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Covers that Connect IBPA 2017

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Book cover design course by Shannon Bodie of BookWise Design, includes details on how to assure your book cover design has strong impact and works for your target audience.

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Covers that Connect IBPA 2017

  2. 2. Get your cover on the right track: You only have seconds to reach your potential readers—so make it count! Before starting the cover design process determine your target audience. This is not all the possible readers your book will have, but the most likely readership. Knowing your target audience guides you (and your book design team) in all aspects of the design process: trim size, font, color, imagery, even what paper and finish are used when printing your book. Know your genre—what books are your audience buying? Gather genre research.
  3. 3. Know your genre visually: Genre and category research is very important. Of course you want to stand out in the crowd, but you don’t want to look out of place. Fiction vs. nonfiction, then drill down to your specific categories. Learn what books are selling well to your audience. Best sellers Fiction Best sellers Nonfiction
  4. 4. Your pre-design creative meeting checklist: Target market specs: gender, age, ethnic diversity. Does your target reader have any special training or knowledge, or beliefs to consider? Be specific and realistic, not everyone is truly in your book’s target market. What are the top 10 best-selling competitors? How is your book unique from these books? Also look at the books not selling as well. How will your book be better? Key team members with special knowledge, especially authors and editors should be included. Don’t forget a distributor with market info to share—can they review proofs with their sales staff?
  5. 5.  Goals for sales of books: do you have the start of a series, potential for market expansion, author-speaker support? Share your goals for book sales: plan to start with a digital print run or ebook version, then future print or add-ons (guides, online courses, etc.)  At least five samples of covers with design qualities you like. Not to be copied—to help detail the visual or “gut reactions” you have to design styles. Your personal preferences (and the author’s) are important to work into the design. Don’t hold back thinking you are “stifling creativity.” Now we have the foundation for creating a design, let’s explore what makes an outstanding cover . . .
  6. 6. You need to be able to read your title easily. This may seem obvious, but it is a common mistake, that best sellers rarely make . . . Your cover needs to attract a shelf viewer, and also look good at very small sizes online, where you may have questionable screen resolution and contrast, depending on the device a viewer is using.
  7. 7. Color has a big impact on mood and emotion: You can learn from what other publishers improve in new editions. Why did they make an update, does it work better?
  8. 8. Cool colors tend to have a calming effect on the viewer. Used alone, these colors can have a cold or impersonal feel. So when choosing cool colors, it may be wise to add a color from another group to avoid this and add warmth. COOL Warm colors tend to have an exciting effect. However, when these colors are used alone they can over- stimulate, generating emotions of anger and violence. When choosing warm tones, adding colors from another group will help to balance this. WARM Neutral colors are a great selection to mix with cool or warm palettes. They are great for backgrounds, and tend to tone down the use of other bold colors. Black is added to create a darker shade, while white is added to create a lighter tint.
  9. 9. Use good contrast for type and keep it concise. Try to keep character count low so the type can be larger. Assure any images used do not conflict with readability. Which text can you read well? Good contrast is crucial for readability of text: use light text over dark areas, or dark text over light backgrounds.
  10. 10. Some examples to review contrast and text readability: Difficult to read: text is running over background with variation in light and dark (poor contrast). Similar design concept, but the text is larger, and white, with better contrast in the background for a more readable title.
  11. 11. Which title can you read? Which has better text contrast? Difficult to read: text is running over background with variation in light and dark (poor contrast). Text is over a background with less variation in dark and light. Areas of the image with variation in contrast (hands) do not have text running over them.
  12. 12. Avoid text over images that interfere with readability: Title is placed over a background with variation in light and dark (poor contrast). Text is also a hand written font style which is more difficult to read. Title over a background with no variation —black background and light text— contrast at the highest level. Equals a very readable title.
