How to brief a Book Cover Designer?

Are you ready to hire a Book Cover Designer? I am too.

I have already talked about how important it is to have an awesome book cover. So I think I’ve been pretty clear that you have to hire a professional, not your cousin or your neighbour (except if they’re book cover designers, of course).

In the past, I had used Fiverr to do my ebook cover. However, I found out it was difficult to get the cover I wanted, to pass on the general mood of the book to the designer. As I am now ready to hire a professional for my non-fiction project, I made a bit of research beforehand. We wouldn’t like to get a cover that is completely out of topic, would we?

So, how do you brief a Book Cover Designer?

Reedsy has a couple of recommendations when briefing designers. It also has a huge database of professionals that you can ask for a quote. Furthermore, it invites the author to prepare the brief before even contacting the freelancer. That’s how I realised that it might be more complicated than I thought…

There are many things you can ask a designer for:

  • Book interior design; 
  • Book cover;
  • Illustration;
  • Production management;
  • Typography.

If you’re only looking for a book cover, then it’s pretty easy. But if you have other needs, it might be interesting to have a look at the other services. I didn’t even know they were doing production management, I thought the task would fall to me… We are learning every day.

Don’t forget the basis…

That’s the part I think I failed when I briefed the freelancer on Fiverr. Of course, you wrote the book so you know everything about it. But transcribing it in simple words to someone else is a challenge. You’ve got to make sure that they get the right mood, the right feel about it. Even if you say that the genre is Epic Fantasy or Contemporary Romance, some people might just be off-topic. 

That’s why it’s important to give the designer some of the book covers that you like and that are in the genre of your book baby. Maybe have a Pinterest board with inspirations, or just send them a couple of examples for them to know what’s the tone you’d like the cover to have.

Then, of course, it’s better if you’ve done some research on your target audience. You won’t have the same cover if your readership is children, young adults or adults, will you?

And last but not least: communication! You’ll be working a professional. There’s a part of trust, indeed, but if you think something is off, don’t hesitate to say it. 


  • Know your audience;
  • Know the genre of your book;
  • Prepare a book blurb;
  • Gather some inspirational covers;
  • Have an idea of the material you might need;
  • Communicate.

I will, of course, let you know how my experience went with briefing a professional book cover designer for my non-fiction project. And I hope your brief will be as perfect as it can be.

Wanna share your experience briefing a cover designer?
Don’t hesitate to tweet me @vdvestelle