5 Great Book Binding Services

From The Book Designer:

When it comes time to put your book into the world, looking into the top book binding services is key for self-publishing authors. The privilege of self-publishing means you have full creative control over what you publish, how you publish it, and when. 

However, how you decide to bind your book will play a large role in how readers view your finished product. A well-designed book that looks professional, is easy to use, and is also aesthetically pleasing will help you succeed. 

A book that lacks aesthetic appeal and is not bound in a way that reinforces your author brand will do you as well as your readers a disservice. In this article, we discuss five book binding services you can consider choosing. 

  • Types Of Book Binding
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Printivity
  • BookBaby
  • 48 Hour Books
  • Printing Center USA

Types Of Book Binding

Before diving into the specifics, it’s important to briefly cover some various types of book binding so you know your options. 

Saddle Stitching: In this type of binding, signatures or sheaves of folded paper are taken and fastened together in the centerfold using a number of staples. When you think of this type of binding, you can include catalogs, handouts with multiple sheets of paper, booklets, etc. 

Perfect Binding: This is widely used for softcover books, large catalogs, and even magazines. Perfect binding uses adhesive to bind pages together and creates a clean, firm look.

Spiral Bound: Remember your wide-ruled school notebooks? These are a classic example of spiral binding. This type of binding allows users to lay the book flat, bend the cover back against the back cover, and easily underline, highlight, or take notes. 

Case Binding: Most people refer to this as “hard cover.” This form of binding is the highest form, durable, and usually takes up more physical space. Because of the care put into the form, the longevity of the book, and the space it demands, these bindings are often regarded as more quality. 

Book Binding Services

Let’s take a look at five different options for book binding services for you to use.

#1 – Barnes & Noble

The Barnes & Noble Press helps you create quality books, both hardcover and paperback, for a variety of readers:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Fans
  • Prospective readers
  • Reviewers 
  • Yourself 

Minus a few exceptions, you can rely on them to deliver your order to your doorstep within roughly ten days. 

The Barnes & Noble Press makes it their priority to use premium paper stock and offer print in full color or black and white. Users can choose hardcover format, hardcover with dust jacket, hardcover with printed case, or a variety of paperbacks. 

To use this binding service takes just three steps: Choose your format, prepare and upload your files, print and ship.

#2 – Printivity

Printivity says, “Perfect-bound booklets: A premium, professional reading experience. You don’t have to be a famous author for your work to feel like a masterpiece.” Sound like a great option? You’d be right. 

They use their expertise to give you guidance on how to elevate your product through the visuals you use. In fact, they review your uploaded files and create a digital proof before going to print. 

Template downloads include:

  • 8.5″x11″ Templates
  • 5.5″x8.5″ Templates
  • 10″x8″ Landscape Templates
  • 5″x7″ Templates
  • 6.625″x10.25″ Templates
  • 6″x9″ Templates
  • 8″x10″ Templates
  • 8″x8″ Templates
  • 9″x12″ Templates
  • 11″x8.5″ Landscape Templates
  • 8.5″x5.5″ Landscape Templates
  • 7″x5″ Landscape Templates
  • 9″x6″ Landscape Templates
  • 12″x9″ Landscape Templates

If they think another option will work better than your current one, they will explain their thought-process to you, all without delaying your delivery deadline. If this isn’t enough, they even promise that if your final product doesn’t meet your expectations they will reprint it at no charge or refund you in full. 

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Murphy’s Law—The Unboxed Writer’s Version

From Writer Unboxed:

The following is a writerly public service announcement.

Or maybe it’s more like a report from the publishing trenches. No need to panic; there’s nothing here that amounts to an emergency, in the greater scheme. But my recent experience with my debut has taught me that Murphy’s Law holds sway over publishing. In case it’s somehow slipped your mind, Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And in the complex process of publishing a book, there are a great many things that can go wrong. Any one of those things can either trigger other issues, or adversely affect other steps to the process. Or both.

Allow me to provide a few examples—you know, in the interest of writerly public service.

Cover Story

Several of you have inquired about my cover, and the process of creating it. I really wanted a cover I could be proud of—one that would reflect the perseverance and the toil that went into bringing this story to the page. Which made me willing to invest in creating something special.