  13. 13. Avoid showing too much or trying to represent every reader possible on the front cover. Instead of attracting “everyone” as you hope, you can overwhelm, and detract from your message AND potential sales. First cover has too many images, so the cover feels crowded. The second and third, use multiple images in a clear and balanced way. Too much text or imagery can turn off the entire market, instead of widening your audience.
  14. 14. What if I have a lot of copy and just can’t reduce further? Tips for making dense copy work: 1)Make your title “pop.” Have a clear path for the eye: vary size and color of type to help the reader know what to read first. 2)Leave some white space “open areas” for balance. 3)It’s a balancing act—not all the text will read well at reduced sizes. 4)Stay in the same font family when you vary style (bold, italic, condensed or extended). 5)Make sure any image balances well with text and doesn’t angle the eye away from content.
  15. 15. Cover design evolution and market testing:
  16. 16. Cover design evolution and market testing: You can learn from what other publishers improve in new editions. Why did they make an update, does it work better?
  17. 17. Cover design evolution and market testing: You can learn from your supporters, if you have a list ask them for feedback in cover design surveys. Here is a design that needed a boost to color and contrast for more impact in the youth fantasy market.
  18. 18. Back cover and spine design check list: Cover template from printer: Includes the trim size dimension, bleed, and the spine width based on final page count. This is very import to have exact. Any change in paper (change in printer) will alter this measurement. Headline: Can be a call to action, and include the book’s title. Paragraph or two of concise marketing copy. Keep this readable, most fonts need to be at 10pt or above. Endorsements: Again keep these concise and readable, if needed get approval for reduced version and run full version if you like on a review page in the interior.
  19. 19.  Author photo: If your author is an expert/speaker, it is a good idea to place their photo on the back cover. However, if they are not well-known yet, better to use space for endorsements.  Barcode/ISBN/price: Remember to order individual ISBNs for ebook editions, and other future books if you plan a series.  Category: Don’t use more than three; too many could be confusing and difficult to make readable in the space available.  Publisher: include name and logo with web url for connecting on back cover.  Spine: Include title, author’s last name and publisher logo. Only use an image if your spine is wide enough to make this work well.
  20. 20. After your front cover concept and artwork is approved, on to the rest of the cover—the spine and back cover: Unless you only plan to have ebook editions the rest of the cover is very important to sales. For most books an author photo is not as key to sales as endorsements and strong marketing copy. Don’t forget to include a url and publishing contact. I like to wrap the spine image to avoid roll on the spine edge when possible.
  21. 21. When the author is a speaker, and/or building their brand recognition a photo/bio can be important to their marketing efforts.
  22. 22. This publisher wanted the author photo featured because the author is attractive, a speaker and a doctor. On the front we featured a bonus CD.
  23. 23. You can use an image wrap with blending in Photoshop to create a wrap. Avoid too much text, it will overwhelm the reader.
  24. 24. Cover: before and after
  25. 25. Cover: before and after
  26. 26. Cover: before and after
  27. 27. Cover: before and after
  28. 28. Cover: before and after
  29. 29. Supporting your success: We want you to succeed in publishing. As book industry professionals we are here to learn from and support one another in creating the best books possible. None of our design comments are meant to criticize or judge your efforts to date. We understand that you have worked hard to get your book to this important stage. This feedback is intended to support you in reaching your audience and selling more books! This review is also intended to help you develop an eye for best book design principles. You will need this skill whether you hire a freelancer or design books yourself.
  30. 30. 2016 cover design 2017 cover design
  31. 31. Note: check on trim size, seems a unique size and this could cost more to print, difficulty in finding POD printers that use the size.
  32. 32. Note: hard edges of contrast on spines can be difficult to bind on center, check carefully with printer before finalizing a design if you have concerns.
  33. 33. How is a cover design different for an e-book? The same design principles apply. Correct design for your market is still key, and good readability is even more crucial. Create your ebook covers at press resolution. The requirements for readers are high resolution, and if you decide to create a print edition, you’ll be ready. Simple answer—it isn’t. File size for 6”x9” print: 1800x2700 pixels Kindle preferred: 2500 pixels on longest side
  34. 34. Updates and new editions. With good planning you and your cover will have a long successful relationship. Slides & handouts at:

Book cover design course by Shannon Bodie of BookWise Design, includes details on how to assure your book cover design has strong impact and works for your target audience.


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