All-Too-Common Cover-Design Mistakes

August 2009
by Michele DeFilippo

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All-Too-Common Cover-Design Mistakes

by Michele DeFilippo

Book distributors, book retailers, and book reviewers use common benchmarks to determine whether a book is ready for prime time. As it happens, these are the same criteria used by the judges in book-design contests nationwide, and the same ones prospective buyers use when they look at a cover, without necessarily being aware of them on a conscious level.

Judging by the number of counterproductive covers I’ve seen, many publishers either don’t know about these criteria or don’t care about them, because the same mistakes show up time and again.

Here’s an annotated list of the 10 most common cover-design mistakes to help you and your designer stay on the right track. When you’ve read through the list, you may want to visit your favorite online bookseller to look at full-color versions of the covers below, which show what can happen when all these mistakes are avoided.

Mistake #1: The book cover design does not fit its genre. Buyers, distributors, and retailers favor books that clearly belong in their genre. A history book should have a look that is different from the look of a cookbook or a spiritual book. A book cover should be created with knowledge of the market an…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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