The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers of All Time

From Book Riot:

When it comes to lists of the most iconic book covers of all time, I am not always impressed with what titles turn up again and again. And I’m ready to take the heat for leaving some of your faves off this list. Here’s my first question for others compiling these lists. Are the covers of books like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Catcher in the Rye really that iconic? Or are they stuck in your mind because you’ve seen them a million times thanks to their status as school curriculum standards? Let’s not peak in high school, folks.

Moreover, why do we seem to celebrate only the covers for books considered literary masterpieces of the 20th century, with a focus on midcentury design? Certainly there are iconic book covers from that era, and you’ll see some below. But there’s more to lionize in the history of design than this singular period and genre. I want to take a wider view.

I’m also not afraid to assert that some of the most iconic book covers have just come out. Because if we don’t believe that at least some of the best things ever to be made are being made right now, be they book covers, movies, music, or literature, then what is the point of making anything? I’d rather take a brave stance here and be proven wrong in the future than go with the same old choices everyone makes. Believe me, there are still plenty of safe choices on this list. So without any further ado, and in no particular order, the most iconic book covers of all time.

. . . .

How recognizable is this cover design by S. Neil Fujita, with illustration by John Kashiwabara? So iconic that you can buy any number of T-shirts that spoof its design. To name a few, you can acquire a shirt to claim you are: The Rodfather (with a fisherman casting instead of marionette strings), The Dogfather (bones as marionette sticks), The Gabagool (for the fans of cured meats), or The Godmother (it’s pink).

Talk about iconic! Milton Charles designed the paperback, whose silver foil-embossed cover has a die-cut hole representing the house’s attic. When the cover is opened, a full page painting called a stepback reveals the creepy family, illustrated by Gillian Hills. It’s lurid and voyeuristic in the best possible way. The rest of the Dollanganger series received a similarly iconic treatment. If you come across an old copy that has the cutout and the stepback — later printings don’t have the hole in the cover — you’re a lucky duck.

You know a book cover is iconic when it can be ported from book to movie franchise to theme park rides with ease. This cover by renowned designer Chip Kidd is a quintessential example of this.

Link to the rest at Book Riot

The Best Fiction vs Nonfiction Book Covers: Ways They Differ

From The Book Designer:

In the vibrant world of book publishing, the first thing that comes to mind, I’m sure, when any of us think of design is the book cover! It’s the main element of any fiction or nonfiction piece that immediately turns heads and makes a statement all at once. 

It’s worth noting that there are subtle distinctions when it comes to fiction vs nonfiction book covers. While nonfiction books focus on displaying useful and persuasive information on the front (think autobiographies and history books), fiction books can be a lot more expressive with colors, fonts, imagery and so on. 

. . . .

Fiction vs Nonfiction Book Covers: The Big Difference

Fiction and nonfiction book covers have very different missions to accomplish, and recognizing these different paths is the first step to crafting the perfect introduction to your work. 

Fiction Book Covers:

Imagination, mystery, and the alluring call to a different world; these are the hallmarks of a compelling fiction book cover. 

With the main aim being to reflect the book’s tone and genre and to evoke curiosity, these covers often leave a lot to the imagination. The design elements are less restricted, urging readers to delve deeper and discover the story within. 

You’ll find that titles are concise and descriptions are almost non-existent, allowing the visual elements to play a more significant role in persuading readers to pick it off the shelf. 

Nonfiction Book Covers:

On the flip side, nonfiction book covers adopt a more straightforward approach, serving readers a clear picture of what to expect inside. 

This no-nonsense approach consists of a rich spread of information, longer titles with descriptive subtitles to offer readers a clear snapshot of the valuable insights awaiting them. While the storytelling element takes a backseat, the design leans towards minimalism with a preference for neutral tones, creating a clean and focused entry point that prioritizes information and clarity over mystery.

Understanding these foundational differences is pivotal in crafting a cover that not only resonates with your target audience but beautifully houses the heart of your literary masterpiece! 

