Designing The Book Cover

You can design a cover yourself or have a professional do it. I researched graphics artists specializing in cover design and discovered that this costs around $1,500 and up. Wow! That's a lot of money, and more money than I wanted to spend. So I decided to do my own cover (I used to dabble in art when I was young). It only took about ten minutes for me to realize that designing covers is best left to someone who knows what they are doing (my cover looked horrible). Frustrated, I went back to searching the internet for a cheap cover designer. After enough searching I discovered Budget Book Design. This guy does cover designs for only $250! I looked at his sample covers and they look damn good. So I contacted him and he designed the cover that I currently use. What a deal!


A couple things to think about when designing your cover. A technical book will get a lot of its sales from Shrink down the book's cover to thumbnail size and see what it looks like. This is how most people will see it on Amazon. When I did this I discovered that the book title wasn't readable. I had the designer change it so that the letters were better defined had more space between them. The subtitle area isn't very important so I didn't care that it wasn't legible. A mistake I made with the first printing is that the spine's text was in black and the cover is dark purple. On my computer screen this was fine, but when I got the actual book in my hands I realized it was a mistake. The book spine could only be read up close due to it being a dark color on a dark color. And that was just for the books that I looked at. With any industry that uses inks you have to consider that there are variations in die color and and one book could be darker than another book. Other books that could have been worse. For the second printing I changed the text color to yellow. Always make sure use contrasting colors for the important parts. It's a simple rule, but many professionals forget it (including my designer!) In fact, a book in the same genre as mine has a cover with a white lettering on a pale blue background. I can barely read the title when I have it in my hands, much less when looking at a thumbnail on Amazon. It's a terrible cover design that was released by a professional publisher. Anyway, for my second printing I changed the spine lettering to be yellow so that it stands out more. Even though this is really important for books that make it into the bookstores, you should also consider that many programmers keep their books displayed in their cubicles. You want someone walking by that cubicle to notice your book and pick it up. That's how copies are sold - one programmer telling another programmer to buy it! But it has to get noticed first. :-)