How an Author and Book Cover Designer Work Together

The importance of a book cover can’t be overstated. A cover can make or break the book marketing and book publicity process, and affect how many readers pick your book up off the shelf.  You have a vision for your book, but communicating that vision to the person designing your book can be difficult.

We talk to Adam Sternbergh, author of The Blinds, and Ecco Books Associate Art Director Sara Wood about how they collaborated on this beautiful, intriguing book cover.

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Marketing tips for authors on working with book cover designers.Adam Sternbergh

Hi, I’m Adam Sternbergh, the author of The Blinds, and this is the cover of the The Blinds designed by …

Sara Wood:

I’m Sara Wood. I’m Associate Art Director at Echo Books and I designed The Blinds.

Andrea Thatcher:

So tell us a little bit about the process of working with the author on the book cover.

Sara Wood:

Well, any working with the author is definitely done through the editor. The editor is sort of the go-between. Not only does he guide your work, he also guides my work. And we’re talking about Zach, who’s an amazing editor here at Echo. So when I came with initial ideas, Zach was able to weigh in, knowing what Adam might’ve wanted to see on the cover. He knew that he wanted it to be bold. Your previous covers have all been very bold, great graphic. We knew we wanted this one to do a little bit of texture and grit to it and maybe go with photographic, but it still had to be bold. So we went with a very large typeface, as you can see, something that you might find on an abandoned sign in the desert, maybe a do not enter sign. Do you want to describe a little bit about the story as well?

Adam Sternbergh:

Sure. So The Blinds is about a remote town in rural Texas that is populated entirely by criminals who’ve had their memories erased in exchange for testimony. So it’s sort of a twist on the witness protection program. And in my initial conversations with Zach, my editor, we talked a lot about the sort of things we wanted the cover to communicate; a sense of isolation, the sense of being in a sort of rural setting, but also you want a sense of danger and that it’s thrilling. The problem is that remote can often read as boring, or tranquil, or placid. So that was sort of the conversation I had, which seemed like I was basically just setting up a lot of challenges, “Make it like this, make it like this, but don’t make it like this. Now go.” And then this is what we came up with.

Sara Wood:

Yeah, I mean, that was very exciting for me. Love a challenge. And really, I see my job as making a potential reader ask questions. I want them to look at the cover and say, “What is this about? What’s the light coming from within? Why does it feel partially sci-fi? Why does it look a little spooky?” So I knew that I couldn’t just have a desolate desert scene. It had to have something else about it. Something a little bit maybe more artistic to draw the reader in. And I think we really achieved it with this cover. I’m really happy with this. Thankfully I think everybody at Echo is really happy with it and we just want to get this book in as many hands as possible. You will not regret it. Such a good read.