What Readers Expect: Nonfiction Book Cover Design Elements

Understanding your audience’s expectations is a cardinal rule in book cover design. Let’s delve into what readers anticipate when they pick up a book from either genre:

Nonfiction Book Covers:

A nonfiction book cover must reflect the substantial and educative content it houses. It needs to exude a sense of authority and expertise, promising the reader a journey of learning and growth. Here are the key elements to focus on:

  • Detailed Titles and Subtitles: Go for long titles and accompanying subtitles that lucidly convey the book’s essence, offering a clear insight into what the reader can expect.
  • Minimalistic Graphic Elements: Stick to a linear and rational theme with minimal graphics to maintain a focused and serious demeanor.
  • Bold and Formal Typography: Employ typography that is both bold and formal, facilitating easy readability while also commanding respect and attention.
  • Centered Messaging: Place the central message or title in the direct eyeline to instantly grab attention and convey the core theme succinctly.
  • Volume and Version Details: If applicable, include details like volume number and version to offer readers a sense of the book’s place in a series or its updated content.
  • Neutral Color Palette: Leverage a palette grounded in neutral tones, avoiding vibrant hues that might potentially diminish the gravity of the topic at hand.

. . . .

What Readers Expect: Fiction Book Cover Design Elements

Crafting the perfect cover for a fiction book comes with a lot of freedom to play, to imagine, and to lure your readers into the world you’ve crafted within the pages. Think of it like an open canvas It’s an open canvas where you can illustrate your story through vivid imagery, bold colors, and evocative typography. Let’s explore the design elements that can help your fiction book cover become an irresistible pick:

  • Strategic Color Scheme: While the spectrum of colors is wide, it’s wise to narrow down your choice to up to three complementary colors that echos your book’s tone, genre, and essence. Use these chosen hues not just in the backdrop but also in the titles to create a harmonized visual appeal.
  • Creative Visual Imagery: Whether it’s unveiling the mysterious protagonist of your sequel to evoke a sense of familiarity or crafting bespoke illustrations, leveraging visual imagery allows you to strike a chord with your audience right from the first glance.
  • Title Readability: Amidst the expected noise of colors and visuals, ensure that your book title remains the hero. It should be easily conveyed, inviting readers to delve deeper into the story that awaits.
  • Dual Typeface Play: Play around with a dual typeface strategy where the main title and the supplementary information like the author’s name are rendered in distinct but complementary fonts, enhancing visual interest and hierarchy.
  • Background Storytelling: Your background is not just a canvas but a storyteller. Think of it as a preview of the genre, For example, darker visuals for action-packed mysteries or a serene landscape for a heartwarming tale.

Embrace the creative freedom that fiction book cover design offers and craft a visual narrative that is as captivating as the story inside!

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

The OP includes several examples of non-fiction and fiction book covers the author of the OP regards as examples of effective cover design.

The Back Cover of a Book: Just as Important as the Front Cover?

From The Book Designer:

Does the design of the back cover of a book really matter?

Since the front cover of a book is usually the first thing a reader sees, there’s often a heavy focus on making sure that the front cover stands out, “pops,” does cartwheels, and jumps through as many hoops as necessary to get noticed. 

Unfortunately, book back covers often get the short end of the stick with only a focus on the essentials:

  • the tagline
  • blurb
  • author bio
  • testimonials
  • publisher details
  • barcode information

This information is useful and essential, but there’s some flexibility in how and where these details are placed, and depending on how creative your back book cover design is.

. . . .

Why Does the Back Cover of a Book Matter?

The back cover of a book is the extension of the front cover and spine, but the three are sometimes disjointed as if the front cover is one book and the back cover is another. When a potential reader picks up your book and flips it over to read the summary, there’s only a single opportunity to pull them in: with words. But, when the book’s back cover design creates an atmosphere that pulls the reader in, the odds begin to stack in your favor that they’ll make it to page one. 

