Reading, Writing, and the Book Jacket Design Process

Reading, Writing, and the Book Jacket Design Process

A Blog by Mark Graham for Graham Publishing Group

Mood is everything when it comes to designing a fabulous book jacket.

A great book cover designer understands that his or her job is to translate what it feels like to read your book.  Get the mood, understand the feeling, and pour that into a book cover without over-designing or over complicating things.

The best book cover designers are voracious readers. They love the written word, because they know the essence of their book jacket design emanates without fail from those words.

Yes, it’s the plot of a great novel or the depth of a powerful memoir.  Yes, it is the message of a good business book or the tools demonstrated in a useful self-help book. But it is more than that.  Book cover design is about feeling. It’s about understanding the reader as well as the words written on the page.

Then there is the business end of things. Yes, the book jacket must represent the content, message, and story inside the cover.  But the cover also has to sell the book. The reader has to be interested enough in the title and the cover to pick up the book or open a sample on his or her e-reader.  If your book designer can get the reader that far, then what you have written will hopefully do the rest.

As an author, don’t ever underestimate the need for a great cover. It can actually be the thing the sticks with a reader and brings them back to the experience of reading the written word and immersing themselves in the content you have worked so hard to write.

The most important advice I can share in picking your book designer and cover design is to make certain that person takes his or her job seriously and embraces the passion that has gone into writing your book. A laisse faire attitude when it comes to book jacket design does not serve you or your book.

Like so many things in life, this process of designing a spectacular book cover is all about relationships, in this case the relationship between you the author and the guy or girl you’ve charged with the creation of your cover.  The end result is only as strong as the relationship the process has created.

So, if your book cover designer doesn’t show an interest in diving into your book and understanding the story and its message, then you’ve got your first red flag. If they are, then you know you’ve gotten over the first hurdle.


About Mark Graham

Mark Graham, Mark Graham Communications, is a critically acclaimed author who has been writing and editing professionally since 1988. He has written and published five critically acclaimed novels. His credits included collaborations on such notable publications as the educational expose Scars of Love (At-Risk Educational Services, 2008), the acclaimed business book Everything I Know as a CEO I Learned as a Waitress (It’s All Good Publishing, 2007), and the World War II biography Spearhead: Advance and Defend (Amur Books, 2006).  He is the owner and operator of Mark Graham Communications and Graham Publishing Group.


The views expressed herein are not those of Colorado Independent Publishers Association, its officers or directors.  They are solely and completely those of the author. The Colorado Independent Publishers Association will not be held liable for any legal action resulting from information published in this newsletter, and the organization’s insurance will not cover any such action.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *