10 Important Tips for your Book Cover Design

LisaHainline12by Lisa Hainline of  Lionsgate Book Design

No matter how much we ’shouldn’t judge a book by its cover’ unfortunately most people still do. Can you risk putting so much time and money into a book that people will not pick up? Don’t rush this important aspect of the book as it could be the lifeline of the book, so consider a spirit of excellence when you consider hiring a professional to design it, and consider what drove you to write the book in the first place.

1. ) Know your audience.

When designing a cover, you first need to define the target audience; who are they and would attract that readership? If your audience is mostly women, then creating a masculine cover would not make women pick up your cover. Marketing statistics have a few guidelines to also consider, such as how Women will pick up a cover with a man on the front but not vice versa. Speak to your audience. (Christians; the Lord may have given you a “vision” for your story but that may have been to keep you focused on the goal and intent and not necessarily for the front cover image that will inspire your readers. They are reading for a different reason than you are writing for most of the time.) Know what is PROMISED in your book, meaning what will the reader get out of reading your book and why should they even pick it up.

I designed these covers to attract a different audience for each book. Though many different demographic groups may be interested in reading the books, can you name an age group and sex which may appeal to each of these?

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2.) Know your competition.

With over 3,000,000 books being published yearly, yours has to stand out and you should be aware of those it will stand up against in a line-up on sites like Amazon. If you can, research books like yours to see what is out there and at least look at top-selling authors to see the types of covers that DO sell. If your book looks like it was done in 1957 by a very unprofessional outfit, who will buy it? KEEP IT TIMELY!

I designed the book on the left…which one intrigues you more? Do you get a different feel about the message inside based on the cover?

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000448_00012]    513D5FNAZSL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_


 3.) Keep it simple

You don’t have to show every character in the story (if fiction) nor a complicated scene out of the book but make more of a “reference” in imagery, giving a HINT of what we can see inside to entice them.

The covers below I designed to show a PART of a scene, (not a whole story line) which still intrigues  the reader to want to find out what the rest of the book is about.

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4.) Title should be easy to read.

If people have to search for the title as they skim the shelves or online book source, they may pass it by.  If your title is too long, the same thing may happen but it helps to have one or two words larger than the rest (see image below).

All 3 of these covers I designed giving more importance to some words over others. 

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I designed the book cover on the left…which one can you read…which one would you buy?

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5.) Consider the thumbnail.

Again, look at the book images above. Consider your present cover design at about 2 inches high, as that is how it will be shown at times on such sites as Amazon. You don’t have to make the subtitle readable at this size for the whole cover may be screaming by then and people will read the description if the image and title are grabbing them.

Below are 2 covers on Amazon and at the size you will see them at. I designed the one on the left…which can you read at this size? Which would you buy, and why?
The next two are more examples of hard-t0-read-titles on Amazon.

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6.) Font choice should fit the book.

Don’t use dated fonts such as comic sans unless it’s a humor book. Fiction books can get away with fonts that have more drama or are more creative but they should still be easy to read and fit the design. This is where you really have to rely on a seasoned graphic designer with a proven portfolio.

The top 3 book covers have text fonts that are just not showing off the book well.

516a60LOCBL._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_   51cn6OVmlVL    Worst-Christian-Book-Covers-of-2014-3

Here are 4 covers that I designed for Christian authors where I had room to play with the fonts to suit the story feel.

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7.) Color is important.

Your book needs to catch the reader’s eye even before they read the title, so make it attractive. If it looks like Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and your design fights with your headline, readers may pass it by for a more simple and easy-to-read design (remember step above). In saying that, white book covers may not pop on book sites such as Amazon.

Below are 3 covers that may just be a little much…or off-putting choices that confuse the reader where to look or are just uncomfortable to look at.

51BXAWgaDtL   51SbLpkN87L   51eMBMPHZmL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

Below are 3 covers that I designed using an array of colors that are hopefully a little more  easy on the eyes and guide you into what the author wants you to know about the book.

