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Book Cover

– Posted in: Self Publishing

The Cover – A peg in the ground


As I previously mentioned, deciding to self-publish for me was a time of running around in circles, trying to gain enough knowledge to make a start.

Deciding that I should start with the cover, for me, was a foundation from which to build.

I will talk later about the design process, I want to focus on  the line of action that commenced from this decision.

10 or more things to know before you can commission the cover:

1. Your cover title and subtitle

I suppose you know the title of the book you are writing. Now is the time to be certain. I had decided Pea Pod Murder but did I want ‘The Pea Pod Murder or just Pea Pod Murder. You can see I eventually decided. The concept of a sub- title was new. I ultimately decided that this was the Series Title, in my case  A Leather and Lace Mystery.

2. Author Name

Another nice simple question – Did I want Kerry Sharp, K.W. Sharp or pseudonym.

3. Synopsis

Should I use the outline I prepared for the submission to Literary Agents, or should it be something different?

4. Type

Again, pretty simple until you think about it. Is it a Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural and lots of other types and categories that I hadn’t heard of before that request. If you are as baffled as I was, go and play on Amazon. They list all the options.

5. Target market

I wondered, did I have a target market, or was I happy to allow anyone to read it. In my response to the graphic artist did not answer the question.

6. Number and type of pages ( to create spine)

Now you see why I have blogged about Trim Size and how to calculate the number of pages in your book. Following the concept of Boldly Do I compiled a version in ePub from Scrivener it had 300 pages, so that was my response.

At that stage, I understood little about Internal Design. When I had designed the book properly I ended up with 390 pages. This error causes the black on the front cover to bleed into the green on the spine. This is a mistake I will not make again.

7, Text for back cover and author’s bio

Oh Dear, is this the same as the synopsis? So I redid both of them.

8 .IMPORTANT: provide Guidelines of your cover (dimensions at least)

You can see from the request that the designer was not unfamiliar with dealing with authors who knew little about self-publishing. Given the importance of spine width, which is controlled by Trim Size and Internal Design, I think he is cutting his clients entirely too much slack. If you have read this blog before you specify your cover you will be a pleasure to deal with.

9. Describe your idea of the cover

Well looking back the cover I submitted as an idea was not too bad.


10. Author’s Bio

I was not comfortable (at this early stage) to tell the world my story. I decided no one would be interested so I ignored it.

In the next blog, I will talk about selecting a Cover Designer.


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