DIY Cover Design Checklist

Consider these items when designing a book cover. Don’t rush the revisions. Just because a good book is written, doesn’t mean anyone will read it. Packaging for a target audience is what sells the book. Compare the best in your genre, book size, and include the consider the readers.


Compare Genre Cover Art:
CEO at 20 would probably appeal to teens and college students. The imagery should reflect this. These 3 book covers appeal to that market.
MWA Inc-DIY Cover Design
  1. The Entrepreneur Mind is a best seller. The book thumbnail image is impressive and clear. Most people will not recognize your name, so the title needs to catch their eye.
  2. The College Entrepreneur has numerous reviews and a 5 star rating. It’s color is catchy and the image tells a simplistic story.
  3. Millennial Millionaire shows a young man, mid 20’s. Hire someone you know that looks the part of a CEO at 20. The CEO can be either an attractive male or female or both depending on your audience. My thoughts would be in dress shirt and swim trunks working in a fun environment. Not an office because, that’s cliche and probably not the case of entrepreneurs.


Compare Genre Book Size:


The Little Blue Book of Reasoning by Brandon Royal is small in size. Your book title says, “Little Book…” Why not make the print book small and within industry standards. One of my favorite business books, The Greatest Salesman in the World, is small enough to slide in my back pocket or cargo shorts. The dimensions are located in the book description online.


Request Reader Feedback:
Before you publish your book, get readers involved. Use to for feedback. Consider your reading demographic’s input for solid input. Or get input from publishing professionals.

“How did you become Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge?”—Anna Faktorovich, PhD Interview

Faktorovich: You also served as a Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards judge. How did you win this job? Did somebody else nominate you or did you nominate yourself? You won several awards from this group, so did they automatically nominate you to judge when you hit a certain number of award wins? Beyond what appears on the official rules for contests, what practically makes a difference between illustrations that win an award and those that don’t? Is there an obvious difference between the winners and losers? And if so, what are the most common mistakes made by the losers?

IMG_0638Adams: I met the Readers’ Favorite founder, Debra Gaynor, several times in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville and Frankfort. She solicited me like every author who had a quality book that would grow the now international Reader’s Favorite Awards and Review program. Jilli, That’s Silly! written by Christa Carpenter, received a gold medal and I planned to attend the ceremony in Miami. Debra also invited me to present on the Value of Illustration during the Readers’ Favorite two night annual awards ceremony. While at breakfast, I sketched in my current Best Sketchbook. James Ventrillo, current CEO of Readers’ Favorite, introduced himself and began an impromptu interview for the Reader’s Favorite Illustration Awards judge position.

IMG_0523The awards won through their organization did not automatically make me judge. Professional experience earned the position. Several hundred books in various genres are submitted each year. Judging occurs throughout the year based on: character development, storytelling, cover design, layout, etc. Once a book is scored, the score is final. Until the scoring is complete, who the winner is remains a surprise for them and me.

We’ve all seen books that are obvious winners and losers. I judge on the criteria specifically. Common mistakes made are strong illustrations and a weak graphic design. Cover design is 10 points. If the cover design scores low, great illustrations may not win. Another common mistake is inexperience. The art must relay the story to a non-reader.

My biggest reward in participating as the Readers’ Favorite Illustration Awards Judge is hearing a winner say, “I didn’t think I was that good,” or “There are more talented artists than me.” Receiving feedback from your peers is important!


Read the complete interview with Mark Adams, Award-Winning IllustratorAdams-Author Bio with Anna Faktorovich, PhD