With over 4 million books published in 2022, authors are facing a new set of challenges in a flooded book market. 

Quality and creativity, not to mention a great story, are the most important differentiators from the sea of sameness that plagues virtual and brick-and-mortar bookshelves everywhere. 

What Are the Parts of a Book’s Back Cover?

The Tagline and Blurb

Similar to a company tagline, a book’s tagline is a sentence or two that piques your interest and gets you to continue reading. It’s the statement that tells you to prepare yourself for what is to come. It is designed to get you to keep reading. The tagline is usually in a larger, bold font above the blurb. 

The blurb, on the other hand, is the teaser that sets the stage for what’s on the inside of the book. It can be a plot summary, dialogue between characters, or a conversation with the reader.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

In fiction, taglines and blurbs are centered around the characters and the book’s plot. In nonfiction, the tagline and blurb focus on what problem the book provides a solution to or what new or interesting information will be gleaned from the content.

Author Bio

Author bios are third-person accounts of an author’s background. Bios are a great way to share pertinent information that will endear readers to the author by establishing trust. 

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Whether fiction or nonfiction, an author’s bio offers details about the author that the author wants to share. This can include biographical information, honors and awards, education, work history, the names of books written, or a combination of them all. Many bios will include website details and a photo. 


Testimonials are book reviews from first readers that are added to the cover for social proof. Only the best reviews or reviews from prominent sources are placed on the cover.

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

In fiction, testimonials are usually about the story, the characters, and the feelings the book evoked. Nonfiction testimonials center around the quality of the information shared and in what ways it helped the reader.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

How to Design a Book Cover that Grabs Readers’ Attention in 7 Steps

From The Book Designer:

What makes a great book cover? It depends on who you ask but most will agree that you just know a great cover when you see it. Love them or hate them, every great book cover design evokes a feeling.

Learning how to design a book cover that sells is more than a skill set or good taste. It’s also developing a listening ear to the needs of your reader. 

The standout qualities of an engaging book cover include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Cohesiveness of elements
  • The feeling it evokes
  • The ability to tell a great story visually
  • Piques curiosity

When it comes to book design, as the author, your opinion matters but it’s not the most important one. 

Book buyers have cover expectations and will bypass your book if it doesn’t fit into their framework or grab their attention in some other way.

You can have the best content in the world inside of your book. But if your book cover doesn’t attract the right audience, or your ideal customer, then it’s not going to get the sales that it deserves.

In the following 7 steps, we’ll look at how to design a book cover that gets buy-in from potential readers:

  • 1. Do the Unexpected
  • 2. Select the Right Fonts
  • 3. Select the Right Imagery
  • 4. Create a Hierarchy of Elements
  • 5. Colors Matter
  • 6. Tell a story
  • 7. Show Sensitivity to the Subject Matter

1. Do the Unexpected

Playing it safe means blending into the crowd. Before you publish your book, you have an opportunity to explore all of the possibilities of great cover design (regardless of budget) to uncover what could make your book a bit more special than the next.

In this article, we touched on how and when to break the rules of genre-based cover design to create something engaging and unexpected. It’s possible to honor the expectations of the genre and still engage your reader in a surprising way. This can be done by reinterpreting the conventions of the genre by putting a creative spin on it. 

. . .

Stay within the basic genre guidelines, whether fantasy, romance, business, or historical. Be open to breaking the rules when you have a good grasp of the whys behind them. 

2. Select the Right Fonts

In most cases, you’ll want to use a maximum of two or three fonts. The right typography can be the difference between a cover that looks sharp and professional and one that looks cheap and homemade, so choose wisely. 

. . . .

3. Select the Right Imagery

When adding imagery to your cover, you can choose between original photography, illustrations, stock photos, or AI-generated artwork. The key is to find an image that reflects the theme of your book and fits the genre.

. . . .