The story of my cover actually began in March of 2021. In spite of finding appeal in the graphic covers that are popular these days, I knew I wanted a painted look. So I started by scoping out painted epic fantasy covers  that I love and the artists that created them. A handful of artists kept coming up, and from those I picked a favorite. I reached out to my choice, whom I won’t name to protect their privacy, and they agreed to paint my cover. After several months, due to health reasons this artist asked for an extension, and I pushed the release date I’d had in mind (for the fall of ’21). Late in the fall, due to their workload with Big Five publishers and lingering health issues, the artist conveyed that something had to give. Of course I immediately released them from our contract, and the artist aided me in my search for a replacement.

Which brings us to March of this year, and my chosen replacement. I had already noted John Anthony Di Giovanni’s work, particularly the pieces he created for Joe Abercrombie’s Age of Madness trilogy. I love the series and thought that John’s work perfectly captured the atmosphere of the story and it’s world. John happened to be on my first artist’s short list for their replacement. In my initial contact with John, he very kindly conveyed his regrets; he was just too busy to fit my cover in to his tight schedule, but he would be happy to add me to his 2023 schedule.

Folks, I had already waited a year and missed my initial timeline for release. Add to that my growing feeling that providence had brought John and I together. I was smitten by his work. I could perfectly imagine him capturing my story-world and characters. It made me stubborn. I persisted and convinced John to squeeze me in (demonstrating my complicity in what followed). Together we agreed on a slot for the painting of my cover that fit both of our calendars. John read the manuscript right away, came up with a series of sketches, from which we chose the scene we both felt best captured the atmosphere and even conveyed a sense of the story’s themes and symbolism. By the start of summer things were clicking along like clockwork.

Until they weren’t. Due to a series of unforeseen setbacks, none of which was anyone’s fault, August came and went. John was making solid progress, but nowhere near done. I pushed my release day twice, but stubbornly dug my heels in to keep it in October. Since I didn’t want to have my book land during Halloween hoopla, I stuck with the 18th (another example of my complicity).

The (very) good news is, the cover is gorgeous! Definitely worth the wait. I couldn’t be happier with it. The less desirable side-effect was that the cover painting’s delayed arrival left us with a mere few weeks to get about a hundred publishing ducks into a row. Two of those ducks happened to be massive and less than cooperative birds (water “foul”?). Which brings me to my next example of Mr. Murphy’s implacable principle.

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed

PG was immediately reminded of an aphorism:

The perfect is the enemy of the good.

The purpose of a cover is to attract a prospective reader’s eye and cause a potential purchaser to either click on the cover image or, in a physical bookstore, if the book isn’t shelved so the cover can’t be seen, the cover does nothing.

If the cover can be seen in a bookstore or if something, likely the author’s name or book’s title on the spine, causes a prospective purchaser to pull the book out to examine, PG supposes that a really terrible cover could cause a prospect to reshelve it, but, at that point, the prospective purchaser is likely to at least open the book and examine the interior or check the blurbs on the back.

PG doesn’t know the author of the OP, but expects he is a very nice man (he did self-publish the book in question), but gently suggests that he may be overthinking the importance of the absolutely perfect cover that exists in his mind that transfers to the perfect cover artist is vital to the success or failure of his book.

Further along in the OP, the author describes using Ingram Spark for all his trade paper books because they’re known for their wonderful cover printing and non-Amazon online and offline bookstores get along fine with Ingram. Ingram assured him that they got along just fine with Amazon. Unfortunately there were problems getting his Ingram paperbacks on Amazon because Ingram and Amazon don’t actually like each other.

PG is not in a position to determine which of the two companies, or maybe both, is right/wrong, jerk/non-jerk, etc., but points out that a book with a perfectly printed cover on Amazon will certainly look different on everybody’s computer/tablet/smartphone screen than the one the artist created or that Ingram printed.

PG thinks it’s a worthy goal to want to delight a hard copy reader with a beautiful cover for a book the reader purchased online, but will a perfectly-designed and perfectly-printed cover make a reader like the book more than a good cover? If yes, how many readers like that are there in the book-buying public? They bought the book online while examining the online version of the cover on their iPhone for how long?

PG has ridden his hobby horse for so long, he’s saddle-sore, so he will stop. He’s happy to put this author’s cover up for all the visitors to TPV to enjoy and is likely to read the ebook version himself.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, PG urges you to not judge a book by it’s cover and read some of the sample pages of Mr. Roycroft’s book.

Ooops!

PG just did some looking and discovered this is Mr. Roycroft’s only book listed for sale on Amazon.

