AUTHOR GUIDE

The complete details of our publishing process can be found in this guide. The full text is available here. You can browse the chapters and sections using the menu on your right (or below, for mobile devices).

COVER

In this section:

Author involvement

Choosing a picture

Cover Schedule

Writing the back-cover copy

Currency Prices

ISBN

Author photo

Own designer

Marketing use

Using the cover font

Cover images

Finish

On the Production page, there are several help icons relating to the cover; in the Editorial section, we have the final back-cover copy:

Author involvement

  • If you are a bestselling author, most publishers will work closely with you on the cover. If you are a first-time author (or, really, anyone other than a "brand name"), it is unlikely that any publisher will give you any input into the cover at all, because it can generate a wholly disproportionate amount of work in relation to the likely returns. So we adopt a halfway position. We encourage you to choose your image, from Adobe Stock when the book goes into production. So we take your opinions into account, but it is down to the designer, who will query with the Editorial Manager any image cover deemed not strong enough, or right for the genre.
  • Covers, in image and approach, generally need to reflect readers expectations. Buyers will turn books down if the cover is not appropriate.
  • For children's books (Our Street and Lodestone Imprints), it is particularly important to choose a cover that's suitable for the age range and audience. The imprint publisher will check the image is suitable, and if not, choose another.  

Choosing a picture

  • Please visit Adobe Stock and choose two or three images (there is no need to join Adobe Stock; just type the image you want to find into the search window on their home page and click on "Go"). When selecting an image make sure to employ different strategies in your search. For example, think of your target audience and what cover might appeal to them; don’t just enter words from the title of the book, use keywords that relate to the subject of the book and search for those as well. Research bestsellers on Amazon to see what is popular in the genre or for the same age range. The cover will be the first point of contact that most people have with your book and the image should invoke the curiosity and interest of the reader. Please note: Adobe has just introduced a Premium Collection and the image prices for these range from around $120/£80 to $600/£400. When choosing an image please make sure you do not choose anything that says “Premium” (unless you are prepared to pay the premium price).
  • If you do want the designer to consider another image, add it to “Cover” (click on “+upload a file,” select "Other", and name it "Cover Idea"), but it needs to be copyright-cleared by you and in high-res (300ppi) jpeg format. Add any credits for artwork to the “Back Cover Copy” section, or post them on the forum.
  • If you wish to acknowledge the author of the book’s Introduction or Preface on the front cover, add that information to “Workflow Notes” (e.g. “please include ‘Introduction by Bob Dylan’ on the front cover”) and the designer will include it. As a rule don’t bother to do this unless the person is well-known in their field and likely to generate extra interest. Don’t include this unless you already have the Introduction or Preface to hand (lots of people who offer an introduction end up too busy to write it in time).
  • If you want a snippet from an endorsement it must be from an endorsement already loaded on the database, not just one that has been promised. Make a note in the “Cover” workflow stage. For example: “please add ‘…a work of genius, my Bible', David Cameron PM’ to the front cover.”
  • There is not enough space for both an endorsement and an Introduction/Preface acknowledgement on the front cover.

Cover schedule

  • The cover designer is notified to start work on the front cover when the copyedited manuscript is approved by you. The full cover is produced when the text proofs are finished. We leave it till then so we have the spine width, and to make a selection of any endorsements that have come in the meantime.
  • The designer will take note of any images you have uploaded to Production. Add any preferences you have there for any particular endorsements or other copy.
  • We do not get into correspondence on the cover. It is too subjective an area, and corrections/amendments can be endless. Once you've uploaded your preferred image(s) the design team will take it from there and you won't have to do anything else. The "Approve/Confirm" button is for editorial use only.
  • We cannot change the price on the cover after the publication date has been set and the information sent out to the trade.

Writing the back-cover copy

  • We produce the back-cover copy. The editor will work with the information and endorsements that are available on the Book Details page. They will use their best judgment. We do not get into correspondence on this. Authors invariably want more copy. Sales people are always asking us to have less. The purpose of the back-cover copy is to catch attention and direct the reader into the book, not to explain it. 150 words is generally around the maximum, including endorsements.
  • We add one, two or three snippets/extracts of endorsements from those you have entered on the database in the order you have entered them (i.e. from the first endorsement or the first and second if we use two), depending on the amount of copy/space/quality of endorsements etc.
  • Endorsements for the back cover need to be brief. Full endorsements, if there are sufficient, can be added to the front of the book, at or before the stage of second proofs. It does not matter if endorsements are duplicated on the back-cover copy and in the prelims. Some publishers put endorsements in capitals, some in italics with quotation marks, others in italic with no quotation marks, or they ring the changes—we generally use italics with no quotation marks, as we do in the text itself; it makes the most sense to us.

