Should an Author Design Their Own Bookcover?

A few years ago I was asked to step in to finish a book cover design.

The author already had a painting to put on the cover, so all I didn’t have to illustrate the book. I used my expertise in print design to improve the appearance of the book. The original designer had designed the book with a black back cover. Color printing works with dot patterns of 4 basic colors; from those colors a printer can reproduce a full spectrum of color and gradients. This is known as the CMYK system: it refers to Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black.

The black chosen by the client’s original designer was just the K in the CMYK system. This would have rendered as an unsatisfactory greyish black in the final print, resembling a xerox instead of a full-color glossy book cover. I set the flat black of the back cover to a “rich black.” The black is specified with all the colors in the CMYK system, resulting in a rich black that offset the cover illustration and the knock-out (white) text of the back beautifully.

From that original design for the printed book, I generated the cover for the Ebook version, correctly sized images for his web site, posters and banners, business cards, mugs, and so on. Once the original design is made, the designer should be able to deliver everything else that you need to promote and market the book without much trouble or expense.

A good designer can save your book and you from a lot of trouble and pitfalls. Unless you want to become a designer, as well as author, you should seriously consider giving your book the edge of professional design.

aliyahmarr at gmail dot com

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