4. Create a Hierarchy of Elements

Move the reader’s eye to where you want it to go by increasing the size of the element you want to stand out the most (e.g., author name, book title, or imagery). Alternative elements to utilize for creating visual hierarchy include contrast and color.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

PG notes that the OP has many more illustrations than PG has used here as well as several more steps.

He also notes that, contra the old saying, online or in a physical bookstore, everyone makes preliminary judgments about what books they’re going to examine based in large part on the cover. As a general proposition, the human gaze notes images more than text when looking at a wide range of potential choices.

Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: 7 Tips To Inspire

From The Book Designer:

The best fantasy book covers of 2023 are in and they are spell-binding. Book covers are one of the first key factors that either draw readers in or turn them away. Because of this, it’s crucial to get them right.

While we’ve all likely been told not to judge a book by its cover, the truth is, most of us probably do. That’s why today we are looking at the best fantasy book covers of 2023.

I discuss the various aspects that go into a standout cover design, seven of the covers that particularly stand out from 2023, and how you can use these gorgeous designs to inspire your own.

Whether you choose to traditionally publish your book and hope to have some part in the book design process, or choose to self-publish your novel and will design it yourself, you can learn from these tips. The best fantasy book covers of 2023 cover a variety of sub-genres.

But don’t forget, no matter what genre you write, there are always takeaways from authors who design well. Fantastical elements will appear more otherworldly, as they should, but each cover below depicts a level of familiarity that draws readers in.

I shouldn’t get ahead of myself though! Let’s lay the foundation as to why fantasy covers matter, and then dive in to discussing some of the best fantasy book covers of 2023.

7 Best Fantasy Book Covers Of 2023: Design And Inspiration

Your story’s plot plays a tremendous role in the type of cover you design. If your fantasy is a space opera and centers on a love triangle, you should use different fonts and colors than if you write a dark, medieval fantasy. Notice how plot plays a role in seven of the best fantasy book covers of 2023. 

#1 – Path of the Dragon: An Arthurian Fairytale Retelling

Jason Hamilton released his novel, Path of the Dragon, in April of 2023. He sets his story in sixth century England and casts Princess Una as his 18-year-old protagonist, fighting for a feeling of safety. The sole survivor of a dragon attack, the story centers on her treacherous journey to restore her stronghold. 

His cover features a golden emblem in the shape of a dragon, with the background completely black. Flecks of glowing green add life to what feels like a daunting story. 

#2 – The Terraformers

This futuristic epic by Annalee Newitz is the story of Destry. Her focus takes a dramatic shift when she discovers an entire people group previously unknown to her—living inside a volcano. Questions arise as she pursues the truth of their existence and her own. 

The cover features a futuristic city filling the entire right half of the cover and a vertical, not horizontal, title. The left half of the cover shows a river that dumps into a lake…leading to a volcano. Without even reading the back cover copy you’re likely to have a great idea of this book’s story. 

#3 – Star Bringer

Written by Tracy Wolff and Nina Croft, this new release is a futuristic fantasy set in a dystopian world. Filled with aliens, a dying sun, and tasked with saving the universe…seven surprising heroes, better known as misfits, must step up to the challenge. 

A soft, violet-blue and pink color palette are the feature colors of this third title in the best fantasy book covers of 2023. Space often feels blue, ethereal, and enthralling, and this cover communicates each of these aspects meticulously. 

#4 – Untethered Sky

Brought to you by award-winning author Fonda Lee, this fantasy fable stars Ester. Ester is a girl who’s been orphaned by her mother’s death and haunted by her baby brother’s murder. Her life takes a new focus—killing the monsters who killed everyone in her family, except her father. 