If this is his first book, PG apologizes for being so hard on a first-time author. As he wrote previously, PG is likely to read the ebook version and will mention that it’s available through Kindle Unlimited if visitors to TPV wish to give it a try.

Note to visitors: PG is still recovering from his intimate encounter with an escalator a few days ago. He has a row of 2 inch long gouges across the top of his head and may not be in his right mind.

Note to Mr. Roycroft: I just looked at your sample chapters and downloaded your ebook. I expect to enjoy it.

The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Book Cover Design and How to Avoid Them

From Written Word Media:

In this post, we’ll outline the five most common mistakes in book cover design and how to avoid them. These tips can help you whether you are creating you own cover with a program like Canva, or working with a designer. When you work with a cover designer, keep these tips in mind and make sure you give them creative direction that won’t force them to make the mistakes below.

1. Too many elements on the cover

This is an all too common mistake, particularly with inexperienced designers. It’s common to feel the need to fit multiple elements of your plot on the cover to give it a more descriptive feel. It’s also common to see covers with all main characters depicted to give readers a better idea of what they look like.

Here are the big problems with overloading a cover with story elements:

  • It’s confusing, the reader isn’t going to know which element is most important.
  • Book covers are shown as rows of tiny thumbnail images on most retail sites like Amazon. There simply isn’t enough space on that tiny thumbnail to communicate much.
  • As a rule of thumb, one beautiful element that tells part of the story is almost always better than lots of small elements.

The desire to have a cover describe a book comes from a good place of care for the reader. But, unfortunately, such book covers will likely only be appreciated by readers after they have read the work. Without context, a mish-mash of elements can seem overwhelming and can turn a reader off.

Take a look at the example cover below. The style is in the Cozy Mystery vein, but it has tried to put every aspect of the plot on the cover. Yes, it’s interesting to imagine how the author will weave all of these objects together, but that requires a lot of thought.

A reader is making split second decisions about which book to buy. At first thought, this cover is confusing and overwhelming. A well-designed cover will draw a reader’s interest right away, not after studying it like a famous painting.

This cover also doesn’t utilize blank space, which is an extremely powerful design concept. Inexperienced designers will often shy away from leaving any space unused on a cover. But, in reality, having well placed blank space draws attention even more to key elements. If you notice your cover designer has left blank space on your cover, resist the urge to tell them to fill the space with stuff.

A great example of picking few elements and using blank space is Joanne Fluke’s cover for “Banana Cream Pie Murder.”

This cover leaves some room to breath in the middle, which draws the eye to the few main visual elements. It is easy for a reader to see and understand everything on this cover with a quick glance.

Many book cover designers will ask you to fill out a form with information about what you the author want on the cover, make sure to give them the feedback that you don’t want too many elements.

Link to the rest at Written Word Media

10 essential book cover tips for indie authors

From Old Mate Media:

Every book needs a cover and in a world where a million books are created every day, your book cover needs to be outstanding.

Bleed, margins, spines, embedding fonts, source files, layers, swatches and CMYK vs RGB are just some of the design terms we throw around every day here at Old Mate Media. If those words strike you down in an anxious whirlwind of confusion it’s time to calm your heart. You are not alone. Most authors don’t understand all the particulars and intricacies of book design.

It’s awfully important to get all these elements and many more right and your cover is one of the best places to invest your funds in a professional. But here is the kicker. Artists aren’t designers either. They don’t make books and go through the process of converting them into ePubs, Kindles, hardcovers, paperbacks, apps and more.

At Old Mate Media, we create the art, do the book designs and upload the various formats to their storefronts, so we’re across the whole spectrum. But we also complete plenty of books for authors who have had their cover design done elsewhere and it’s astounding how often the file they receive isn’t print ready. We’ve written this article because of the dizzying percentage of authors using our design service that send us cover art that hasn’t been prepared properly.

So how do you make sure your artist delivers you a book cover file that is everything it needs to be? We’ve created this step by step book cover guide to help you ensure your cover artist doesn’t leave you short changed. Whether you end up using our services or not, we believe in empowering indie authors with the knowledge to grow.

Book Cover Tips #1 – What is your book’s trim size?

It’s fair to assume most authors will be aiming to release their book in print. So how big is your book going to be? It is the first thing an artist needs to know to prepare your cover for you and if you change your mind, or are not sure, before you commission the cover, then it will need to be reworked. You can rarely just expand or shrink the image to the new size. Words will be cut-off, characters won’t be centred or your printer will blacklist the cover outright for having elements outside the printable margins.

