Recommended Book Cover Designers

Yesterday I posted 7 Tips for Authors Working with a Book Designer.

7 Tips for Authors Working with a Book Cover Designer

I also created a new page of recommended book cover designers. You can find it under the “Getting Published” tab in my navigation menu.

Have an illustrator or book publicist you’d like to recommend? Comment below! I’d like to create recommendation pages for these services as well. Please include link to their website.

(Comments are moderated. If yours doesn’t appear right away, it will once I’ve approved it.)

Working with a Book Cover Designer

I don’t believe in judging a person by his or her appearance, but I definitely judge a book by its cover, and so do readers.Just say no to amateurish design. You want readers to take you seriously, don’t you?

If you care about your book, you need to care about your cover. As a former graphic designer, it’s easy for me to tell, based on cover alone, most indie-published books from professionally published ones. Some small presses hire amateur designers, too. Here are some tips to avoid amateur designs and get the best design for your book (or your buck).

7 Tips for Authors Working with a Book Cover Designer

7 Tips for Working with a Book Cover Designer:

  • Unless you’re a trained designer, your design ideas will likely be derivative of visual cliches you’re used to seeing.
  • Saying “do whatever you want” can often be paralyzing to a designer with a thousand ideas.
  • Therefore, give the professional designer direction but not management. Ask for a creative brief, a tool which helps the designer understand what you want. Give the designer a few ideas to get him or her going, and then let the pro do his or her job.
  • It’s often better to say what you don’t like than what you do. “Can we avoid the color orange?” is better than “My favorite color is purple. I want it purple.”
  • If you provide images or ideas, make it clear that they are to inspire, not require the designer to follow them.
  • Create a Pinterest board of your favorite book covers to understand what styles you like. It can also be a useful addition to a creative brief. (Sharing this with your designer will be especially helpful if you hire a newbie designer.)
  • Know your genre. A good book cover gives the reader an expectation of what the pages inside hold.


If you’re working with a traditional publisher, they will have an in-house design team.

If you’re self-publishing or working with a small press that hires freelancers, here’s a round-up of cover designers.

If you are absolutely confident in your ability to DIY, here’s a tutorial to get you started. However, I strongly recommend researching typography basics before trying to make a cover yourself. Specifically learn hierarchy, legibility, and how to pair fonts. Creative Market has consistently solid typefaces. Stay away from Papyrus, Comic Sans, Impact, Copperplate, and Scriptina. If a display, handwriting, or script font is pre-installed on your computer, you can bet it’s a cliche. I also recommend learning from the good, the bad, and the ugly book covers at The Book Designer’s eBook Cover Design contests.

Click to Tweet: 7 Tips for Authors Working with a Book Cover Designer via @larathelark

10 Weeks Till Truest: The Evolution of a Book Cover

Tuesday is Truestday! Follow Jackie to get some insight on the publishing process. Her debut novel hits shelves in September!


t10Join me in counting down the final weeks till Truest’s publication! Every Tuesday, I’ll be posting something Truest-related. Please feel free to re-blog, pin, tweet, share on Facebook, etc.– I’d love to get the word out! And, of course, you can pre-order your own copy here!

Today I’m excited to share with you how Truest‘s book cover came to be. (And please excuse the weird formatting toward the end– once I started inserting pictures, it all went haywire!)

At the end of April 2014, Laurel, an editor at Katherine Tegen Books, sent me this email:

While Jill is still working on gathering notes for you on the latest revision, I have another exciting step in the publication process. We get to start thinking about your cover! Jill and I will fill out a form to share with our designers—who work serious magic and make the best…

View original post 588 more words

Covers of Classics: a Genre Mash-Up

I’m excited to reveal my new project of diversion.

I majored in interdisciplinary studies, which is a fancy way of saying “I couldn’t decide on just one major, so I proposed my own to the university, and they accepted.” I called my curriculum “Visual Communication.” It included studying the written word (literature, writing, and editing) as well as two-dimensional art (design, art history, and photography). In college, I focused on writing and had some short stories and poetry published. When I graduated, I worked as a designer, doing some editing from time to time to distract myself. Now I’m focusing on editing, and it’s no exaggeration when I call it my dream job. When I help writers polish their prose, I feel like a superhero.

And yet I still need to feed that visual side. So I came up with a new project, and I’m really hoping that you’ll collaborate with me! Introducing:



So here’s where you come in.

I’ve chosen 20 classic books and 20 different genres. It’s up to you to pick the combinations. I’ll choose my favorites from your suggestions, and I’ll post them on Wednesdays.

Note: I won’t be posting every Wednesday. The third Wednesday of the month is reserved for Query Workshops, and I can’t guarantee I’ll always get a chance to do the designs.

Why am I doing this?

It’s a distraction, it’s a chance for creative collaboration, and it’s good practice for me to keep my design skills from getting rusty. It’s also meant to treat my perfectionism. I will give myself a time limit for each design, and when the time is up, my design is finished. No endless tweaking for these. You’ll be seeing some less-than-perfect designs, but hopefully I’ll grow as a person by letting go of my need for perfection.

The Choices

Choices that have been crossed out are pairings I’ve already designed. However, if you contribute your own, you can choose from any of the two columns below.

1 Alice in Wonderland Adventure/Epic
2 Anne of Green Gables Chick Lit
3 Beowulf Comedy
4 The Count of Monte Cristo Drama
5 Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Fantasy
6 Gulliver’s Travels Historical Fiction
7 Hamlet Historical Romance
8 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Horror
9 The Importance of Being Earnest Literary Classic
10 Jane Eyre Literary Contemporary
11 The Jungle Book Memoir
12 Les Miserables Illustrated Middle Grade
13 Metamorphosis Mystery
14 The Odyssey Science Fiction
15 Peter Pan Self-Help
16 Pride & Prejudice Textbook
17 Pygmalion Thriller
18 The Scarlet Letter Travel Guide
19 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Women’s Fiction
20 Treasure Island YA Contemporary


My first request came as a result of asking a few people to pick a number 1–20. They chose 11 & 8—The Jungle Book as a Horror novel.



I’ll blog each mash-up I design, then link to them below. If you’d like to participate, please read on. Otherwise choose your mash-ups and comment with them below! Your pairing could be next!

  1. The Jungle Book—Horror

Designers and Illustrators—Want to participate?

Please do! Just post yours on your blog or website, including a link back to this page. Don’t forget to tell us which pairing it is. You can choose one of the suggestions given from commenters, or you can decide on a pairing yourself. There are no restrictions. All of you could do a Chick Lit Beowulf if you wanted. Then use the form below to give me the link so I can add it to the list of results. Note, if you post yours to a WordPress blog, I will also reblog your contribution.

Note: By entering, you accept responsibility and ownership over your artwork. If your artwork should be found to be a copyright infringement, I am not responsible. All of the titles above are in the public domain. It’s up to you to get permission to use any images or fonts in your design.