Book covers, books and books

My dad always says that you don’t just buy a vinyl record for the music, you buy it for the artwork.

Vinyl records afforded an opportunity for creative design to be seen in a mainstream fashion that hadn’t really been done on such a varied scale before. With so much music on the market a record had no choice but to stand out if it wanted to do well and the cover was the first thing to be seen.

Why should a book be any different?

Whether a book is being released via a publisher, an independent publisher or self-publishing the book cover is where visual marketing begins. A book wants to look attractive, intriguing or just appropriate if it’s going to garner public interest – basically, it has to be just right.

There are lots of directions that the design for a book cover can take. There is no basic formula for what everyone will want to buy. Designs aren’t limited to genre but if you look at enough of them you’ll find patterns in style: e.g. crime novels with darker colour schemes.

Stock images show up a lot on book covers. They can look fantastic, particularly if you have a good designer who can do a lot with layout and layering, but, in the self-publishing industry in particular, there are a lot of them. Standing out from the crowd in a business where every part of the marketing falls on your shoulders should be a good thing.

A book cover should be an opportunity to show off creativity. You’ve already written a book and your hard work should be wrapped up and showed off in the best way that is possible. The market is so varied and it is still growing. Always changing.

Last year I was involved in the publication of the Spectral Visions Press Tarot Collection book and I worked with an artist called Sacha Margestson. Thanks to Sacha the computer-generated book cover looked fantastic in the end. I remember reading, just lying around and mentally drifting, when I was inspired to sketch, very roughly, what I thought the cover of the book should look like and luckily my team agreed on my design.

I love the process of design and sometimes I wonder what is personally holding me back from doing it more often. For the past few years I have handcrafted every Christmas card that I’ve sent – although I’d say that my mum’s turn out at least twice as good. She’s amazing – and it’s a great feeling to have something that was your imagined idea come together in such a physical way.

It may not always be a complete joy – double-sided tape is both a blessing and a curse – but the process of creation should enhance how proud you feel that you accomplished such a feat. If you know what you want your book cover to look like then you should give it a go, make it happen and if you’re not sure then you can always ask someone that you trust because teamwork is sometimes the best option.

Be creative.


At the end of last week, on the train, I read A Dark Inheritance by Chris D’Lacy for the first time – I’ve had the book on my shelf for ages – and I really liked it even if I didn’t fall head over heels for it like his other series The Last Dragon Chronicles. Chris has a wonderful talent for ‘what if?’

At the beginning of this week I read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – another book I was reading for the first time. I’m trying to make some headway into getting through my ‘to-be-read’ pile – and I wasn’t sure of where it was going in the beginning but once it got into the swing of things I thought that the book was great. I liked the character Penelope in particular and I liked where the main characters ended up.

Today I took Beautiful Creatures with me. It’s a book I’ve read many times but it’s been a while. I find it to be such a lovely story, I adored every book in the series from the first time I read them and we watched the movie the other day. I’d seen it before when it first came out in the cinema but I found that I enjoyed it much more this second time, perhaps because it has been so long since I’d read the book. Although I try not to, it can sometimes be all too easy to compare a book and a film and find one of them lacking.


I’m trying something this month. I like the number 28 so I’m going to try and write 28 poems, one per day, and I have no idea if I’ll stick to it but I’m genuinely going to give it a go and now that I’ve written it on here I have to. (haha)

I’ll go ahead and show you what I scribbled down today:


It is always the little things.

The small moments. They matter.

It is what makes you Stop –

Pause – Think. It matters.

It matters. Reflect. Know.

Feel it. Really feel it and

sink into the moment. It

is the little things that matter.


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