Fables are known for telling important tales throughout history, and this cover looks like it was taken right out of the time period itself. Neutral colors and a watercolor like image of Ester, with a massive bird above her, make you want to immediately open to page one.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

When Your Publisher Gets the Cover Wrong—Very Wrong

From Jane Friedman:

This story starts about eight years ago, with the arrival of a much anticipated email from the publishing house where the first edition of my book, Good Naked: How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier, was in production. Wrote the marketing coordinator:

Dear Joni,

Attached is the final version of the cover design for Good Naked, which the designer has asked me to pass along to you. Please note that the white gridlines are watermarks that won’t be present in the finished product…

Even now, years later, I get aftershocks thinking about the first time I opened the attachment and saw that cover design. There, filling my screen, was the image of a naked woman’s body, full-frontal, lingering in the shadows against a smoky backdrop. She was cut off from the neck up and knees down. Against the dark backdrop, two pink circles (representing the Os in the book’s title) drew the eye to the woman’s breasts. Her slender fingers formed a V, framing her pubis. And just below her private parts, spread across her silken thighs, was my book’s subtitle—How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier.

In summary, the proposed cover for my book—a cheerful and practical writing guide based on my decades of experience as an author and teacher—depicted a nude, headless woman, beckoning book browsers from the shadows like a back-alley sex worker.

Here, I feel compelled to state that I have nothing against back-alley sex workers. I also will concede that, yes, my writing guide has the word “naked” in its title, but so do a lot of other books, like Naked Statistics, which has a pie chart on its cover. So, when the designer saw the title of my manuscript, what made him think of soft porn? Why did he design a cover better suited to an entirely different type of book, say Fifty Shades of Writing?

I reread the email to make sure I had not misunderstood.

Final version of the cover…Please note that the white gridlines

Could the marketing coordinator who had written this email to me be any more misguided? How could she think that a few barely perceptible gridlines on the enclosed image would be my primary concern, when there was my name—Joni B. Cole—attached to a work suggesting much more for sale than writing advice?

This story comes to mind as I think about feedback during the publishing process. In this situation, I, the author, was the one tasked with providing feedback, despite being told the cover design was “final” and despite my fear of consequences. I worried that my book was already on a tight production schedule. Could the designer refuse to make changes? If I refused his refusal, could the publisher delay my book’s release, or even pull it from their list? Would I end up blacklisted from the industry, a note on my file listing me as unpleasant, uncooperative, and unwilling to do nudity?

All sorts of worries, real and irrational, cluttered my thinking. But, given the situation, I felt like I had no choice but to reject this cover wholesale. I imagined my new release displayed in the creative-writing section of my daughter’s college bookstore. (And she thought I had embarrassed her in the past!) For moral support, I showed the cover to a few friends, seeking their reactions:

“Is this a joke?”

“Whoa! I thought maybe you’d been exaggerating.”

“Is it me, or is that woman about to get busy with herself?”

The only positive comment about the cover came from my friend Dan. “It’s not that bad,” he shrugged. “Maybe it will sell some books.”

Yeah, right, I thought, and maybe people will assume those are my silken thighs. But that doesn’t make it right.

My friend Dan did make a valid point. Helping a book sell is indeed one of the main considerations when designing its cover. Depending on your publishing contract, you may not have much, or any, say in the final design, and that isn’t completely unreasonable.

. . . .

In case you are curious about what happened to that naked woman on the “final” cover of my writing guide, here is the rest of the story. As soon as I saw that image, I called my editor in a state of high dudgeon. As it turns out, he shared my low opinion of the cover choice, but the designer had voted him down. “Don’t sweat it for now,” my editor told me. “Marketing is on your side as well.” This begged the question: Who was this designer with such sway he could override both my editor and the folks in marketing?

Weeks passed. My print date drew near. Each time I checked in on my sex worker, I was told that the designer remained reluctant to remove her from my cover. As a seasoned author, I am not afraid to speak my mind, but I am also not big on ultimatums. “Replace that cover—or me and my book are walking!” For me, it still feels like a miracle when a publisher accepts my work. It was unfathomable to think I would do anything to jeopardize my “forthcoming release,” two words I love dropping into every conversation. But I just couldn’t accept that cover. This felt bigger than a battle over design. This had the stink of misogyny.

