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Journey To The Perfect Book Cover

Journey To The Perfect Book Cover

Getting a look at your first book cover is one of the most exciting parts of the publishing journey. It’s often the first time your book ‘feels’ real because you get to see it in a tangible way. But it’s also scary because we all want the perfect book cover for our book. ALLi prides itself on its approved partner directory and services vetted by our Watchdog Desk. Author member Helen Baggott tells us about her experience of finding the right designer for her cover.

The Cover Concept

I doubt I’m the only author to visualize their book’s cover before the first draft has been completed. In my imagination, it was a random montage of postcards, of the handwriting and cancelled stamps – because that’s what I was writing about. My book, Posted in the Past, reveals the true stories written on postcards sent more than a hundred years ago.

Knowing I Needed Help

I’m not blessed with any artistic talent and I knew that I needed the skills of an experienced designer who would pull me back from the edge of self-indulgence and create something professional and eye-catching. I needed someone else to create the perfect book cover.

Although I know the work of several designers, I chose ALLi partner member Jessica Bell Design. 

How to Work With a Designer

A cover designer can only work from the information provided by a client. I completed a questionnaire and included examples of covers I liked and disliked, and explained why. I supplied Jessica with several postcards to choose from for the cover. My only stipulation was that any images used were my own.

Out of the three covers I had to choose from, there was only one real contender. As expected, it was nothing like the one I had created in my mind – thank goodness! 

Connecting the Cover to Marketing Opportunities

The central image of a pier draws the eye into the scene and suggests a Victorian/Edwardian theme. The cards chosen for their handwriting all tell different stories – romance, travel, tragedy, and childhood games. That isn’t apparent from the cover, but is revealed inside – and is a great talking point that takes a conversation beyond ‘I’ve written a book’.

Although Jessica had other images to choose from, that particular pier is in my home county and has helped with local publicity. That was a lucky coincidence and something I will be bearing in mind for the next in the series.

The back of the cover is of equal importance and as much as people tell me they love the cover, my blurb seals the deal. The barcode area with my image and contact details is the final professional touch. I have witnessed cover envy when other authors have handled the book and seen that small but essential section so expertly and professionally produced.

The Perfect Book Cover

The colour palette was Jessica’s idea. I would never have suggested it. Yet again, it’s another piece of careful design. I write in a very conversational style, but it would be easy to consider that a book about social history – that’s really what it is – could be dry and, dare I suggest, even boring. Jessica’s style complements my own and, I believe, has produced the perfect cover for my book. When I show it to potential stockists, they all comment on the style and images. Then I reveal the stories behind each element on the cover and they’re sold. Literally.

Finding a professional to work with isn’t always easy. I have a list of designers that my clients have used and been very happy with. I’m sure they would all have produced excellent work. However, it was important that I worked with someone I knew wouldn’t hesitate to bring my focus back to a professional level. I needed them to take control of this stage – and then allow me to bask in the glory of their creativity. The cover has been the most expensive element in the production of my book – but what a good investment. 

Commissioning your first cover is one of the most exciting parts of the #publshing journey. Author Helen Baggott @selfpubsupport explains her journey to the perfect #book cover. #indieauthor #selfpublishing #IARTG #ASMRG… Click To Tweet


Did you get the perfect book cover for your debut book? Are you still searching for the right cover designer?

Don’t forget to use our partner directory here.

Helen Baggott

Helen Baggott is a copy-editor and proofreader. She works with new authors who are experiencing the thrill of writing their first book through to established authors – both indie and traditionally published. Although she’s based in the UK, her clients are from all over the world – North America, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, France, Norway, Holland, Czech Republic, Turkey, Switzerland… anywhere there’s a good internet connection.. Find out more about her services at

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. If you are considering getting a serious, legitimate publisher to pick up your book, then you won’t have to worry about a cover. If a publisher is interested in your story, they will find a designer for your book.

    1. Hi Isabelle, this is a self-publishing advice center for indie authors, who seriously and legitimately publish our own books. So covers are very important.

  2. I have also been able to get the perfect cover for my book through a professional designer. I can only recommend him. He has also worked together with me in a good way and taken my requests and suggestions into the work. I couldn’t be happier with my cover, and like in Helen’s case, wherever I show it, people are amazed about the professionalism. “This looks as if you were traditionally publishing with a big press!” people have said.

    I’m actually planning on making a video of my journey and share it on my site/YouTube channel. I have made one already on self-publishing but will make another about exactly this topic. It is so important for independent authors!

    Thanks for the article.


  3. I liked this article.

    What I do is look at several hundred western frontier era photographs first to see if I am inspired to write my eBook built around the photograph. That way the photo connects perfectly to the content.

    Then I have my web tech add the title and my author name along with the wood border for branding.

    Sometimes a photographer gives his permission, sometimes he says no, and sometimes they don’t get back to me.

    But this formula has worked repeatedly for me.

    I just uploaded my 33rd western frontier eBook on Amazon called, A Homesteading Journey To Colorado.

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