Do Authors Need to Choose Their Own Book Covers?

Designing a book cover can be tricky. When it comes to publishing a book with a publisher, you may be wondering if the author of the book plays a role in the choosing and creation of the book’s cover?

Authors typically do not have much of a role in the process of creating a book cover. Designers and publishers are the ones who usually make or break the cover. Authors can get their agents to negotiate cover input before signing a contract.

A great cover can help boost sales. If you want to know if authors choose their own book covers, check out this article.

The Cover Design Process

If you are a writer and would like to have your book cover designed, you should know there is a process to it. You likely will not get too much creative control, which is why you have a team of professionals to help. The cover design process typically involves a meeting where the titles and subtitles are suggested.

Each professional plays a specific role during these meetings:

  • The editor typically speaks to the author’s taste.
  • Sales and marketing present market perspectives, as they are the guiding tool to make informed decisions concerning the cover.

There will likely be several incarnations of book covers until the final one is approved.

What Should an Author Ask About During the Design Process?

Authors rarely have legal control over their covers. However, feedback and input from the author are welcome. The goal is to arrive at a decision that will appease everyone involved. If you have an agent, bring up your ideas, and they will help you navigate the meetings.

Some concerns you should bring up to the agent:

  • Where do you visualize your book fitting in
  • Why specific ideas do not fit with your vision
  • Why do you want it presented in a certain way
  • Who is the audience you are targeting

These are all matters you should take to your agent. It is important to note that publishers want the author to like the cover and for their ideas to be appreciated. Everyone on the team wants the book to be a success. The goal is to successfully sell the book, which is why you want an agent and a publisher you can trust.

What Happens If People Do Not Like the Cover of My Book?

Whenever a cover comes out that the readers do not like, the author takes the brunt of the blame. It is a frustrating concept because the author does not usually have authoritative control over the cover.

In a traditional publishing situation, the author often receives an e-mail that displays the cover, and they do not have much of a say. Sometimes, the author can give their opinion, but the publisher will often override what the author wants.

It is not exactly fair for an author not to have some creative input in the cover because they are the ones who are sacrificing a piece of their baby to others who do not have as much stake in the outcome other than financially.

Authors should have some say because it is, after all, their book. If people do not like the cover and the author did not design it, the author may feel like they were duped out of an important decision concerning their book. However, there are arguments you could make for the other side of the coin.  

Reasons Why Authors Should Not Design Their Book Covers

 A cover represents the book like no other aspect of the book. There are many reasons why authors should not design their book covers. While it is their book, it may not be a good idea for some authors. Here’s why.

They Utilize Templates

Many self-publishing platforms allow you to choose a book cover. However, most of the time, you get what you pay for. Free does not always mean good. A lot of times, the cover will turn out unprofessional looking. Templates will not make your book cover very interesting. Professional book cover designing is the way to go.

They Are Not Professional Designers

Most authors do not have design training and do not know the concepts involved in creating a book cover that will generate interest and sales. Designing a book requires the technical ability to produce a professional-looking, quality result.

It will be evident if you lack the skill to accomplish this task. There is a difference between having a book cover design that looks like an elementary school kid did it or you could have a very professional-looking and impeccable cover design that turns heads at the library or bookstore.

They Come Up with Contrived Concepts

When you work with a designer, you will see several concepts, not just get stuck on one. You may have an idea you are sure will work, but when you try to put that idea into a picture, it falls flat. You could get stuck on that concept and never get the right cover. However, with a professional designer, they will give you more than one idea, which is ideal.

They Do Not Understand Design Elements

Most designers have some idea of what will work and what will not work. It is easy to understand why, for example, a book cover for a sports-related book does not jive with a cover for a fantasy fiction book. The two were not meant to go together.

You must research other successful books in your genre to know what fits. Do not copy it but emulate it if you struggle to figure out the right cover. When figuring out what picture works best with your book, please leave it to the professionals to help you determine the right way to go.

They Do Not Have Good Strategies for Selling it

If you are self-publishing, our book will not likely be sold to the masses. However, you will be selling your book on the internet. An author’s primary goal is to make people want to click on your book to find out more and motivate them to purchase. You want a professional designer to help you sell your book.


An author should have some say in the cover of their book. However, you can trust a publisher to choose a cover to generate and increase sales. Most of the time, the author does not have authority regarding their book cover. If you see a book cover you do not like, do not be so quick to blame the author.