, they can remove the book cover and read your book!


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  1. Good information, Rebecca. Thank you for mentioning my post, Inspiring Book Covers.

    My friend, Phyllis Keels, self-published her book The Lady of Daldriada. That story and a view of her book cover will be on my blog tomorrow. Her cover is intriguing–all black and gray. I think the company she used did a good job on both the inside and outside.

  2. Your welcome! I’ll check out your friend’s book. I do like black and gray art; it has a sophisticated ‘feel’ to it.

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