Creating the perfect cover for your book

Formatting your book primarily the front cover can be a scary first experience, but it is the glue that binds it all together. It is the first thing that customers see as they roam the aisles in the bookstore. A unique, colorful, and intriguing cover might prompt the customer to pick it up and buy it, which for the author, equates to dollar signs. And an amateur or dim cover will most likely get overlooked.

New authors seem to rush intricate parts of the book due to time restraints or limited budget allotments, but every nuance of your book deserves the appropriate time to flush out any kinks it might have.

I roam down the book aisle at least twice a week. I’m always curious to see which books catch my eye. It’s something about the font, cover design, or even the positioning of the author’s name that captures my attention. This is the reaction you want your customers to experience when they see your book!

Keep in mind, every book cover must have the following 3 items!

1. Your title
2. An illustration
3. The author or illustrator credits

Some authors include the publisher’s name or series title, but for the most part, these three items are the only things that you must include. If you are unsure of your cover, then hire a book layout developer or graphic designer. Or visit a local bookstore and just place your book on the shelves and ask customers for their opinion. If they like it, then it might be a winner, if not, then go back to the drawing board and try again!

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Book Format: Front Cover

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


book format - book binding - spine

The spine is a large component of the book’s format. It is the outer material that binds and holds the pages together.

Bookbinding has been around for centuries. Whether you use a perfect bound or saddle stitch binding, having a professional spine will distinguish you from the amateurs.

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The Front Cover

Here are six things that are needed on a spine:
1. The title
2. The series title and volume number (if applicable)
3. The author’s name
4. The illustrator’s name (if applicable)
5. The publisher
6. Your logo

The spine is part of the book's format

In addition to your spine including certain information, it should be visually appealing, clean, crisp, and readable. Here are three things to avoid!

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The Back Cover

1. Do not use fancy fonts that are too hard to read. It is very important that your customers are able to quickly locate and read the title of your book.

2. Do not use a background color that drowns out your title. Customers are often antsy and prefer to locate things immediately. A hidden title can hinder your chances of closing a sale.

3. Do not put too many items on your spine. Your title, authors name, publisher, logo, etc are pretty much all you need. Too many words or items can cause your spine to look busy and a busy spine can be unappealing to customers.

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The Copyright Page

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Four tips to remember!
1. Make sure that your spine is full of color.

2. Make sure that your spine is appealing – be careful of using too many different fonts and fonts that are hard to read!

3. Make sure that your spine is cohesive – be sure to hire someone with experience in Adobe Indesign.

4. Make sure that your spine is professional – be sure to hire a company that specializes in binding.

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The Blurb

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Blurb:

noun
1. a short description that praises something (such as a book) so that people will want to buy it. There are many elements that are essential to a back cover, but today we will focus just on the blurb. A blurb is a short summary, usually a condensed version of the synopsis, which highlights the major parts of the story. The purpose of the blurb is to get the customer’s attention and persuade them to purchase your book in less than 30 seconds, therefore a boring or very long blurb won’t work. Blurbs should be short, concise, and catchy. Most of all, the blurb should be clear and make sense. Look at the blurb below.

Ten-year-old Myrtle Beckle lives on Sugarbird Lane with Blabbermouth Samantha and the No Eating Vegetable Club. This vegetable patrol has banned every kid on their block from eating any vegetables, which is why they mock Myrtle, the vegetable nerd, for her bizarre fascination with broccoli. While dodging their antics, Myrtle plants broccoli seeds in her backyard in hopes of one day becoming a scientist and finding a cure for cancer through broccoli. This humorous, educational, and inspiring chapter book, filled with secret clubs, rivalry, broccoli experiments, and more, proves that the voice of a child should never be ignored.

This blurb introduces the main character, her goal, and her contribution to the overall story. It also shows conflict and how the antagonist drives the plot. The blurb also gives some insight as to what happens in the end of the story. It’s clear, concise, engaging, and can easily help the customer determine whether it’s the right fit for their child or not.

Reader's Digest Store

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The Front Cover
The Back Cover
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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Book design

The front cover is the first and the last thing that a customer sees before deciding on whether they want to purchase your book or not.  The illustrations and informational text send a signal to the brain advising you to purchase the book.  Sometimes it’s the illustrations, the logo, or simply the polished layout of the book that catches and keeps your attention.  Having a memorable title and catchy cover will increase the odds of your book being sold.

All authors must make sure that the title, the illustrations, and the author credits are displayed clearly and professionally.  You do not want to miss an opportunity to sell your book because the title was too long or the illustrations were too blurry.  When self-publishing, remember that every detail counts!

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The Back Cover
The Blurb
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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


The back cover is essential to your book and should include the following items:

1. The title

2. The summary also known as the book jacket

3. The publisher’s name, logo, and contact information

4. The age range (mainly for children’s books)

5. The ISBN number

6. The price

7. Whether your book is strippable or not

8. An illustration or logo that reiterates the theme and purpose of your book

9. The author, editor, graphic designer, and/or illustrator credits

What’s the big deal?

Aside from the front cover and the copyright page, the back cover is one of the most looked at items when determining whether someone wants to purchase your book or not.  It supplies the potential customer with valuable information ranging from the summary down to whether the book is appropriate for their child or not.  Also, it is your final selling point and/or closing argument for why they should purchase your book instead of putting it back on the shelf.  Every self-publisher must make sure that their back cover is professional and provides the customer with the information they need in order to make an informed purchasing decision.

Take a look at the back cover for Little Kids, Big Voices Interactive Journal.

Little Kids, Big Voices Interactive Journal

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The Front Cover
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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


The copyright page is essential to the formatting of your book and should include the following items:

1. Publisher’s logo

2. Publisher’s contact information

3. Copyright date and notice

4. Publication date

5. Cataloging information

6. The author, editor, graphic designer, and illustrator credits

7. ISBN number

8. Library of congress number

9. Where the book was printed

10. Copyright infringement statements

What’s the big deal?

The copyright page also known as the edition notice contains the most valuable information about your book so plan on bookstores, librarians, and retailers locating it.  It helps bookstores determine how to shelf your book so either hire an excellent PCIP Cataloger or obtain your CIP from the Library of Congress. It also provides customers with infringement statements which prevent others from copying your work without your permission.

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CIP Versus PCIP

Where does the copyright page go?

The copyright page is normally on the left hand side and goes directly behind the main title page.  Some books have mini-title pages that include only the title, but the main title page usually includes the authors name, the publisher, and where the book was published.

Take a look at the copyright page for Broccoli Chronicles.

Notice that the copyright page is thorough. It contains the items mentioned above in addition to a few others – trademark information and where to find educational resources. It is clean, crisp, and easy to read. Make sure that your copyright page is professional and appealing to customers.


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RELATED ARTICLES:
The Front Cover
The Back Cover
The Blurb
The Spine

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


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