Currency prices

  • We only show USA and UK prices. The distributors do not want us to show other currencies. See Price

ISBN

  • The International Standard Book Number given to your book makes it available from any database anywhere in the world.
  • Ordering, everywhere in the world, is done by the ISBN rather than author/title. We give it a number when we enter it on the website.
  • When ordering a book it’s always better to quote your ISBN (you need to quote all the 13 digits) rather than the title. Distributors stock hundreds of thousands of titles, and many of them are similar.
  • During 2006/2007 ISBNs switched from 10 digits to 13 digits. The 10-digit numbers are still in use on older titles. On the Book Details page we keep this reference for loading sales. The additional box for ISBN: when we publish a new edition of a title, which happens if there are substantial changes, amounting to rewriting the book rather than a few corrections, we need a new ISBN for it. This box is for keeping a record of the old ISBN, so that sales are recorded on the same page.

Author photo

  • We do not usually have a photo on the back cover, they are mostly used for self-help and business books in North America (but if you do want it there, make a note).

Own designer

  • Sometimes authors like to design a cover themselves, or have a friendly designer who would like to create it. We no longer accommodate this. The covers on the website that look amateurish are ones that authors provided. Sometimes they have been professional, but have still cost us more overall even if the design was provided for free. Much of the work in the cover for instance is not just the image but the dimensions, spine width, coding, preparation for printer, schedule, amendments etc… We cannot, for instance, work with "wrap-around" images, that cover the front, spine and back. Because we have to adjust the spine differently for the North American and UK markets, as the printers use a slightly different paper, which bulks differently. Potential problems here are endless, and we cannot produce different designs for different markets. We prefer to work with the designers we know, who are familiar with our work and our systems. It is rare otherwise for it to run through smoothly, and the eventual result is not normally as good.

Marketing use

  • You can use the cover yourself if you wish. It is available on the Production page in low and high resolution as a jpeg and, depending on where you are in the process, the files are available in “Workflow: Cover” section, or in “Production: Final Files.” The full front and back cover is available as a PDF. You can also use it in any other ways you want to promote your work, whether for workshops, your profile on the internet, for audios or CDs, etc. Click on the cover you wish to use and copy it to your own system. If you want to extract the image, or part of it, the PDF viewer allows you to mark and extract any part of the PDF file and save it as a jpeg (or most other graphics formats). Here is what you do:
    • Open the PDF file and enlarge the window as much as you can.
    • Click "Tools," then "Select & Zoom," then "Snapshot Tool."
    • Mark the entire cover, or the part of it you are interested in by clicking-and-holding on one corner, moving to the opposite corner, and releasing.
    • You will get a message that the image has been copied.
    • Open a jpeg viewer like IrfanView (free to download).
    • Paste in its window; Click "File," then "Save As."
    • Choose "jpeg" underneath.
    • Click "Save."
  • If there is a problem opening Irfanview, its sometimes because the "Paste" command from the "File" pulldown menu does not recognize that the clipboard has an image already copied in it. You can try to go around it by clicking on the IrfanView window and then typing "CTRL" simultaneously with "V."
  • For a Vector or Photoshop image for use by another designer in marketing, the best thing is for the designer to download the cover image directly from Adobe Stock at the resolution they need.
  • The final hi-res cover that we enter is always going to be 300ppi, which is suitable for most marketing needs. As for the vector aspect, only the type will be outlined but not the raster image, which may be pointless since it is not advisable to enlarge a raster image (it will only get blurry).
  • There is no need to acknowledge copyright of Adobe Stock pictures on publicity material. 

Using the cover font

Cover images

  • The low resolution images (72dpi) are used for advertising, website, emails, press releases etc. Hi resolution images (300 dpi) are used for printing the finished covers.

Finish

  • Our default cover finish is matt. In some cases, a gloss cover is going to look better. Dark covers, black or navy blue, often leave streaking, with a matt finish. We make that decision.
  • Covers with special finishes, embossing, cut-outs, etc. are only practical if you are already selling in the tens/hundreds of thousands. It means much longer print runs, at different printers in North America and the UK.

©2016 John Hunt Publishing Ltd.