Book Covers I: Done Last – But Seen First


Sometimes You Can Judge an Book by its Cover

One might meticulously craft a written piece, be it a novel in my case, or perhaps an important PowerPoint presentation. Yet, despite however good those words are, the first impression people will get is your book cover or first slide. There’s information out there regarding good book cover construction. I know, I looked. Here are a couple distilled points that resonated for my project.

First, you must win the war against complexity. Fight the urge to include every key item and/or character on your cover. Today, the majority of book buyers are not going to hold your book in their hand at a brick-and-mortar store. They are going to see a thumbnail at an e-retailer. Finely painted conflagrations of detail and layers of subtlety are probably not going to come across at that size. Simplicity sells. Help the viewer get one solid idea about your book at first glance.


For me, it started with doodles that crept onto pages of notes, or images that found themselves forming when I felt like sketching. An iconic image of the egress, the central piece of technology from the Tethered Worlds series. Its clean lines and planetary backdrop made for great imagery. Its simplicity also did not suck all the oxygen out of the cover, leaving room for one more element which I will cover in the next post. So communicate a clear, clean concept. It does not have to be completely understood, that is what the novel is for!

You will need to find someone who can bring your vision to reality, or you can do it yourself. Although I’m a professional artist, I decided I wanted a fresh, loose take on the cover I envisioned. I contracted a fine artist named Lorenz Hideyoshi Ruwwe. He started homing in on what I wanted from a detailed document I wrote which included examples of covers I thought good and subpar. I even included examples of his own work I wanted him to emulate style-wise.

The early roughs started coming in, and just from my document descriptions Lorenz starting getting the big picture.
The early roughs started coming in, and just from my document descriptions Lorenz starting getting the big picture.

A good novel or PowerPoint presentation may overcome a less than stellar cover or first slide. But why make your work jump that hurdle? Sure, some established authors need only put their name on the cover. But until then, novels are complex creations that need to be packaged in such a way that people will read them. So make sure all your work’s components are functioning well and pulling in the same direction. Don’t gloss over the small stuff. The cliché that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” IS a cliché because it is so often proven out.

*Relocated content originally posted at

▪ ▪ ▪

Tethered Worlds is a series upon which I have spent many non-writing months just working out the details. Be they creating a universe rich enough to support a series, or working out optimal text formatting. Read it for yourself and find out if it inspires you to create something and see it through to the end.

You can also check out Lorenz’s site and see his interesting work.

The Book Cover Series:

Done Last – But Seen First

Don’t Trip Running the Bases

Titles are Only Catchy if Comprehensible

Making a Superb Back Cover Blurb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s