Finally, I got word. Fifty Shades of Writing was no more—I would see a new cover option for Good Naked by the end of the day. This news came in the form of an email from the same marketing coordinator who, weeks earlier, had sent along the original design

Link to the rest at Jane Friedman

Publisher Logos: 7 Amazing Examples To Inspire Your Design 

From The Book Designer:

Publisher logos are a part of the writing process that are often overlooked. However, logos are an integral part of marketing and alerting readers to the credibility behind your book. While logos may seem like a simplistic piece of art, they are much more important than we often realize.

In this article, I discuss what they are, if you should make your own, and provide examples of real ones.

Whether you choose to traditionally publish or self-publish, incorporating a logo with your final manuscript can help you in a myriad of ways. 

Yes, writers often pursue writing because they love the writing part of the creative process. It’s crucial to keep in mind that there are other creative aspects that largely influence your success as an author. Publisher logos are one such aspect. If you’re ready to dive in, let’s get started!

. . . .

What Are Publisher Logos?

Publisher logos are emblems that represent the brand of the publisher. Publisher logos help identify one publisher from the next. They act as an easily recognizable piece of art that categorizes books according to the publisher.

Every book that a publisher puts into the marketplace will have a publisher logo. You will often find publisher logos on the title page of a book and frequently on the book’s spine as well. 

A publisher logo helps people place the book with the publisher with a simple glance at the spine. It acts as a finishing touch to the product. 

Fun fact: One of the first pages of the book, often called a colophon or copyright page, is full of details like:

  • Copyright
  • Publication information 
  • Legal disclaimers 

Back when scribes wrote every copy of every book by hand, they used this section to make little notes about how tough it was to transcribe a text by hand. In fact, the word colophon is actually from Greek via Latin and originally meant “finishing touch.”

With this in mind, the next important question to ask is if you should make your own publisher logo. If you choose to self-publish rather than traditionally publish, should you add your own finishing touch to your book?

Should You Make Your Own?

If you want to give your book the best chance of selling, creating your own publisher logo is an important step in the process. Publisher logos are an important part of marketing. After all, branding is what differentiates your book from all others.

The more detail you put into your author brand, branding your book, and marketing this brand to your potential readers, the better chance you have for selling copies.

Creating your own publisher logo is not as difficult as it may sound. Consider the following options: 

#1 – Use Canva

Canva is a great platform for creating publisher logos and offers both a free and paid version. If you have an eye for graphic design and understand branding, you may want to try your hand at creating your own publisher logo.

#2 – Hirer A Graphic Designer 

If you aren’t as confident in the graphic design space, your best option may be to hire someone to design several publisher logos for you to choose from. Before making the hire, be sure that you do your proper research: ask other writers for feedback on the designers they have used and be sure to look at reviews.

#3 – Go Hybrid 

On the other hand, maybe you  have a vision for the type of publisher logo you want to use but you aren’t quite sure how to manifest it. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of both your own creative bent and the professionalism of a graphic designer.

Simply use Canva or another such platform to create a mock-up of the design you want to use. Next, reach out to designers and ask if they can work with your template. Once you find the right designer for your project, collaborate until you create a logo you love.

Examples Of Real Ones 

Sometimes it helps to see examples of what has been done to inspire your creativity and help you create something new. Of course, we should never copy a previous publisher logo, but it’s perfectly acceptable to draw inspiration from logos. 

#1 – Penguin Press

Penguin Press has a great, simple logo featuring, of course, a penguin! This publisher uses white, black, and orange to create an easily recognizable logo that will fit on books’ spines. 

#2 – Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House, one of the “big five” traditional publishing houses and over Penguin Press, features a very simple publisher logo. In fact, it’s so simple it may appear on-the-nose. However, their logo reinforces their brand name and is one to learn from!

#3 – Victory Publishing

Victory Publishing takes a spin on line art for its logo. An open book, created by what looks like possibly just one line, adds a simplistic spin to what we often recognize as a traditional book logo. A simple font includes the name of the publisher and when it was established (2014). 