Also remember that the bigger your book, the more – in general – it will cost to make and post, so don’t go overboard without good reason. For more, visit our list of the most common trim sizes in inches, centimetres and pixels. Just remember that a book cover must include a front, a spine and a back when submitted to a printer.

If we receive just a front cover image, then we will need to complete the spine and back with something more generic. This could end up being a block colour with text and another asset over the top. This other asset could be a photo of the author, or another image from within the book. It’s a totally acceptable solution if you’re left hanging with just the front image, but does take more design work.

Book Cover Tips #2 – Have you considered bleed?

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes we see from illustrators working on covers is that they don’t consider the need for bleed. Bleed is the name given to the part of an image that extends past the trim size of your book. It’s an essential requirement of every printer. The bleed is a minimum of 0.125-inches in width the whole way around your book, and we have a much more extensive guide to the concept here.

Book Cover Tips #3 – Paperback or Hardback (or both)?

Paperback and hardback covers have quite different requirements. Hardback covers require a lot more bleed than a paperback. This is because a part of the cover gets wrapped around into the interior of the book. It’s how the “hard” part is kept contained. So your cover art therefore needs to have bleed of 0.625-inches added on all sides.

If you intend to sell both paperback and hardback, or are unsure, then simply get your artist to make the book with hardback bleed. As it is bleed – excess background of your cover – your book designer can trim it at 0.125” or 0.625” as required.

Link to the rest at Old Mate Media

The 50 Best Book Covers of 2021, as Chosen by Graphic Designers

From Book Riot:

AIGA (The American Institute of Graphic Arts) annually announces the 50 best book covers of the previous year, as chosen by a panel of judges. They “evaluate each work’s integrated design approach, including concept, innovation and visual elements such as typography, illustration, and/or information design.”

Link to the rest at Book Riot

Here are a few that caught PG’s eye:

https://50books50covers.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/181/details/49449

There are videos at the link that show a lot of creativity going on inside the books as well.

You can see them all the AIGA Winners Page

The Battle of the Book Cover: British versus American Edition

From Electric Lit:

We know, we know: you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. And yet, for as widely as the adage as used, we are all—whether consciously or subconsciously—judging books by their covers every time we browse a bookstore, or quickly scroll through a most anticipated list, stopping at the ones that catch our eye. Publishers put an awful lot of stock into book covers as well, following certain hot trends (cough cough, the Blob, cough) and moving away from others (such as photorealism having taken a backseat the past few years).

Whether we book people like to admit it or not, the cover is a very important part of a book’s perception, and so we here at Electric Lit think it’s a worthwhile endeavor every now and again to take the pulse of the public and see what aesthetic choices are making a splash, and which aren’t faring so well. Is the Blob still in, with publishers or the public? Is realism making a comeback? To test the waters, we asked our Instagram followers to choose between the UK and US book cover editions, to see what the hottest book cover trends are this year, and which trends are soooOOoo 2021.

Careering by Daisy Buchanan

There’s something similar going on between the two covers here: the shade of green, even the pink—which is only a flash of lipstick and nail polish in the U.S. cover, rather than the primary element of the U.K. cover—and a clearly at-her-wits-end woman, which perfectly resonates with this book about a woman who finally lands her much-desired dream job writing for a magazine, only to find burnout waiting for her there. And in a very interesting twist for our first battle, realism is the clear favorite! If you’ve followed our book cover battles in the past, you may know that realism has historically been the loser, so this clear sweep is a surprising start. Is this the beginning of a turning tide?

 

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

These two covers take different approaches to portraying this book about a mysterious inheritance a mother leaves her children: the U.K. cover opting to depict the more literal part—a spoon representing the physical black cake—while the U.S. cover chooses to depict the woman hiding behind secrets that are slowly uncovered after her death. The colorful swirls of the American cover feel very familiar—it’s sort of like those magic images where everything is a blur at first, but if you focus your eyes and stare long enough, the image beneath begins to appear. Comparatively, the British cover takes a more simplistic approach. Our voters, it seems, prefer the task of sussing out the secret inside swirls of the US cover.

Link to the rest at Electric Lit

5 Ways to Use Fiverr to Publish Your Book

From Self Publishing with Dale:

When I first decided that I wanted to write a novel I have to admit I was a bit naïve going into the process. I was fumbling my way through and asking questions to authors that I knew on a regular basis.

. . . .