AMES_SSG_COV2-1000   Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00005]  foodforthought_Thumb


8.) Don’t use your own artwork

…or that of your children and friends. We love them…but they may not be the best fit for the audience and feel of your book and rarely works. When I search out illustrators I consider hundreds of styles to find the right fit, and search through stock photo sources that have a catalog of billions of images. This is NOT the place to save money!

Here is a “before/after” that I redesigned for a client for a more professional look, though I know she loves her son and would display his work anywhere else in the house.












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9.) Avoid junking it up

…Gradients, images in boxes, loud or garish images, cartoons or clipart, and certainly no fluffy clouds, or ocean scenes (unless it’s a travel guide to the Virgin Islands).  I would throw in their sunsets or sunrises but as a Christian book cover designer, I have found that there are ways to sometimes incorporate these to create peace and inspire the atmosphere that some Christian books need (already showed you a bunch of these!).


10.) Finally, Avoid doing your own cover.

You may think you have great ideas but you’re not impartial, nor a seasoned professional graphic designer, and even then, don’t do it. I am my own worse client and can’t design myself out of a box when it comes to my own material. You would be hard pressed to find a best-selling author who designs their own covers.

Who doesn’t love “before / after” shots?

Below are just a few of my redesigns on reprints or just when the author knew that the book they are selling…
is not selling.



front cover designsm

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00072]

Christian Book Cover, Before and after, Cross and crucifixion
Christian Book Cover Before & After


Sometimes it doesn’t take much. Lorilyn went from selling about 30 books a month with this design to an average of 385 per month, and won 3 book awards and 1 cover design award with this new revamp.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00072]


Lisa Hainline is the designer and owner of Lionsgate Book Design. Lisa has over 38 years of design, illustration and marketing for major corporations such as Kimberly Clark, Sargento, Miller Brewing Co., Coors, Mercury Ourboards and others but now spends her efforts helping authors but a “face to the baby” with cover design but other marketing and promotional materials as well. Contact Lisa Hainline for a quote on your next project.

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Are BOOK TRAILERS worth the money?

There is much debate on why or if it’s wise to get a book trailer made on a specific book and my number first response on anything is always; “pray on it”. Ask Daddy. Who knows the future besides Him? My second response is; “if you can afford it”.

Misty Taggert at Trailer to the Stars is one of the best book and speaker trailer producers that I’ve come across, and having many years of experience in TV & Motion Pictures has given Misty a sensativity to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to marketing a project.  Read what Misty has to say about them and how you can use them to best market your manuscript to get the most success out of all that you’ve put into it.

Lisa Hainline – http://www.lionsgatebookdesign.com

Below are two videos that Misty did for Lionsgate clients.



The Care and Feeding of a Book Video

by Misty Taggart, Exec. Producer

First of all, where are most of your potential readers hanging out these days? That’s right, the Internet. Are you taking full advantage of the power that is literally at your finger tips … mostly for free? Are you giving your book every opportunity to be successful?

Video trailers are fast becoming an essential aspect of book promotion for the same reasons that video is becoming an essential aspect of business promotion in general. Book Video Trailers are promotional tool in today’s marketplace. If you don’t already have one as a part of your marketing plan … it’s time to get serious about it.

Think about the last time you went to the movies. Before the feature started they ran movie trailers. Those trailers either made you say ‘Don’t want to see that movie’ or ‘I have to see that movie.’ If you had not seen the trailer, you might have never even thought about going to see it. A book video trailer does the same thing in one to two and a half minutes … it brings to life your written word. Done well, a video trailer of your book will create lots of Internet buzz …. , pre-sales, and sales.