#4 – Open Book Publishers 

This publisher breaks the trend by using blue rather than the traditional black color for their logo. An open book comprises the entirety of their logo: Simple, to the point, with hard lines. 

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

Does AI Art Affect Indie Authors?

From The Independent Publishing Magazine:

If you’ve spent any time on social media over the last few months, you’ve probably seen plenty of people sharing pictures of themselves that were “created” using Artificial Intelligence (AI). There are several apps currently available that allow people to share a few photos and instantly have them turned into pieces of art. You’ll find everything from cartoon-style drawings to interpretations that look like they could be placed in a museum.

While there’s no denying that AI art is fascinating and often incredibly beautiful, it’s been met with some backlash.

Not only can AI art reinvent existing photos, but it can also turn words into art — something that many authors are taking advantage of when it comes to creating book covers. AI text-to-image generators can take something as simple as the word “lightbulb” and create a one-of-a-kind piece of art for you to use with your next release.

But, is that ethical? Is it taking away from the human expression so many artists value? Using AI is easy, efficient, and often more cost-effective than hiring an artist to create a cover. It’s important to consider how using it might be affecting others in the creative industry, and how AI in general might impact indie authors and artists.

How Is AI Art Created?

AI art doesn’t just randomly manifest itself. You can’t create something out of “nothing”. To be effective in any industry, there are a few requirements Artificial Intelligence needs to deploy properly, including:

  • High bandwidths;
  • Computing capacity;
  • Data storage;
  • Security.

In the art world, AI is created by collecting data from existing artists (as well as artists from past generations) and their work. For example, some of the current apps generating AI artwork use generative adversarial networks (GANs). These algorithms have two sides: One that generates random images, and one that learns how to judge those images and align them with whatever is being inputted.

As an author, if you want a book cover featuring a young woman sitting on a chair in a particular style, you could simply type in something like, “a young woman on a chair Victorian era” into an AI art generator. The generator would look through thousands of images to “learn” exactly what you’re looking for. It would take data from other human-made works of art to create an original piece in the style of your choosing.

Why Are Authors Using It?

As an indie author, you’ve probably become used to doing many things for yourself. From editing to advertising, you might not have the resources or finances to hire others to do that kind of work for you. But, creating a cover is a different story. If you’re blessed enough to be a writer and an artist, you might be able to create a cover on your own, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

So, you’re often left with the option of hiring a professional artist for your cover design. Of course, that can cost money and stretch your budget quite thin, especially when you recognize the importance of an eye-catching cover. While it’s great to support independent artists, it’s not the easiest financial choice for authors who are just getting started. Plus, if you don’t consider yourself an artist and you’re also new to marketing in the book industry, you could end up hiring someone and fall victim to some common book cover mistakes, like:

  • Too many visual elements;
  • A cover that doesn’t accurately reflect your genre;
  • A low-quality or stolen image;
  • A title that’s too small;
  • Poor choice of font;
  • An uninspiring design.

Because AI is easy to use and can generate multiple images from a single input, you can use it to save money, and you can show several possible images to friends, family, and followers on social media to get an idea of which one will work best for your book.

The Ethical Dilemma

While there are some benefits to using AI art as an indie author, it’s essential to consider how ethical it is. As someone in the creative industry, you can undoubtedly empathize with visual artists trying to make a living through their work. AI takes away from those artists and even goes so far as to use human art to create new images, which some consider a type of theft.

Link to the rest at The Independent Publishing Magazine

The 7 most inspiring book cover trends of 2023

From 99Designs:

With global conflict, a continuing climate crisis and a dawning recession, the world has had its share of gloom. But if you’re looking for escapism, 2023’s book cover design trends seem determined to banish the darkness. Bright shapes swirl, flowers blossom and wild creatures strut their stuff. Elsewhere, designers look back, finding beauty in punk’s angst and pleasure in pop art’s playful simplicity.

