Today on the blog, I’m very pleased to have Kristine from The Merry Bird Designs! She’s here today to talk about book cover design. As every independent author knows, having an eye-pleasing book jacket is essential to success. Take it away, Kristine! 


Writing a novel takes a lot of discipline, research, passion, and TIME! The same goes for the cover art that dons the store shelf or kindle view. I’d like to offer some advice on how to create a book cover yourself but then offer even more important advice, HAVE A PROFESSIONAL create one for you.

To start, you (the author) should have a “blurb” from your novel that epitomizes what your novel is about. The “blurb” you choose should be descriptive of characters or places. It should capture the essence of the story without giving away the ending! It should make your reader want to know more. You can find these blurbs usually on the back cover of a book. It is what makes the reader interested in reading more. The cover design is based on this blurb and is used to bring the eyes of potential readers to read that “blurb” and see what they’ve just read on the cover.
For example, I will use The Dark Ship by L.M. Sherwin and create a new cover to show a new perspective of a paranormal feeling. I utilized the “blurb” on the back cover.

“Lyra has always felt too plain and uninteresting to be a part of her parents’ social sphere, the upper class of Juneau One. Now, they expect her to act like a proper lady at one of the moon’s most prestigious girls’ schools: St. Xavier’s. On the voyage to the dreaded school, Lyra discovers an enchanted mirror in the lower decks of the ship. Whenever she looks at it, her reflection appears beautiful, mysterious, and otherworldly. Something about the glass draws her in; time, thought, and emotion fly past when she gazes into its depths. Could there be something dangerous about this simple golden mirror? Does some sinister force lurk within, drawing her into its clutches? Find out in this thrilling novella by L.M. Sherwin!”

Say you’d like to use a photo (a hand drawn illustration will be another article!). Begin your cover by finding an appropriate image or images. Try Big Stock Photo or upscale Getty Photography Archive. Let’s open up Photoshop! (Do you have Photoshop? Most professional designers do!) Take the image you would like to work with: you have choices to make. To simplify ask yourself if you want to use the image as is or do you want to alter it? Photoshop is a powerful tool that can change image, color, shape or even take pieces of an image to create a new image altogether. Be sure you understand the printing process, too–all these settings are important for a perfection in actual printing.


Ok – I found an image, I altered it to give an eerie feeling. The same feeling I get from The Dark Ships author “blurb”.


After I find, alter, and take the image to the point of desire, I move the image into Adobe Indesign. (do you have Adobe Indesign? Most professional designers do!) Know your spine width, font(s), and don’t forget your barcode if you self publish! Do you own your barcode? You will need to purchase one if not.


The title of the book should also be shown on the spine of the book. And don’t forget the publisher icon. It is placed on the spine and back cover.  It’s all in the details for printed covers! Kindle cover layouts differ in that the front cover image is all you will need. For Kindle cover art, specifications are necessary to be followed. Again, research what you need – it’s all the details that make it happen! Or call a professional graphic designer – they know the ropes!

Taking on cover design may seem easy at first, but your imagery is just as important as your “blurb”. So sit back and let a professional design your cover. It is the only way to ensure you have proper settings, imagery and finished product to impress your potential audience. It will make or break your book sales!

Written by: Kristine Sheehan, Designs


Thanks so much for your helpful information, Kristine! It is fun to see The Dark Ship in a new light! Hey, blog readers, you should definitely check out Kristine’s site and you should also notice that she’s one of my monthly sponsors on my right-hand sidebar!

Happy Saturday, all! Happy writing//reading//and living!

A Lesson in Book Cover Design by Kristine of The Merry Bird Designs
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