Sure, you can go right ahead and market your book without a trailer and simply hope your reader is grabbed by the cover art or perhaps scans the back of your book for details, but that does not have the impact of a video trailer. Your mission is to sell yourself and your books

It’s not as easy as it looks. But, if you want the newest and most effective way to promote and sell your book, that answer is simple … and tested. You need a professional Video Trailer. Yes, they do work for fiction and non-fiction. Samples of all genres are available for viewing at http://www.trailertothestars.com  or on our YouTube site: http://www.YouTube.com/booksinmotion

Using Book Trailers to Market Your Book:

Your video trailer can be used in many ways here are a few suggestions:

Book Signings – loop it on a CD and play it at the book store. It will get lots of attention and bring people to your signing table with book in hand.

Blog Tours – either you or your PR person will be setting up blogs to interview you or to review your book. Your trailer should be shown on each and every one of them, with the offer to anyone to grab the ’embed code’ … and place it on their website or blog.

Website Promotion: Of course, place it front and center on your own website and/or blog, with a BUY BUTTON only a couple of pixels away.

Media Kits: Put a CD in your author publicity kit.

Social Networks: Be sure you are signed up for as many of the social networking sites that suit your market as you can find. (Goodreads, FaceBook, YouTube, Shoutlife!, Tangle, MyPage, Redroom.com, and many, many others. Upload your video to all of them. Many sites simply need your YouTube ’embed code.’ Be sure you have opened a YouTube account.

Book store sites: Amazon (Create an Amazon Author Connect Account) Check with other book store sites that are carrying your title and send their marketing person a copy of your Video.

Speaking Engagements: Have it shown prior to a speaking engagement. Make sure that it is playing on your book tables.

Handouts: Burn lots and lots of CDs and DVDs … they are not expensive. Give them out to everyone you meet; at work, church, parties and don’t forget local businesses. Just take a few around and ask if they will set them by the checkout and offer them FREE! Don’t miss a chance to get it into the hands of potential readers.

DON’T FORGET YOUR PUBLISHER! They will be thrilled that you have a video. Not only will they want to put it on their website, but they will also give copies to their sales staff. It causes excitement and gets your book on the store shelves.

Book store sites: Amazon (Create an Amazon Author Connect Account) Check with other book store sites that are carrying your title and send their marketing person a copy of your Video.

For more information on how you can get a dynamic book trailer for your book, Contact Misty Taggart at 602-402-6328

The Care and Feeding of a Book Video by Misty Taggart
©2010 Misty Taggart, Trailer to the Stars!


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Best Marketing Tips and Advice for Your Book Success

You’re NOT SELLING A BOOK you are selling yourself. Credibility and accountability are huge and you are building your career and introducing yourself to the industry, having a voice that SHOULD be listened to and a voice / message that others can trust. With over 3,000,000 books being printed yearly, WHY SHOULD ANYONE LISTEN TO YOU? You can’t market yourself unless you answer that. You should not even print your book unless you can answer that question.

Author Debbie Wilson with Paula Zahn before her interview on The Paula Zahn Show (episode #132)

More suggestions: 

EXPERT ENDORSEMENTS: Get endorsements from experts within your industry or recognizable names. This association will add professionalism to your name and work. They may want to help promote you or give you testimonials for your book also, inside the book or in promoting it.

MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Does your topic connect to breaking news? The media is interested in tying related topics to the news happening right now and may be open to your message if it’s related to current news. Contact the appropriate venue as an author with knowledge on the topic.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS: Speak on your topic. There may be organizations linked to your topic or genre that are open to speakers. There are speaker’s websites where you can list your services. Hospitals, schools, churches, clubs and other organizations have classes, symposiums, etc, or there are conferences that may be open to having you help out. Keep a record of your speaking engagements, who your audience is and the number of attendees. Speak for free if you have to (some venues will not value you if you do not charge a small fee) and also look into teaching adult extended learning classes in your city.

BOOKSTORES: Be a friend to All bookstores. Never walk by a bookstore without going in and introducing yourself, and Be sure to have promotional materials on hand for each visit. Shake the hands of managers and employees and thank them for helping in the success of your book. A personal touch to those directly dealing with consumers may result in the suggestion of your book to potential readers. Gift stores that carry books are also in this category. Stores that suit your genera/topic may also be enticed to carry your book as one of it’s products.

