Producing a beautiful cover for your newly completed book is the last leg of the journey – the final wrapping of the literary gift. But for those in the market for a cover, how exactly does this process play out?
Without intending to pump up our own tyres, with 30 years of combined experience, here at Damonza we have an ultra-reliable and ultra-successful formula for producing award-winning covers for our clients. The following is a non-fictional account of exactly what you can expect from that process.
1) Understanding Your Book
The first step to designing your book’s cover is to get an idea of what the hell it is supposed to be covering. Would Stephen King’s It have been quite as successful if it had a rainbow and cupcakes on the front? Would The Cat in the Hat have done well with a cover featuring a chainsaw wielding maniac? I mean there’s no real way to tell, but my gut says perhaps not.
To set the wheels in motion we ask that a 50% deposit on the cover be put down. A form will accompany the deposit which will ask for the following information regarding your novel:
- The novel’s title
- The author’s name
- The genre of the book
- A summation of the plot (as detailed as possible)
- A list of the story’s key elements
- Examples of the sort of book covers you traditionally like
This information will help our expert designers produce a cover that not only suits the book that it covers, but also suits your exacting tastes. As each designer has a particular set of skills that are best suited to a matching genre, we always make sure that the best designer possible is working on your cover.
2) Producing the Initial Drafts
Once both the deposit and the above information has been received, our one of our award-winning designers will produce at least 2 drafts within the next 14 days (often quicker than that, depending on our workload at the time). These drafts will take their cues from the content of the book, and the styles that you’ve indicated you enjoy. We know what works for a particular genre, what looks good, and what sells. This is the part where we combine our many years of experience and expertise with the content of your book. This is where the magic happens, baby.
Once our ruthless creative director Damon has cast his beady eye over the options, returned them to the designer with needlessly hurtful criticisms, and sat back to stroke an overly fluffy ragdoll cat, we will send you the first drafts of your brand spanking new cover. You can select one of these drafts to go forward with, making whatever adjustments you deem necessary (to a point – see below). As I’m sure you’ll understand, at Damonza we do value our designers’ time, so we will not make adjustments to both of these initial drafts. We’ll need you to bravely commit to the one you prefer.
We realise that there might be an occasion (although rare) that you aren’t taken by either of the initial two drafts. Should this be the case, our designers will take your feedback on board and go back to the drawing board to produce another draft option. If you’re still not happy with any of the drafts created, we may, at our sole discretion, decide to either continue with more draft deigns or cancel the project and refund all fees you have already paid.
3) Adjusting Your Favorite Draft
So you’ve picked your favourite cover. How exciting! Now it’s just a matter of sculpting it to the point at which you’d be content to see it on a bookshelf. We will happily make as many changes as is needed for you to be satisfied with the cover, within reason. What constitutes a ‘reasonable change’? We define reasonable as:
- Changes that do not substantially alter the approved concept
- Changes that are within the original brief
- Changes that can be done through the use of existing stock imagery
- Changes that do not constitute a completely new cover design
I told you they were reasonable. Common changes include tweaking certain individual elements of the cover, changing colours, moving elements, and altering text placement, fonts, and size.
4) Supplying the Final Product
Once the final alterations are approved, your front cover is complete! Make the remaining 50% payment and you’ll get your shiny new cover! For eBook covers, your design will be supplied in a high-resolution JPEG, as well as in a 3D rendering for marketing purposes (because everything is cooler in 3D). For print covers, it’s now time to attack the spine and back.
In order to complete your print cover, we will require the following information from you:
- The final trim size
- The final page count
- All the text and other information you would like on the back cover
- The print service you are using (usually CreateSpace, Ingram Spark or Lightning Source)
- The paper colour you are using
- Your ISBN (for those using Ingram Spark or Lightning Source)
- A template from your printer (for those using a service other than CreateSpace, Ingram Spark or Lightning Source)
The same reasonable changes can be made to the spine and back of the print cover, and the final product will be supplied to you in a print-ready PDF.
And thus the process is complete. It will be up to you to distribute the print-ready file to your printer of choice, and before you know it you’ll be a published author. We at Damonza will be looking forward to seeing your novel sprinting up the bestseller lists.
And we’ll have more than a small amount of pride when it does so.