As you’ll see from our picks below, several of this year’s trends overlap. A common feature is typography that—despite sometimes being so big it spills off the cover—is often happy to play second fiddle to lively images and patterns. This year feels less about the words and more about the feeling: it seems like it’s time to forget guidelines around hierarchy and decorum and just let rip. These are 2023’s big cover design trends.

The 7 most inspiring book cover trends of 2023

Abstract blends

Big type, busy backgrounds

No hierarchy

Pop art minimalism

Punk-style collage and ripped pages

Bold flower motifs

Close to the edge

1. Abstract blends

How do you produce a striking cover that’s great for social media traction, but also keeps a sense of mystery? For many authors and designers, abstract blended covers are the answer. These bright, dynamic designs mix color and texture, suggesting randomness and creativity, and rejecting neatness, order and realism. Given many people have experienced much change in their lives or are exhausted from the global upheavals in the last few years, it’s unsurprising to see authors and designers breaking the mold when it comes to book cover design.

Though there are many vibrant patterns swirling on these book covers, this trend isn’t totally abstract. Figures often emerge from the swirl that suggests personal transformation, or a way we build pictures in our minds as we read. But, unlike covers with photographic or photorealist front covers, these books rarely feature an identifiable face, making them particularly suitable for books with multiple interpretations, or those (like self-help titles) where readers may see themselves as the main character.

2. Big typography, busy backgrounds

It’s hard to know where to look with this trend. Great letters, usually in block capitals, stretch across the cover. But just behind them lurk bold, captivating images, often showing animals or plants. Sometimes, the text is obscured by part of the image, like the snake’s body coiling through the twin arches of an “M” in the cover below.

Link to the rest at 99Designs

Cozy Mystery Book Covers

From The Book Designer:

#1 – Fall For Murder, Kathleen Suzette

With fall comes murder, even for newly marrieds. Allie and Alec are swept into a murder mystery when Allie finds the body of a local businesswoman. To prove her innocence to the police chief, she and her husband find the real murderer. A pastel cover including almost every fall color, soft pinks contrast the sharp edges of fall leaves and a background of housing. This design is perfect for a cozy mystery book covers.

#2 – A Very English Murder, Lady Eleanor Swift

This mystery takes place in England, 1920. Protagonist Eleanor Swift is not just a distinguished adventurer or a dog person, but also a detective. Dignified and resourceful all in one, she’s traveled the world and has the stories to prove it. However, her adventures take a sinister turn when she watches a man’s murder. Witty dialogue will carry you to the end of this murder mystery! 

A navy cover offsets the soft pink of design and delicate yellow of Swift’s dress. A pop of red hair adds a spark of color and of course, since Swift is a dog lover they had to include a cute pup on the cover as well. 

#3 – A Spoonful of Murder, J. M. Hall

We often view schoolteachers as hard working, up before dawn to teach and grading after dark. This mindset is often true. However, in this murder mystery, three schoolteachers become involved in a murder.

Grab a cup of tea with a spoonful of sugar, and open this delightful, sky-blue cover to read the mystery for yourself. A red teacup decorates the bottom half, complete with a black cat and the steam of a freshly brewed cup. 

#4 – The Bookshop Murder, Flora Steele

With fall comes murder, even for newly marrieds. Allie and Alec are swept into a murder mystery when Allie finds the body of a local businesswoman. To prove her innocence to the police chief, she and her husband find the real murderer. A pastel cover including almost every fall color, soft pinks contrast the sharp edges of fall leaves and a background of housing. This design is perfect for a cozy mystery book covers.

#5 – The Bullet That Missed, Richard Osman

Even a cold case deserves to be properly closed. The Thursday Murder Club finds themselves involved in a local news legend and a murder. However, there is no body and with no body there are just as many answers. Join this case and journey from a spa to a prison cell, drinking luxury espresso with the protagonist. 

Outlined in green, covered in off white, and jazzed up with touch of bold red, this cover is loud and unashamed. Start reading and see if you can keep up with the Thursday Murder Club on the red hot case.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer

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.


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:

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