I'm thrilled to be posting All Write's first guest blog, to start a series of blogs from various experts this year!
First, we're hearing from Haylee Buswell, graphic designer and illustrator at HB Pencil. She will be using her behind-the-scenes experience to tell us how to work with designers to get the best book cover.
Your cover sells your book, despite the age-old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover'. This is exactly what we do when we purchase books; we’re drawn to them like a moth to a flame. You need to make people pick up your book. It needs to elicit intrigue, then your writing will do the rest.
Although it can be a big cost to an indie author, most writers know that professional cover design isn't just a luxury in the publishing world - it's a must. Hiring a graphic designer who understands your audience and genre is a big step towards making sure your book will sell.
So, how do you get the most out of your cover designer?
1. Think like a reader
And NOT like a writer.
Who is your audience? You need to be very clear to your designer who you're targeting, so they can design a cover that will sell to this specific market.
2. Have some ideas
While you may not be the most artistically talented person, have some fun creating some designs based on what you like and what you think you want the cover to include.
While it’s the designer’s job to come in and actually make the cover, it makes their job a lot easier if you give them some direction. Whether that be in the composition, the images on the cover, or even just the colours you like, it’s much easier for designers to draft up ideas if they have something to work with.
3. Consider trends
While you don’t want your book to look like every other book on the market right now, consider what kind of design is selling. What are the books you are drawn to based on cover design alone? Are they simple and minimalistic? Are they bright and colourful? Who is on the cover? These things have an impact on your target audience.
4. Trust your designer
No doubt you have hired your chosen designer for a reason, so trust their designs and their creative process. They’re the ones who understand specific design principles, therefore they understand visually what is most pleasing.
5. Get input from fans
Not just fans, but friends and family.
What do they think are your story’s most defining qualities? What comes to their minds when they think of your characters, worldbuilding, and plot? Their opinion is important, as these people will be the first to pick up your book.