Don’t Cover Me Up!

Publicity Tip #21

Guidelines for Cover Creation ~

Image courtesy of Thomas Hawk

A cover needs to:

1) Draw the eye from a distance:
Primary colors and recognizable shapes are very useful here.

2) Convey a sense of what the story is about:
Make the main picture relate to the story.

3) Make the reader turn the book over to see what’s on the back cover: Be sure the graphic continues around the spine and onto the back page.

4) Be easily describable (four words or less is best):
Man with big knife, girl with teddy bear, tornado carrying sharks inside, etc.

Start with the story theme, come up with a picture to convey that theme (a single, coherent image), and choose your colors. If those three items are done correctly, the reader will naturally want to see what’s on the back cover (because it’s easy and a continuation of the interesting front cover) and that’s where the blurbs and such will draw the reader into opening the book.

If the reader opens the book and begins to read on page 1, the cover has done its job.


Duke PennellDuke Pennel and his wife Kimberly started Pen-L Publishing in February, 2012, and have brought 18 books into the world, with that many more in the works. They publish nonfiction as well as fiction ranging from youth to humor to hard-edged adult, in paperback as well as ebook formats. They find the business both challenging and gratifying, some days lots more of one than the other.

Duke is a freelance and professional editor, owner/acquisitions editor of Pen-L Publishing, editor of the e-zine Frontier Tales and print anthology, and a computer systems engineer who creates websites.

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Image of books courtesy of Thomas Hawk/ Creative Commons

Categories: Publicity

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