PRESS KITS: Pull together a PRESS KIT early in your publishing endeavor. Your kit should include a one-page press release highlighting your unique direction and the benefit of your content, an author bio and perhaps a photo and a sell-sheet(or “Onesheet” as they are called in circles. See example below.) with book ordering information. You can even include extras, such as a jpeg of your author photo and book cover, an article detailing the key elements of your book and storyline, a DVD containing your media clips, and a mock interview with ten questions and answers that may be used for print media or an actual interview.

Example of “onesheet” created for author and speaker Marni Spencer-Devlin.

Volunteer for a local charity. Most of the time local charities can use an extra hand, especially if the person is a prolific and knowledgeable writer. Use your talents and skills to do something good.

Teach a class. Check with local colleges to see if they need a part-time English or writing teacher. Start your own writing club. Ask local churches and private schools to hire you on part-time as a co-op instructor.

Write articles for e-zines. there are many sources who will accept your “how to” and tie it to your “expertise” and subject that you write for and then post your site or buying info about your book below it. Read this for more info on how to write for ezines;

NEW SHELVES DISTRIBUTION is helping a few of my clients get seen: http://www.newshelvesdistribution.com
Events: I have an author getting tons of success at http://www.eventbrite.com , with event planners opening up arms to give her space at their event.

Book signings / readings at your local bookstore or library is a great idea if they are receptive.

author Debbie Wilson at one of her book signings. Retractable sign at left was designed by Lisa Hainline at http://www.lionsgatebookdesign.com

Associations that deal with your book topic may post your info or do a review on you.
Magazines are also looking for new material and may do a book review for you, like Precious Times Magazine (Marilyn White, on linkedin) does reviews and advertising for African-American women.

PRESS RELEASES to news organizations. (One client of mine got a call from Paula Zahn and went to do an interview in NY over her book about the murder of her sister many years ago and the capture of the killer.)

BLOG TOURS; many successful bloggers want new material on their blog and want the exposure so there may be book blogs, self-help blogs or any blog geared towards the subject of your book. Blog tours help exposure and also posting on forums linked to your genre or area where your demographic audience is going for information, linking back to your book sales.

BOOK TRAILERS: Book Trailer posted on YOU TUBE (and on your website, in email promotions, Amazon author page, linkedin, etc)

Amazon Author page profile
Amazon reviews of your book from friends and colleagues that have read it
Create a Listmania list on Amazon;http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=14279651

Link your Amazon Author Profile to Shelfari https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help/176-8021064-5877617?ie=UTF8&topicID=200651270

Create a Goodreads author profile http://www.goodreads.com/author/program

Create a Book Marketing Network profile http://thebookmarketingnetwork.com/

WEBSITE / BLOG: Create a website and blog with keywords and creative content; regular blog posts, posting at least 1ce a day for the first month.

Ask for link-backs from websites that you feel would have the demographic of your audience.

(did we talk about facebook? do we need to ?)

WHERE IS YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC HANGING OUT? Go where your demographic is; if you do a Christian book, talk to Christian book distributors to get into their catalogs, ask churches that have bookstores to carry your book, If your demo. is bikers, take them to rally’s and pass your promotional card around, think about conventions on the subject or wherever they meet.

GIVE AWAYS & FREEBIES  Give a chapter away on your site or in other promotions like your book launch or another’s launch.  Another idea would be to approach people with products that are related to your genre, story or topic and offer a give away on one of THEIR promotions. Think creatively.

RADIO TOURS; there are tons of online radio shows now that the internet has opened this door and they are always looking for new people to interview. Fish’n4Souls and CAOT (Christian Authors On Tour) are 2 Christian sources so dig deep online to find where your material would fit and contact them.
BOOK REVIEW SITES area also looking for material so send your press release there.

