Hello, all! Kimberly here from Jera Publishing. Today your self-publishing short is on the six things you need to know before you have your book cover designed. At Jera Publishing, we often have authors come to us for interior book design after they have had their cover designed, and they often have issues because they do not fully understand the cover design process. While having the front cover for marketing purposes before your book is published is a good thing, you need to know the following items before the cover design process is even started.

  1. Who will be the book’s printer?

    Why: Different printers have different requirements for how the covers are set up.

  2. What type of binding will be used?

    Why: The type of binding will affect how your cover needs to be set up. Your binding options will depend on your printer. Some only offer paperbacks, while some also offer hardcovers, casewrap, or saddle stitching.

  3. What will be the trim size of your book?

    Why: Your cover designer will need to know your book size in order to set the cover to that size. If you have the cover designed for a 5 x 8 size but later decide to do a 5.5 x 8.5 book, your designer will have to redo the cover to meet the new specifications.

  4. What is the final page count of your formatted book?

    Why: One of the things that determines the width of a book cover’s spine is the page count. If you have the full cover spread, including the spine, done before your book is formatted, it will need to be redone after your page count is known. Even a few extra pages will require a new cover spread to be made, so an estimate will not work. You can have the front cover done for marketing before you know the page count but not the entire spread with the spine.

  5. What paper stock will your book be printed on?

    Why: Another thing that affects the width of the spine is the type of paper it is printed on. Cream paper is typically thicker than white and requires a wider spine. Again, stick with just the front cover design until your page count is known.

  6. Is your cover designer familiar with the printer’s cover requirements?

    Why: You are relying on your cover designer to set the cover to the printer’s specifications. They need to know what resolution, color mode, bleeds, safe area, spine width, etc., to use when designing your cover. If they get it wrong, the printer will reject the cover.

Watch the video version of this article below.

Kimberly Martin

Kimberly Martin

Self-publishing specialist with over 15 years of experience, speaker, and coach. In my spare time, I can be found reading, hiking, taking photographs, riding my motorcycle, spoiling my three rescue cats, and decorating the Jera office with my collection of vintage typewriters.
Kimberly Martin
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