As soon as I hit my word target I realized there was a lot more work to go just to get it to a point where I could consider publishing it. This is when I took to Fiverr and other freelance sites to find experts that can assist me with the post-writing work of creating a book.

The results were a mixed bag, but on the whole I highly recommend at a minimum getting ideas from sellers on Fiverr if you are writing a book.

. . . .

1. Finding an editor

I created a job on multiple sites (mainly focused though on Fiverr and Upwork) to try and find an editor that could take my rough draft and help me get it closer and closer to a finished product. I received a lot of responses from both sites and I quickly realized I needed to be asking more questions to help weed out all of the people responding to my gig.

I asked questions like: How many YA books have you edited? How many books have focused on fan fiction or Norse myths? I would recommend that you think about these things prior to listing your jobs so you can more efficiently get through what will be quite a large volume of people submitting bids or applying to your job.

I ended up paying $350 for the first round of edits on a 53,000-word novel (as an aside, the novel finished around 61,000 words). I got incredibly lucky or did a decent job of vetting the editors because the person I found was amazing, efficient, and literally made all the difference in the world to my book.

Most of the online services would have cost triple the amount of money and would not have turned the book around in three working days. This was an incredible value and I am extremely happy with the choice I made to list this job.

2. Creating a Book Cover

My next gig that I listed was to have a graphic designer help me create a proper book cover for my eBook. I decided to focus on just an eBook release so I only needed a front cover. The volume of responses that I got from this job was a bit overwhelming and there was a very wide range of prices.

I tried a couple of sellers for this and provided them with the information they requested to take a crack at the book cover. The results of this job varied wildly from really terrible designs to ones that were okay but unusable. I ended up creating my own book cover using Canva and some ideas that I picked up from the various Fiverr designs that came my way.

I ended up spending around $150 for these services in total and ultimately didn’t use the results other than to influence the final book cover design. In the grand scheme of things this is a small price to pay to get some creative ideas and I do think that you can get usable book covers this way although I think I would encourage paying on the higher end of the bids as this was definitely an area where I got what I paid for with each design.

3. Copy for my Amazon listing

As soon as I got through a few rounds of edits (each round cost me the same as I used the same seller). I was ready to publish my book. In order to do that you have to do things like prepare the copy for the Amazon listing which is almost an art in itself.

Ultimately, I ended up using the same seller that did the editing for my book to help write (really edit) the copy that would go up in all of the online bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc.).

This was a modest cost of $50 and it made a huge difference in what I released. They expertly guided me through how to entice people to read the book by making it less of a short summary and more of a comparison piece to other similar books and shows that the reader might also like. I would not have thought of doing that without their assistance, but it makes complete sense.

Link to the rest at Self Publishing with Dale

PG would be interested in any experiences visitors have had, good or not-so-good, hiring help with writing/publishing from Fiverr, Upwork or other similar online service marketplaces.

The Author’s Guide to Fiverr

From Indies Unlimited:

If you’re a self-published author, there are chances that someone has suggested you get a cover or some editing on Fiverr. Upon learning the site Fiverr got its name because you could pay people five bucks for an assignment, you quickly dismiss whoever gave you that advice. You’re certain you can’t get anything good for that price. Well, don’t dismiss Fiverr so quickly. Just like a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, Fiverr is more nuanced than its name suggests.

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is a marketplace where you can either buy or sell service. The name comes from the fact that services start at $5. Now, there may be some great services that you can get for $5, but I haven’t found many. The real benefit of Fiverr is as a marketplace. You can see people selling things you want–such as covers, artwork, and editing. When you log on to purchase an item, the product or service sold is called a gig.

What Do Authors Buy on Fiverr?

Authors can buy pretty much anything, even other authors to write their books (I’m not kidding, ghostwriting gigs are there). Generally, authors want to write their own books, so, on a practical level, authors tend to purchase editing, covers, artwork (for ads or extras), copy writing/blurb writing, and logos.

If It’s not $5, How Much Is It?

