Book Cover Design

I wrote about this earlier in the year. A good cover is essential (and a great one is to be preferred!) to encourage browsers to take it off the shelf in a store or library, or to look further into the Kindle or ebook version. My publisher and I worked on a brief and they’ve kindly allowed me to publish the template here.

There were a few things I got wrong, and couldn’t get the page count down to 360 to avoid reworking the spine width in the artwork – that’s not important for ebooks, but is a big deal for printed matter. I was obviously reluctant to cut any of my hard-crafted words – nothing new there! The publisher also juggled the trim size, fonts and white space. We also opted for the cream paper specification. Every time a change was agreed, I received a new version of the brief.

Themes and character outlines were included apparently to help the designer’s creativity!

Of course, if you are opting for hardback with a dustjacket, then you’ll need a substantially different brief, and of course if only going for Kindle / ebook (no hard copy version) then no spine or rear cover will be needed.

Anyway, here’s the brief we finalised for ‘Gate of Tears’ (paperback) – I hope you find it helpful:

Gate of Tears
Book Cover Design Brief                
Book Title: Gate of Tears
Author: James Marinero
Genre: Thriller/Techno-Thriller (fiction)
Brief Description:
‘A near-future techno-thriller blending bio extraction of minerals, the gold standard and the changing world order with the political, military and industrial emergence of China as the world’s leading superpower. With much of the story set in the volatile Red Sea region, this novel takes a fascinating look at what might be just around the corner…   
Themes (roughly in order of content weight):
The Red Sea, Gold Mining (Australia and Alaska), genetic engineering, Royal Marines, Chinese Intelligence Service and Naval Power, Serbian terrorism, Yemeni, Djiboutian and Oil politics (currently topical), sailing, Somali piracy (topical).
Principal characters:
Maruška Pavkovic – female Serbian terrorist
Steve Baldwin – ex-Royal Marine, sailing own boat in Red Sea
Charles Tobin – Owner of a gold mining conglomerate
Book Specification
Format & Size:
Paperback, 5.5” x 8.5” (216 x 140 mm) trim size.
No. of Pages 360
Cover Price £8.99
No USD $ pricing required yet
ISBN-13: 978-0-9568426-0-2
Paper colour: Lightningsource white stock
Binding: Lightningsource Perfect Bound
Publication Date:
2 May 2011
A Kindle format eBook will be released.
Cover Design Requirement
1. Rough sketches of 2 or 3 ‘design concepts’ and cost quotes to be provided for discussion.
2. Full colour front, spine and rear cover design files, appropriate for the genre.
3. Barcode and ISBN to be included.
4. Cover should meet Lightningsource template specifications and file naming conventions.
5. All production files and layers to be provided to publisher on completion of assignment.
6. Availability 2 weeks pre-publication.
7. Delivery: All files to be provided by email (or ftp download).
8. Rights: Publisher owns all rights, except third party images, if applicable.
9. Designer Credit: a designer credit – name, plus website or email address – may be included on the rear cover. 8 point font size max.
10. The obvious basic requirement is to stand out from the crowd and capture the eye – don’t we all want that!
11. One additional Book Cover Image (front+spine+back) at full size resolution 300 dpi in jpeg format for website/marketing.
12. Rear cover to include ‘blank area’ for 3 x 4 line reviews. Reviews may not be available at time of initial publication, this box will be used for Author pic and bio.
13. 650 px front cover high image required for Nielsen PubData catalogue.
14. 1280 px (height) 72 dpi front cover image for Kindle ebook version.
Images for Design
Specific Images to be used: None specified, other than rear cover author pic.
Image categories could include a naval ship/carrier, a yacht, an aeroplane (F35), gold bars, globe/location depictor, Somali pirate(s).
Images to be royalty free (see Budget section).
Style/Theme Colours
There are no specific style requirements, beyond genre suitability. Many techno-thrillers tend to have dark colorings, so some distinction maybe with blues/yellows (sea/sand) may be appropriate to offset any dark themes.
Nice to Have
A design which works well for eBook formats, but the best design for paperbook is more important and overrides.
To be agreed, fixed, before commissioning. A separate budget limit for Images will be agreed as appropriate.
Front Cover Strapline
…where gold, greed and intrigue collide

Rear Cover Text

Gold fever in a hi-tech world, a British Marine and a female Serbian psychopathic assassin collide with international politics, market manipulation, Chinese and NATO naval forces, all set in the political hotspot of the Yemen and Red Sea where the Gate of Tears separates Africa and Asia. Much of the world’s oil flows through this strategic Strait, and piracy is rife…

About the Author
James Marinero has worked in many parts of the world, including the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia. With degrees in Physics, Marine Science and Business, he brings a unique perspective to technology development and emerging Chinese influence around the world, bound up in a gripping thriller packed with intrigue and action.
End of Brief

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