Bookmarks designed by Lisa Hainline at http://www.lionsgatebookdesign.com

MARKETING MATERIALS: Be sure to to print up enough of these materials to hand out, leave behind and show of your work wherever you go (see us at Lionsgate Book Design if you would like quotes for any of these: bookmarks, postcards to mail out, retractable signs for your book signing or convention / event, posters, and promotional cards).

Keep thinking and ask the Lord to OPEN DOORS for ideas and places to connect.


ANOTHER EXPERT OPINON: Judith Briles heads up AUTHOR U  and also has a linkin author group under the same name. Author U is for authors who desire to self publish and want all the advantages of advertising, design, printing and much more. Author U holds workshops to attend and has many articles that are all so valuable that they just published AUTHORYOU- Building Author and Book Platforms, available on Amazon, a wealth of information worth every penny.  You can also hear Judith every thursday on Your Guide to Publishing Radio Blog

Judith Briles: WoW! Lisa has shared a homerun of information. FB makes me crazy with all it’s changes. My preferences are Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn groups … have you created a page for books under Companies–Add a Project (your book) under main page — actually collect emails for list building?

Create a media one-sheet–a little about why YOU are the one to write this book; if you are hooking media–it loves tidbits and quizzes–create one. If you want to do a quick survey, zip over to Survey Monkey, come up with no more that 10 questions and blast it out to your contacts or post on Twitter, gulp FB–you can tally up to 100 responses –then cite on one-sheet, “According to one of the many surveys conducted by the Jerry Andrews, 10 out of 13 people prefer ….” “Contrary to popular belief, the author’s latest survey showed that …..” Be creative … people have asked me—how did you get on Oprah … Time magazine … the Wall Street Journal …. (another gulp) the National Enquirer???? I learned how to create a hook for their audience and I pitched it directed to the producers and decisions and makers.

Newsletters and association magazines are HOT for hooking a book; finding who the editor is or key writers, always internally ID’ somewhere in the mastheads–contact directly–make sure you have the RIGHT name and it is SPELLED correctly … it’s a button pusher for editors. Getting a positive and supportive review can not only push sales, it can land a speaking gig–as in getting paid … and selling more books.


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Book Cover Re-Design; Identify With Your Audience.

How does a Christian book cover depict a dream…the desire, longing, hope for a child?

That was my artistic challenge after Lorilyn Roberts asked me to redesign the book cover for “Children of Dreams.” First published in 2009, it is the true story of how God restored and fulfilled Lorilyn’s dream of having children even after her husband abandoned her for his pregnant girlfriend.

My first step was to think of the readers. What kind of image would they identify with?

I know from experience that readers want to identify with “real life people” — not abstract concepts. But, sometimes, an image can be too real. For instance, showing a mother and two daughters sitting on the grass (see original cover below), limits the readers’ own dreams.

The original book cover does not create the sense of wanting something beyond their own abilities to fulfill.

Second, I needed to know where the readers are in their dream quest. I discovered that Lorilyn is writing to would-be parents who are still pursuing their dream. So, seeing a mother with two children doesn’t help the reader identify with the mother. It actually estranges them because they do not yet have even one child, let alone two.

So, I decided to focus the book cover redesign on where the reader is at now on their dream quest, as they pick up the book to find answers and encouragement.

I thought of how many have walked a seashore and gazed into the horizon with melancholy, hope-filled thoughts of what we they would love to be (a parent) or do (raise a child).

I walked the shore in my mind, as I knew countless readers have who are thinking of and praying for a child through adoption or otherwise.

The hope for that dream to be realized seems as endless as the sea–and yet, they look far ahead for any sign that their dream will become reality.

It’s not necessary to see the face of the dreamer (as in the original cover). It’s only necessary for the reader to know that there are dreamers—they are not alone.

I pray that hopeful parents will read “Children of Dreams” so that it will encourage them to keep pursuing their dreams, no matter how vast and awesome those dreams are.

Below is the before and after …

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UNUSUAL Author Website Design tip!

