Publishing FAQs: Book Covers

The cover design for a new book is something I really enjoy working on, and it’s often one of the author’s favourite parts of the production process too. However, it’s not without its challenges, such as choosing a good image (particularly as a lot of the subjects of our books are quite abstract), and the cover design process can be an unfamiliar and daunting prospect for some of our authors. In this post, I answer some frequently asked questions about the book cover design process.

The series design for SLA is possible with or without an image

Will I be able to choose my own cover design?

We have standard designs for all our series, so the design itself will be predetermined, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t be involved in the rest of the process! There’s usually flexibility regarding colour and image, and even more scope for creativity if your work is out of series.

Do I have to have an image?

Not necessarily. Some of our series designs are possible both with and without an image, so you may be able to choose, depending on which series your book is in. If you opt for a cover without an image, you can still get involved in the design process by letting us know your preferred colour scheme. And if the series requires an image, we’re always happy to help you choose and source it.

The cover art for Wei Ye’s book was created specially by an artist she knows, Mu Zi

Will I be able to choose the cover image?

Yes! We like authors to have plenty of input when it comes to deciding on the image for the cover, as ultimately we want them to have something they’re happy with and can be proud of. We receive all sorts of different images, including photographs taken by the authors themselves, artwork commissioned specially for the cover, “word clouds” and more! We will do our best to accommodate your choice, although there are a few criteria it will need to meet…

Can I use this photo of people on a beach I took on holiday?

That depends – do you have permission from the people in the photo to use it for this purpose? If not, I’m afraid we won’t be able to put it on the cover. Furthermore, when submitting a photo as a cover image, you need to be careful not only of the people visible in the photo but also any logos or branding that are central to the image.

What about this drawing my child did?

Absolutely, providing it will work for the cover of an academic book and the image is of a high enough quality. Our designers need the image resolution to be at least 300 dpi for it to be usable, as lower resolution images will quickly become fuzzy once they’ve been enlarged to fit the cover. What looks good on screen may not come out as well when printed by a high-quality printer, so we have to check that the quality is sufficient.

A cover that uses a stock image

What if I don’t have an image of my own?

Not to worry – we regularly use stock image libraries like iStockphoto and Shutterstock to source images for our books, so we always encourage our authors to have a look through them when they have an idea in mind but no image of their own. The sheer amount of choice the image libraries offer can be quite overwhelming, and it can be a bit of a treasure hunt sifting through all the generic or staged images to find what you have in mind. However, they have an incredibly wide range of images available, and we’re sure to find the right one with enough digging!

An informal photo-shoot arranged by the editors

None of the stock images of children look natural, what can I do? 

You might be able to set up an informal photo shoot – perhaps you have young family members, friends or neighbours who’d love to feature on the cover of a book! We can provide a template letter of permission for you to give to parents or guardians to sign and are always happy to give the models a copy of the printed book in thanks.

 

Flo

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