BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

How to Design Award Winning Book Covers

You can design award winning book covers by using appropriate colors, imagery, symbolism, style and typography. Here’s how our team produced 7 award winning book covers at the CIPA EVVY Awards banquet.

The Front Cover

The front cover of your book should capture the essence of what’s inside. Smart self-publishers include an endorsement or short testimonial from a VIP on the front cover.

Quality book cover design attracts potential readers faster than any other element, regardless of who you are or what you’ve written about. Large publishing houses and established authors all know a creative cover beckons to their devoted fans while also attracting new readers. Self-published authors have learned, sometimes painfully, that an amatuerish jacket often signals unimportant work inside — and never even gets picked up.

Be a savvy self-publisher. Make sure your cover design showcases your work.

The Spine

Your name, book title, and publishing company logo are displayed on the spine. Make sure the information on the spine is clean, uncluttered, and legible. I recommend using bold, rotated, contrasting lettering.

The Back Cover

Place the category name in the upper left-hand corner to help bookstores shelve your book properly. Write a snappy headline that clearly addresses who and why they should buy your book. It should be followed by sales copy explaining what the book is about and bulleted items listing the benefits to readers.

I recommend including no more than three testimonials and endorsements, as well as short author biography and photograph. Close to the bottom, put “sales-closer” copy in bold print. Position the price in the lower left corner of the back cover. Insert the ISBN number and bar code in the lower right corner.

Don’t forget to include credits for your book cover’s illustrator, photographer, and/or designer.

Paper Stock for Book Covers

A typical perfect bound book (soft cover) is printed on 10 pt C1S (coated one side). Curl-free film laminate that comes in gloss or matte finish will protect the ink on the cover. UV (ultra violet), aqueous, and varnish can also be used to protect the cover but are not as durable as lamination. Dust jackets are usually printed on an 80# or 100# C1S stock. In a casebound book (hard cover), the boards can be covered with a B grade cloth, leather, or paper and foil stamped. Laminated hard cover books (where the printed cover is glued to the boards) usually have an 80# C1S Litho paper laminated to a .88 pt. board.

Remember, book design cover is a form of packaging—and good packaging attracts buyers to products. That’s why successful organizations spend millions researching and developing the best product packaging possible.

Next month I’ll share my insights on how to design professional book interiors.

Now . . . I’m excited to share with you our book design team has hauled in more book awards!

Our Team Produces a Lucky 7 CIPA EVVY Award Winning Books for Our Clients!

Design an Award Winning Book cover : our team and clients
Happy faces from left to right are editor Joyce Miller, editor Melanie Mulhall, author Eric Jensen, myself, graphic designer Kerrie Lian and publisher Mary Anne Harvey.

The Karen Saunders & Associates book design team produced 7 EVVY awards and one Tech award at the 15th annual Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) EVVY Book Awards Banquet held Saturday March 28th. The star of the night was my good friend and gifted graphic designer Kerrie Lian. She won a 2nd place Tech award for her compelling book cover design for Tears of a Warrior written by my clients Tony and Janet Seahorn. She also designed the interior of the book. Shown below are myself and Kerrie.

Kerrie Lian knows how to design award winning book covers!

Kerrie Lian knows how to design award winning book covers
Tears of a Warrior also won a 1st place EVVY Award (overall book design, writing, editing and production) in the Non-Fiction/Experiences category. Tony and Janet had a previously scheduled engagement and were not able to attend the event but they were both very honored to receive the award. My friend and colleague, Karen Reddick did a fantastic job editing the book and Mary Walewski is helping the Seahorn’s market their book.

Kerrie Lian knows how to design award winning book covers
My client Eric Jensen took home two EVVY awards for his book, Forever and a Day. He won 1st place in the History category and 2nd place in Memoirs. Kerrie’s fabulous cover and interior design was very much a part of those wins. Joyce Miller did a great job editing the book.

Kerrie Lian knows how to design award winning book covers
Shown above are myself, Eric and Kerrie. Shown below is Eric’s book cover.

Kerrie also designed the cover and interior of But I Don’t Want Eldercare! written by Terry Lynch and published by my client The Legal Center. Mary Anne Harvey of The Legal Center graciously accepted two EVVYs for the book: 2nd place in the Diet/Health/Fitness category and 3rd place in the Parenting/Family category.

Kerrie Lian knows how to design award winning book covers
Shown above are myself, Mary Anne and Kerrie. Shown below is Terry’s cover.

My client Jim Keelan won a 3rd place EVVY for his book, How to Maintain Your Sanity in an Upside-Down World. My good friend and colleague Melanie Mulhall did an excellent job editing his book and accepted the award on behalf of Jim who wasn’t able to attend the banquet. Kerrie Lian had a hand in this book too. She designed the cover using Fred Eyer’s clever and whimsical illustration. Ronnie Moore designed the book interior. Shown below is Jim’s book cover.

My client Dom Testa won his third EVVY. He took home a 1st place in the Juvenile category for Galahad III: The Cassini Code. This is the third book in his Galahad series to win an EVVY. It was a pleasure to design all three of his covers using David Hardy’s fabulous paintings. Dom mentioned that his Galahad series may be optioned for a movie pilot. How very exciting!

I thoroughly enjoyed working with such a talented group of professionals this year, and I’m excited to create much more collaboration in 2009. Way to go team! Congratulations to all of you.