The Making of My Book Cover

As some of you may already know, aside from being a writer, I’m also a graphic designer. If you’re self-publishing your book(s) like I am, and you’re designing your book cover, or if you’re getting it designed, I hope this post will be helpful to you in some way.

The Design Process
Before getting started, I made sure to keep the following things in mind:
1. My book cover has to stand out as a thumbnail and as a large image.
2. The message has to be clear and simple.
3. The design has to fit my genre, which in my case is contemporary fiction.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted two things on my book cover:
Coffee and the color, mustard yellow. If and when you get a chance to read my book, you’ll see why.

Coffee: I thought of quite a few image ideas for coffee. I thought of using coffee rings, coffee mugs, espresso cups, coffee beans, coffee shops and the list goes on. Below are only some of the images I considered, which I took myself, except for the last one on the right.

Because my novel is a love story, I wanted that to be clear on the cover. The challenge was how to show that using a coffee image. I thought about using an image of a cup/mug with a heart shaped coffee froth/foam, but for some reason it seemed too common. Later, I came up with the idea of coffee beans shaped into a heart. I searched the web to see if they already existed and found a few online, but none of them looked right for my book. That’s when I decided to create my own coffee bean heart. In order to do this, all I needed was a camera and a bag of coffee beans that I would shape into a heart on a sheet of paper.

It took many tries. Below are only a few examples.

Mustard yellow: I always knew I wanted this to be the background of whatever image I would end up picking.

In February of 2012, I designed a few versions of my book cover. Below is what I originally picked as my final design.

In September of this year, I went back and looked at my original design and thought that the solid mustard yellow seemed too rich. I wanted it to be simpler but still punchy. That’s when I thought of adding the gradient.

Here is the final design of my book cover, front, spine and back. I’m still editing the copy on the back cover, so what you’ll see here is for placement only.


Designing my book cover was such a fun break from writing and editing. I would definitely do it again.