How To Nail The Right Cover Design For Your Nonfiction Book

#bookcover book coaching Nov 21, 2023
How To Nail The Right Cover Design For Your Nonfiction Book

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but a compelling book cover is your most potent marketing tool. Your book cover is the first feature potential readers see, and it can make the difference between someone picking up your book or scrolling past it. 

Book cover design costs can vary widely, from a few hundred dollars well over a thousand. Your budget should align with your expectations and the experience level of the designer. Remember that your book cover is an investment in your book's success, so prioritise quality.


The Importance of a Great Book Cover

Your book cover is a visual representation of your work. If your cover looks amateur, readers won't pick up your book. Think about the covers you see on Amazon. You can spot the difference between a professional cover and a poorly design one. There are several elements your cover design should envisage 

1. Attract Attention

It goes without saying, but a visually striking cover is the first step in grabbing a potential reader's attention. Your cover doesn't necessarily need to stand out; It just needs to fit in within a crowded marketplace. This is why hiring a cover designer with experience in your genre is important.

2. Convey Genre and Content

Your cover should give potential readers an immediate sense of your book's genre and subject matter. It helps them understand what to expect.

3. Evoke Emotion

A well-designed cover can elicit emotions that resonate with your target audience. It sets the tone for the reading experience.

4. Establish Branding

If you have a branding image you want to convey, your book cover should suit the colours, styles and tempo of your personality and brand colours.


Finding the Right Cover Designer

Designing a book cover is a specialised skill, and it's crucial to find the right designer for your project. The good news is there's a budget for everyone when finding your designer. The freelancing space is only growing, and you can get quality designers that fit within your price range. 

1. Research

Start by researching cover designers. Look at the covers of books in your genre that you admire, and check for designer credits. You can also browse freelance platforms like Fiverr, 99designs or Reedsy.

2. Portfolio Review

Examine the portfolios of your potential designers. Look for a style that resonates with your book's theme and audience. Pay attention to different designs in your genre and start building a list of cover designers. 

3. Check References

Reach out to your list and make sure you ask for references and testimonials from previous clients. They usually show this on their page, but you want to make sure you can trust the designer you're investing in.

4. Communication

Discuss your project, your vision for the cover, and your budget. Ensure you have good chemistry and clear communication.


Collaborating with Your Designer

Once you've chosen a designer, it's time to give them your brief. Effective collaboration is key to achieving a cover that aligns with your vision. Here's how to make the most of this partnership:

1. Provide a Detailed Brief

Clearly articulate your book's genre, themes, and the emotions you want the cover to convey. Share any specific ideas you have for the design. The more information you provide, the better the designer can understand your vision. Your designer will usually have all this information for you to fill out so you shouldn't forget anything. 

2. Trust Their Expertise

Remember that you're working with a professional designer. They have a deep understanding of design principles and what works visually. Be open to their suggestions and ideas.

3. Set Clear Deadlines

Establish a timeline for the project that aligns with your publishing schedule. Make sure you're giving yourself time for revisions and iterations. My book Publish To Impact took the designer under two weeks to get concepts back to me, then one more week to finalise the front cover. It was then another week for the back cover and spine. The process then speeds up as they're small changes that are easy to make after a concept is chosen. Your cover design can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. To save time, I will always work with a cover designer when my book is being edited. 

4. Request Mockups

Ask your designer to create a few initial cover mockups. This will give you a visual sense of their direction. Provide feedback on what you like and dislike about each design. Here are a few early mockups for Publish To Impact.


5. Iteration and Feedback

Expect multiple rounds of revisions. Provide clear, constructive feedback after each iteration. Be specific about changes you'd like to see, but also be open to the designer's input.

6. Finalise and Deliver The Cover

When working with your designer, there will be two different covers. You will receive an eBook JPG image and a PDF print image. You won't be able to finalise the print image until you have formatted your book and given the designer your final word count. To save time, you can always approve the eBook cover and start to build hype with your audience. Once the print cover is finalised, you can get your designer to send all high-resolution files so it's ready for uploading. 


Go Get Your Cover Designed

Designing your book cover is a fun, collaborative process and gets you excited to know your book has almost come to life. Finding the right designer, articulating your vision, and working together to create a cover that captures your book's essence is a critical step on your publishing journey. Remember that your cover is your book's first impression, so invest the time and effort to make it a compelling one.

PS. My cover design recommendations are Reedsy (for vetted and experienced cover designers), Fiverr (for inexpensive, experienced designers) and Upwork (for experienced cover designers).


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