Designing Book Covers

We can design a book cover that’s right for your book—and for you

One of the pleasures of being a self-publisher is that you have complete control over your book project—and that includes the cover.

No step is more fun or challenging than cover design. Given that it’s one of the first things a prospective buyer will notice about your book, it’s also one of the most important.

Of course, you’re welcome to provide us with a ready-made cover, but if you’d like to use our cover-design services, we’ve encountered just about every scenario you can think of. Whether you wish to use a favorite photo or have only a vague idea of what you want, we can offer a strategy to deliver the right cover for your book.

The book cover-design process

What makes AuthorImprints different is the discussion that takes place before the actual design work starts. These strategy and planning steps help to define goals, better understand your market, and address existing requirements so we can tailor the design to your needs.

This is case study one of five. There are four more at the end of this page. Click the page turn arrow to flip through. You can also enlarge it using the magnifying glass or full-screen button.


The first step in creating your book cover is to define the basic strategy we’ll be using. Every case has its own unique requirements and challenges, but we’ve found that one of these options (or a combination of them) will address the needs of most authors.

1. Use existing artwork

Using a special image is a common request. Whether it’s a personal photograph or a purchased image, it might be the strongest and best way to convey your story.

Use existing artwork to create a book cover design

2. Create a custom-designed cover (single)

If you have no preexisting assets to use in a cover, we can create a bespoke cover, specific to your needs. For this option, we’ll gather as much information as we can and present a minimum of 3 different concepts for you to choose from.

Create a custom-designed book cover for a single book

3. Create a custom-designed cover (series)

The process for series cover design is very similar to a single cover design. However, extra care is taken to ensure the design can be transferred across the set, while also being suitably varied from one book to the next. And for cases where a series grows organically from one book (i.e., a series wasn’t planned from the start), we can go back and revise that first cover to reflect the expansion of the work into a series.

Create a custom-designed book cover for a series

4. Update an existing design

Sometimes a client is looking for a refresh or update on an existing cover. Reasons for this situation are many and varied. For example:

  • an author might be releasing a second edition and wants a new cover to go with the new content
  • the goal might be to boost sales, and a new, on-trend cover will help support that goal
  • rights may have reverted to the author after the cessation of an existing publishing deal (the publisher’s cover can no longer be used, requiring the design of a new one)

In addition to these considerations, some authors want their new cover to be as similar as possible to the old one, while others are looking for something dramatically different.

Update an existing book cover design

Once a suitable strategy is defined, that’s when the planning begins!


At this stage of the process, we develop the cover-design brief. This is done via a series of specific questions, which yields essential information for the cover designer.

To give you a better idea of what to expect, here are the six planning questions we ask every author.

Six core planning questions

1. Have you researched covers within your book’s specific sales categories and genres?
2. If you answered yes to the above, what are your preferences and dislikes with respect to these cover designs?
3. Do you have any artwork or images that can (or should) be used?
4. Do you have any specific requirements or requests (for example, color themes or font styles?)
5. If you have your own publishing imprint (most clients do), do you have a logo, or are we using text?
6. Do you want to include an author photo, and if so, do you have one?

This is not an exhaustive list, and we’ll discuss issues further as they emerge, but these questions usually yield more than enough information to get the ball rolling.

The results

Once the design process begins, communication remains open, and your project manager will invite you to provide feedback at each stage of development. While every cover-creation journey is different, the images below show how a cover progresses from initial concept, through various drafts, to the final result.

Each PDF flipbook below is nine or more pages. Click the page turn arrow to flip through. You can also enlarge it using the magnifying glass or full-screen button.

Beyond the book cover

Once the cover has been designed (both eBook and print), it doesn’t necessarily end there. Your book cover is a valuable marketing asset that helps to reinforce your author brand; it can (and should!) be used in multiple other forms. For example, it can be reformatted into the following assets:

  • audiobook cover
  • social media banners and promotions
  • merchandise (i.e., bookmarks and stickers)

Again, the requirements for each author will vary, and we encourage you to discuss your marketing plan with us so we can maximize the potential of your new book cover.

To see more examples of some of our covers, head over to our Project Gallery, where you can view a representative sampling of the projects we’ve completed in the past 10 years.

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