Judging Covers: How to Design a Book Cover

How to Design a Book Cover for a Self-Published Book

By Deborah S. Nelson

How to design a book cover

Design a Compelling Book Cover for your Self-Published Book

When publishing a book yourself, one of the most important aspects is how to design a book cover. Since the majority of  books are sold online, the book cover is a small icon, and you will only have a few seconds to entice readers to buy your books. To help you design a book cover which looks professional and compelling, be sure to include the following components:

Front Cover: Compelling graphic (300 dpi) which represents the message of your book, book title, book subtitle, author name

Spine: Book title, author name, publishing company. This must match exactly the information in your title that is associated with your book’s assigned ISBN number

Back Cover: Author head shot, author bio, persuasively intriguing book synopsis, ISBN number


Hire a Book Cover Designer

The best way how to design a book cover is to hire a professional designer, but be careful. This could run over $1,000 if you are not informed and ready. The following is a list of tips how to hire and manage a book cover designer:

How to Design a Book Cover for your Self Published Book  Get a Quote First: Hire a book cover designer with book cover experience and samples. Ask for written quotes for your book cover. Apply for print on demand account to get access to the printing specifications of the book cover. Provide this info to potential cover designers. For a print on demand account, sign up for a free CreateSpace account, it is free to apply.

How to Design Your Book Cover Let me save you one nightmare: Do not agree to pay by the hour. Ask for a written estimate for the cost of the book cover and ask how many rounds of corrections this will include. Provide the exact specifications of your book cover, according to your print on demand company.

Step Three: How to Design a Book Cover

State a deadline:  Your book cover design could take a long time. Freelance graphic artists have other work to do for other clients, and yours will go to the bottom of the list if you do not assign a clear and reasonable deadline for completion. .


 ProvStep 4: How to Design a Book coveride the following: Author headshot, front cover graphic, ISBN number, synopsis, author bio for the back cover, the exact title and subtitle of your book; and cover template from your print on demand account. They will be clear of the EXACT printing specifications required. When time to print, the files will be accepted for printing, not rejected.

Step 5; How to Design a Book Cover Images for the cover: Provide all images at least 300 DPI (300 dots per inch). Because of potential copyright infringement, buy the images or use your own images for which you own the copyrights. Be sure all images are graphically appealing and simple. Include only the headshot of the author, no complex background.

Step 6: How to Design a Book Cover Start a DropBox Account: Organize all your book files in a file folder. When you need to transfer something to the designer, send them the link to avoid lengthy uploading process or difficulties with emailing large files. Going back and forth with trying to open files is quite time-consuming and will significantly slow the process down.

Step 7: How to Design a Book Cover Pre-Design: Use the CreateSpace Cover Creator to establish an idea of what you want before you send the design concept to a book cover designer. This will save time and frustration. Communicate clearly with the designer by letting them know right up front the exact specifications for the book cover. Refer to our Createspace Cover Template if needed.

Low Cost DIY Covers or Free CreateSpace Cover Template

If you want to do it yourself, use the free CreateSpace Cover  Creator software or your own design software. Createspace offers a Cover Designer for free if you have a Createspace print on demand account.  Click on this link to watch the CreateSpace Cover Tutorial Video. If you want to know how to design a book cover yourself, you will need to use a good graphic design software. You can download a free trial of Adobe In Design and use it for 30 days. When you are complete with your book cover design, export it to a print ready PDF and upload to your print on demand account. If you want to learn more about how to make your own book see the following articles here:

Free CreateSpace Cover Template Made Easy

How to Publish Your Own Book

How to Use Self Publishing Services

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How to Make a Book Online | Three Types

How to Make a Book Online | Easy-Medium-Advanced

How to Make a Book

Three Ways How to Make a Book Online

Digital publishing has brought new developments.  Now it is easy for an ordinary person to learn  to make a book online. If you are creative and have always wanted to write and publish a book, this article will give you an overview of the options and steps to make that possible. To simplify the process, I have divided different ways of how to make a book yourself into three different categories: The Four-Color Gift Book,  Print on Demand Paperback, and Short Run Book Publishing. With all these options, your creative spirit can soar with the use of your computer and print on demand to make a book online.

Easy | Four-Color Gift Book


If you want only a one-time book project with no need to market your books, the four-color hard cover book is fun and easy to do. For this option, I feel that the the best company is Blurb.com. I love Blurb! You can learn how to self publish a book with the greatest of ease using Blurb. The beautiful thing with Blurb is you can create full-color books with a hard cover. If you want to publish a children’s book,  a book of art, a photography portfolio, or anything that requires full-color on the inside and outside, Blurb.com is your best choice to learn the beginning basics of how to make a book online. With their proprietary software, BookSmart, you can easily create books without the steep learning curve of professional book publishing software. Blurb software automatically does page numbering, the copyright pages, and the right blank pages, and a few pages of optional front matter. Blurb has no option for marketing your book through online booksellers or the book publishing industry.

This is a great option if you want to create a gift book or legacy book or a book to use for presentations in your business. The books might seem pricey, but the fact that you can print just one book using their print on demand system for under $25-$500 is phenomenal (depending on how many pages). My daughter created an epoch 400-page book following her friend’s romance which led up to marriage as a wedding gift. Another book she created was a photo-journal of her best friend’s cat, about 250 pages, in memory of “Jet Boy” who was lovingly euthanized for cancer gone wild. One of my students collected old Italian recipes from her beloved grandmother and published the recipes in memory of her. If you prefer creativity and minimal technical frustrations, you can learn how to make a book with the greatest of ease using Blurb’s proprietary book software.

Medium | Print on Demand Paperback | Sell on Amazon

The next option, especially if you want to sell books, is to use a print on demand printer to help you publish a paperback book. This option is great if you want to buy books in small quantities to provide for workshops or seminars you may teach. Additionally, The easiest and least expensive print on demand option is to use the paperback format. The paperback format usually offers multiple size options, depending on which print on demand company you choose. All of them offer four-color front and back covers with black and white interior, up to as much as 400 pages. You will need to create two digital files, one for the cover, and one for the interior of the book. Most print on demand companies require the file to be in a print ready (300 dpi) PDF format. To get a professional designed look, the initial layout is usually done in In Design, and then the graphic artist will export that file to a print ready PDF, which you may upload to your print on demand account.

Advanced | Short Run Book Printing | Sell in Book Stores

The final option for how to make a book online will be to search Google for the short run printing companies to print your book. Depending on the size, color (or black and white), hard back cover, type of paper used, number of copies require, and shape you will gather different quotes for the cost involved. They will quote you based on “camera- or print-ready art.” You will need to find various graphic design specialists for the cover, and the interior of the book.  In order to sell in book stores, you will need to register as a publisher at Bowker Books, and get your book an ISBN number so that it will be listed in BOOKS IN PRINT, from which book stores order their books.

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