Cover/Jacket Design Guidelines for Authors

We look forward to producing an outstanding cover for your book. Following is a basic overview of the cover design process. The design of the cover is the responsibility of the press staff. Author suggestions are critical to the process, but the final decision rests with the press editors and designers. Your editor will work with you on steps 1-3 of the process. Step 4 is managed by Leslie Starr, assistant director and marketing manager.

Step 1: Author input. Your input is essential and will be most effective if given before we start the design process. We would like your thoughts about what the overall feeling of the cover should be. Now is the time to tell us everything you can about what your preferences are for the cover. We may not be able to accomplish everything you ask for, but we will take all of your suggestions seriously. (Please do not send design mock-up(s), even if it is by a graphic designer, for us to look at. A list or brief paragraph of suggestions and preferences is much more constructive and helpful.)

Step 2: Select cover artwork. Please let us know if there is specific artwork you wouldlike us to consider for the front cover of the book. If your book has illustrations, one of these illustrations may be suitable for use on the cover. We will want to view the image(s) you are interested in, and decide what will work, given the dimensions of the book, the intended market, and the potential cost and availability of the image. If you do not have specific art in mind for the cover, please give us general ideas or suggestions. For example, should it be historical? A painting or photograph? From any particular period or artist? Should it be colorful or monotone? Abstract or more literal?

Step 3: Get permission for cover art and a high resolution digital file. Once cover art has been selected, either you or the press will secure permission to use the image on the book cover, obtain a high-resolution image and the exact wording of the credit line. If at all possible, we would prefer that cover art be free, but if a permission fee is necessary we do have a budget of $250 to help cover this expense. Fees above $250 will be the responsibility of the author unless mutually agreed upon to be the responsibility of the press. If you are the one getting the permission, your editor can help you draft the letterof request.

Resolution is extraordinarily important! Art needs to be a minimum of 300 DPI (dots perinch), at the reproduction size. A 300 DPI scan cannot be enlarged more than about 10% without noticeable “bit-mapping.” Line art (black & white drawings, etc.) should bescanned at a minimum of 1000 DPI, preferably 1200 DPI. A “tif” file is better than a“jpg.”

Step 4: Art and directions go to the designer and the designer sends us a design. Leslie sends the cover art to the designer along with the art direction that has been developed by you and your editor. The designer creates the design that they feel is strongest. The press reviews the design, and may ask for modifications before sharing the design with you. Once we are happy with the design, then we will share it with you and ask for your feedback. We will consider any comments you give us with the understanding that the process is in the last stages. Please try to separate functional suggestions (e.g. "the title seems to large") from preferential comments (e.g., "I really hate red"). We will discuss potential changes with you and we will be clear with you as to what sorts of changes we feel can or should be made. We will go back to the designer for changes at our discretion and we will show you the final design. As soon as the front cover is finalized, it will be shown in the fliers, the catalog and on web pages, at which point it is cumbersome and costly to make further changes.