The prices vary, and a lot of the deals will look like they’re five dollars, but they’re not — in practical terms — that cheap. For example, the ghostwriting gig I linked to above is $5, and for that fee, the author will deliver up to 200 words. At that rate, a 60,000-word novel would run you $1,500. Editing is similar. A good editing gig may charge $5 to edit 500 words. For an 80,000-word book, that will come out to $800. However, the good thing about all gigs is there’s the option to ask for a custom quote. When you do that, you tell the person how long your book is, what the genre is, and ask them for a quote. They may tell you they’ll charge you $700 (a $100 discount on what you would pay if you tried to order 160 of the $5 gigs). Not all gigs start at $5. The better cover designers start their gigs at a minimum of $15, but usually run at least $35. You need to look at what you get with a gig. Most gigs come with three options: bare bones, middle ground, and the luxury package. For a cover, the barebones gigs tend to only allow you one cover image. It’s hard to get a good cover with a single image; usually it requires at least a background image and another one. Authors wanting a cover that follows traditional cover guidelines will want to pay more for a gig that allows at least a couple of images.

Link to the rest at Indies Unlimited

Why Do Some Authors’ Books Get a Branded Look?

From Eye on Design:

When Charlotte Strick and Claire Williams Martinez of Strick&Williams were invited to design Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy, Strick was already intimately familiar with the work. As the designer of The Paris Review, the magazine that serialized Cusk’s first book in the series, Strick had already acquainted herself with the roving narrative, which traces the journey of a woman enroute to Greece and the strangers she meets along the way. As three books, hatched one after the other like eggs, it only made sense to design Outline, Transit, and Kudos as a trio, with a “spare but evocative” vibe, as Strick put it, which bridges together each part of the whole.

While designing one cover or jacket requires the designer to conjure a single visual solution, crafting a cohesive look for such a project creates an added challenge. Each cover must encapsulate the story within while simultaneously maintaining some coherent iconography that can run through every title—not unlike a magazine design. And that design challenge and opportunity is magnified to the extreme when all of an author’s books take on a clearly defined aesthetic, which Cusk’s eventually did with work by Farrar, Straus & Giroux creative director and designer Rodrigo Corral.

Such comprehensive cover design initiatives tap into the same power as branded objects. It might seem dismal to compare an author to a brand. The writer—the literary purveyor, if you will—is indispensable, and each book they produce is a unique object. To group them together in a branded package like bottles on a drug store shelf can seem reductive, dystopian even, at its face. But this is essentially what publishers do when they commission several books by one author to be designed in a similar fashion. It’s a way for the publisher to associate a particular writer with a visual identity. And ultimately, despite any venal ambitions on behalf of publishers, the designs they require can be demanding and gratifying artistic projects for book designers.

Corral’s covers are the ones Cusk is perhaps now most well-known for. They’re white, modern—brutalist almost—with one slightly oversaturated, often metaphorical photo in the center of each. Amid the swirl of illustrated covers as of late, it seems unique to find photos on the covers of novels. While it sometimes risks narrative misinterpretation, as in Peter Hujar’s enigmatic photo on the cover of A Little Life, for Cusk’s books, it works, perhaps because her writing tends to take on broad philosophical questions. “So much of the [Outline trilogy] takes place in transit and on planes,” Corral explains. “The reading experience is quite similar to eavesdropping. You cannot stop listening or reading.” Fittingly, the image on the third installment of the Outline series is the contemplative view one experiences when peering out an airplane window.

Link to the rest at Eye on Design

How to Create a Book Cover on Kindle Direct Publishing

From Medium:

Below, I share how I created and formatted my book cover, with extra attention to detail on the nitty-gritty of formatting the book cover for a paperback versus an ebook.

1: Find an Artist

Why you should commission artwork for your book cover

Isn’t that expensive? Yes, it’s an investment: an investment to make sure your other investment — hours, months, and years spent brainstorming, researching, workshopping, editing, and writing your book — doesn’t go to waste.

One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional publishing is that you don’t have control over anything except what goes within the covers of the book (and sometimes barely that).

Naturally, then, one of the biggest advantages of self-publishing is complete control. Why not tailor a cover to your story?

Finding an artist

In my case, I scoured #PortfolioDay on Twitter, not just to scope out potential artists but, more importantly, to scope out different styles and get a sense of what I wanted. What would best convey the feel and theme of the book?

My story is a speculative Asian ghost story with culture and history at its core. I didn’t want straight-up anime but I knew I wanted an art style close to it. I saved images of wispy, hazy brushstrokes because I knew I wanted something ethereal to represent the magical elements of my story. I saved cartoon styles that were distinctly Korean — again, not quite anime, but close to it.

I then took screenshots of traditional Korean fan dance and drum dance, important elements of the story, to figure out how I wanted my main characters to be posing.

Towards the end of my research process, I cold-emailed two artists. One of them got back to me quicker.

Link to the rest at Medium