Creating a Book Cover

During the final phases of a book’s editing process, one of the most important parts of the book occurs – designing the cover. So, now having worked with three publishers and with three books out, one about to come out next month and one coming out in January 2017, one would think that its easy…. Au contraire!!!!

For each book, the process is the same. It started with the publisher asking me if I have any ideas about what the cover should look like. In other words, what’s my vision for the cover? Keep in mind that the cover is what initially attracts you – the buyer/reader – to the book. The tried and true works – striking, visually appealing, attractive, etc. – all apply. But they don’t get the job done so, let’s get past that.

For each book, I’ve given the cover designer “elements” that I thought should be included in the cover design along with a synopsis of the plot.  Sometimes this works well and the first concept is spot on or pretty close. Other times, a conversation is needed. One one occasion, I got a spectacular cover that did not represent the story.

For the cover of Cherubs 2, we needed period helo helmet so I photographed the helicopter helmet I wore for many years.  It made the cut and you can see it on the cover of Cherubs 2.

To get a great design, I rely on the expertise of the publisher and the designer. Theoretically, they know more about what will work than I do and, after five covers, so far so good.

            Whatever the design looks like, the nagging thought in the back of my mind is always would it attract potential readers. What I like really doesn’t matter. And therein lies the rub. What’s the best cover design? Who really knows?

What spurred this blog is that at the time this is published we have a bit of a disagreement about the cover for Inner Look. The first pass was spectacular but its design was, at least to me, misleading. It made it look like a book about computers and it’s a spy novel in which the heroes hunt for a spy in the CIA.

As of the moment, we’re getting there, but it is still not “right,” whatever that is. Who knows, we may go back to the original concept or use something different. To me, it is always feels like a crapshoot!

Marc Liebman

September, 2016