Book Cover

Step 2

Design an attention-grabbing book cover

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but most people do. After all, that’s the first thing they see. So you need a striking cover that will convince prospective readers to take a closer look. Oh yes—you have just seven seconds to lure them in.

An eye-catching book cover features one central image that’s fresh and original rather than being a cliché. It captures your book’s message and dovetails with the book’s genre, while still managing to stand out.

That’s not the easiest thing. Even the pros get it wrong. I remember the cover Warner Books created for my first book about stalking. The black and red cover with the creepy eyes perfectly conveyed the book’s message. But I hadn’t realized that the publishers had decided to categorize the book as True Crime. Bad idea! Worse, the cover positively blended in with all the other black and red covers in that section of the bookstore.

At Incubation Press, we’ll  make darn sure your cover stands out while authentically both you and your book. The packages below have been designed to accommodate a range of budgets and design needs. Whether you go with us or not, be sure to check out all the design-related information we’ve included further down this page.

Cover Design Packages

If all this seems like more than you want to dive into, Incubation Press has created a series of packages to help. Need some advice but don’t want to pull a package? Opt for our design- and editorial-team author consultation ($350/hour).

All packages include up to two revisions (additional revisions charged at $150/hour). Work will be performed in a timely manner and will begin as soon as payment in full—and where appropriate all material from author—has been received. Up to two revisions of creative work are included in pricing. Additional revisions will be charged at $150/hour.

Ernest Hemingway Plan – simple, direct & unadorned $379

  • E-book cover – two separate cover design approaches; up to three revisions
  • Author provides cover image
  • Cover image is used “as is”
  • Author provides ISBN #s unless purchasing through Incubation Press
  • Author provides endorsements

Author receives:

  • A final, high-resolution front cover e-book file
  • 100% rights and royalties

 John Steinbeck Plan – organic & incisive                              $479

  • Print cover front, back & spine – two separate cover design approaches; three revisions
  • Free e-book cover
  • Author provides cover image
  • Cover image is combined with graphical element to create a more custom cover
  • Author provides author photo
  • Author provides back cover copy
  • Author provides ISBN #s unless purchasing through Incubation Press
  • Author provides endorsements

Author receives:

  • A final, high-resolution front cover E-book file
  • 100% rights and royalties

Stephen King Plan – dynamic & detailed              $679

  • Print cover front, back & spine – two separate cover design approaches; three revisions
  • Free E-book cover
  • Cover photograph, illustration or typography is custom designed to create a unique cover (image purchase price is extra)
  • Author provides author photo
  • Author provides back cover copy
  • Author provides ISBN #s unless purchasing through Incubation Press
  • Author provides endorsements

Author receives:

  • A final, high-resolution front cover E-book file
  • 100% rights and royalties
  • 3-D image of cover to use for promotional purposes

J.K. Rowling Plan going big, bigger, biggest     $879

  • Print cover front, back & spine – two separate cover design approaches; three revisions
  • Free E-book cover
  • Cover photograph, illustration or typography is custom designed to create a unique image (image purchase price is extra)
  • Author provides author photo
  • Back cover copy is included
  • No charge for ISBN #s
  • Author provides endorsements

Author receives:

  • A final, high-resolution front cover E-book file
  • 100% rights and royalties
  • 3-D image of cover to use for promotional purposes

Additional design services (charged at $150/hour):

  • Hardcover design
  • Copy or design changes after proofs have been approved

 

Book Design 101

Imagery

One way to come up with an original concept that reflects your message is through the image you choose for your cover. If money is no object, consider hiring a photographer or an illustrator to create a custom visual for your cover. Otherwise, the most cost-effective way to find cover imagery is going to be at stock photo websites like:

  • com
  • com
  • com

But be careful! Stock images, by definition, are widely available and so can easily become overused (translation: cliché).

For a list of more unique stock photo websites featuring mostly free images check out http://thenuschool.com/free-stock-photos-websites-awesome-list/. Just remember that your cover needs to pop on the shelf as well as a thumbnail (think postage stamp) since many if not most readers will probably first see it online. So choose an image that will work on both a large and tiny scale.

Warning!

Make sure you have the legal right to use any and all images you choose. Especially when using free images, check the copyrights and obtain the correct license(s). Every stock photo website has a section with this information.

Technicalities

 In addition to choosing an image that fits the trim size of your book, you’ll want to find an image with a high enough resolution. Otherwise it will look blurry.

  • For print, look for a minimum resolution of 300 dpi
  • for an e-book you want a minimum of 72 dpi

Front Cover Elements

  • Title
  • Subtitle (for non-fiction)
  • Byline

Back Cover Elements

  • Author bio
  • Book summary
  • Endorsements/reviews
  • Barcode

Spine Elements

  • Title
  • Byline

 Timing

You want to initiate your cover design as soon as you begin to see the end line during the writing process. Not only will that inspire you to keep going, it’s the only way to start pre-selling—or at least getting people talking about—your book.

 

The Next Step…

Of course, you’ll need to send  your prospective book buyers somewhere, so it’s time to jump on Step 3 and create a website for your book.