I had done several website layouts and banner designs for a client a while back and so when Cheryl White asked me if the banner would work on a new site that she made herself, I was anxious to see what kind of site she built.

I usually cringe when I think of such things because I’ve seen so many bad layouts, ineffective website designs and just poor marketing even coming out of website designers, having still  a hard enough time finding website-building professionals to carry out my OWN designs that I create for clients, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Cheryl’s site.


I don’t like to turn down business but I told Cheryl that having a complicated banner on top would junk up this site, that is clean and bright, as the bookmarks that I had designed for her made great “banner ads” alongside her book offering, doing the work of making her pitch without cluttering up the site.

Using bookmarks to sell your book online.

Cheryl used WIX.com to build her site and I know that hostbaby.com also provides authors with easy “author templates” to help anyone who is not afraid of learning something new, an opportunity to save money and do it yourself.

I don’t know that I would do every author website this way but it works for Cheryl.  If you find that you may need help building your website or just need a few website graphics or elements to put into your home-made site, please come write me at lisa@lisahainline.com  or see any of our promotional items at: http://www.lionsgatebookdesign.com/Christian-book-promotion-marketing-.html

Lisa Hainline

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Book Cover Re-Design- “Family or Pro”?

This was sweet and so sensitive a topic as this Christian author came to me with a cover that her son done the illustration for. While he did a great job for a 16 year old, it still has an amateur look to the book cover and had not been making any sales. She at first thought that maybe we could pick up on some of the elements or pieces of her sons’ illustration and while that would have been sweet and honoring to him, it but the art still didn’t look fresh and intriguing to the age group she was trying to attract that was used to beautiful fantasy illustrations.

The author and I had many rounds of layouts to get the right look as she had certain elements in her story that she wanted seen: Fairies (without wings or pointy ears), a comet type event, dragonfly lanterns, acorns, and much more but we ended up nixing many layouts that just got too “busy” with elements  as I tried to get her to go SIMPLE.

I’ll share some of our “busy” rounds below to give you an idea of our thought process and then the final “Before & After”. Congratulations to her as a large distribution house told her yesterday that it was one of the best covers they had seen in a long time! May the Lord open doors to many sales.

Some layouts from our busy round:


and our final BEFORE & AFTER:

For more book cover designs, please visit my book cover portfolio at Lionsgate Book Design. Contact me at lisa@lisahainline.com or 909-939-0311 for more information.

Lisa Hainline

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Consider DEMOGRAPHICS (your reader) in your Book Cover Design.

When a recent client first came to me, it was only for a critique of the cover that she herself had designed. She had been doing her own covers all along but heard that I had helped another author with HER cover which caused such a boost in sales that she couldn’t go wrong at least hearing a free critique.

After she heard my suggestions, she realized that she DID need a re-design of her cover to capture the audience it was intended to interest and encourage. Below is the “Before & After” story.

Barbara ministers to bikers (you can see her other books on amazon) and this was a devotional that she planned to hand out at these large bike rally’s her and her husband went to. She said that when she goes, they have not even turned their engine off before several people have approached them to get her newest book or devotional, so she was already being recognized for her writing but in the hopes of growing the ministry, she admitted that a more professional look would certainly be a benifit.

The “Demographic” is a broad range in age, not gender specific but mostly Harley lovers, and even if women are in that group, they have no problem with leather and dark images, as they usually don’t wear frilly pint outfits, heals or such to these events.

I went in for more of an IMPRESSION of a Harley as the bike is not what this is really about and could be taken for a “bike book”, (instructional in nature). The Bell was significant but the tiny bell she had at the bottom of the bike is so trivial and we really don’t need to SEE it there since most bikers know what it signifies.

The FONT is dated and tries too hard to be “designy” so I went with more of a rugged, contemporary style that works well with the leather background. If this was more of a non-fiction book, like a self-help book, we may have gone more classic and readable but with a devotional book, it’s close to poetry and creative enough to get away with a creative touch.

