Coaching Yourself to Brief a Designer to Produce a Really Excellent Cover for Your Book

Before approaching a cover designer you need to prepare a thorough brief so that the designer is really clear about what you want before they start work. The work you do before approaching your designer will save you hours of work and much money.

It would be nice to think that your designer would read your book before starting work, but the facts of life are that designers are selling their artistic skills and their time. Reading a book can take several days. Do you want to pay your designer for that time? Probably not. So, your best option is to prepare as thorough a brief as possible for your designer.

It is job of the author and publisher to decide what will attract the attention of readers and get them to buy the book. I always work with the well tried and tested A.I.D.A. acronym frequently used by advertising agencies:

Attention, what will grab the reader’s attention. This is the value of pictures that grab attention.

Interest, what will get them to take a greater interest in the book. A good title that suggests the main benefit that the reader will receive when they read the book.

Desire, what will arouse their passion and get them to really, really desire to own the book.

Action, what will tip them over the edge and get them to order.

To this end the essential elements of a good cover design brief should include the following:

  1. A description of the book content. The settings, the main characters, what makes them interesting and why the book has been written. This provides the designer with general background to help them to understand the area in which they are to work.
  2. What is special or unique about the book. This gives the designer an idea of what will sell the book. It helps them to focus their attention on the first essentials. You might mention here the passion that drove you to write this particular book.
  3. The target audience. Who the book has been written for.
    1. This could include, age, gender, occupation, income group, location.
    2. Where they get their information.
    3. Their habits, hobbies or special interests.
    4. Known likes and dislikes.
    5. Anything that particularly frustrates or animates this target audience.
    6. Any other information that describes the typical reader.
  4. The text for the front and back covers.
  5. Any illustrations you want to use (perhaps your photo for the back cover). You should check out copyright on any illustrations you plan to use.
  6. Any particular likes, dislikes or preferences that you have. Here you might show covers of other books that you particularly like.
    Proportions of the design and any other special needs like bleed etc.
  7. Your budget for the design.
  8. Your time scale for completing the task.

Note: The cover design for this book Coachng Yourself to Create a Bestseller is currently a mock-up I produced myself. I am using this as a placeholder until my designer has completed the finished design. Readers of this blog will see the finished cover as soon as I publish it. Click this link to receive alerts whenever I publish a new article about Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller.

There will be more detail about all this in Coaching Yourself To Create a Bestseller which you can preorder now from Smashwords.

About David Ferrers

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