The COLOR was not working for ANYONE as orange has it’s place but this was not it. We wanted a cover that a husky and hardened biker would not be ashamed to pick up. What do YOU think of the results:

To see more of my covers or learn more about how a cover can matter to YOUR book, check us out at Lionsgate Book Design where we have other services also to help you be the publisher of your own work. You can view our Christian Book Cover Portfolio to see the quality of our work.

Lisa Hainline
Lionsgate Book Design
Lisa Hainline Design 
The Healing Source

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WOW! Can a book cover ACTUALLY do such an amazing job of selling the book?

Lorilyn Roberts came to me with a book cover re-design project and her current book cover was not all that bad. I think I mentioned that the font was kind of “masculin” (Meaning boxy and dated) and she mentioned that the girl on the front needed some hair AND some CLOTHING so she didn’t look naked.

I didn’t find much magic in the image but there was still something about what WAS there that created interest so I gave her some clothes, reduced the length of her hair, gave this bird more of a ‘wing’ to show it moving, tweaked the color to allow it more deapth, and put in another image in the background to open up a whole new world that made one want to enter into it. I put gold in the water (according to the story) and an updated and contemporary feel for the font treatment, a few more sparkles and tweaks and this is what we ended up with.


From the moment Lorilyn updated the cover it started to make sales. Where Lorilyn’s OLD design was selling an average of 29-30 books a month, this new cover design sold 384 copies in 17 days! That’s an increase of 1200%
Not only that but THE DOOR (at the time of this article) is the  #1 BEST SELLING CHRISTIAN FANTASY BOOK ON AMAZON!


My next project came when the author was told that a “home made” cover that he designed himself needed tweaking because “professional covers have bleeds” and not all the square cuts that he came up with.

I was grateful to get my hands on it and then the author said:” I need to create a book cover that has such a visual impact that it doesn’t need words to say-Heal Your Childhood Wounds.  A book cover that is so visually powerful that no one can possibly not want to buy it. “

A tall order, for sure but we came up with the perfect image which was in keeping with the child that he wanted to show, and then I created some drama with the lighting and the font that included some child-like text, hopefully to reach out to the inner wounded child in MANY of us. We pray Bruce’s sales reflect the time and effort that many have poured into this soon-to-be-released book.

Childhood Wounds Before & After

So how much influence can a cover have over the sales of a book? A TON. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it’s certainly one we strive for. Inside and out, your book should speak of the excellence that we should all strive through, in and through Christ who supplies all our needs and supplies the gifts to glorify Him.

Please see my Christian Book Cover Portfolio for more examples of my cover designs and contact me at lhainline2@gmail.com or lisa@lisahainline.com to discuss your project and how we at Lionsgate Book Design can help make your publication gain all the advantage it deserves.

Lisa Hainline






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Who are you climbing into bed with when you sign that publishing contract?!

In discussing a cover image with a potential client today who was concerned about the publisher he “may be in bondage to”, it struck me how serious it is when we handle Godly things with unbelievers.
James 4:4 says “James 4:4 You adulterous people,[a] don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

While choosing a publisher for your book may not be the same thing as being a “friend to the world”, and you may put it into the category of “just business”, I  question the seriousness of what can happen when entering into a legal arrangement with a secular company (and in some cases; a company that publishes books focused on Godless values or even demonic activity) over a publication that YOU believe is led by the true Author & Finisher of your work: Father God

Some other concerns as a Christian (aside from what is mentioned in these articles) has to be
1) if you have any control over how your book is portrayed. most publishers give you a tiny bit of influence here. (again, is this the Lord’s message or not?!) SO what happens when the publisher has a different idea of your message other than the one that the Lord gave you when you were inspired and given His passion and heart for your book?
2) WHO is your demographic aside from what the publisher thinks you should market to?
3) What are all those extra charges like marketing, advertising, broadcast, etc…i would find out exactly WHAT these are and if they have statistics on their value to YOUR market. Too many publishers charge to cast a net in waters where your demographic do not reside.
4) Who owns the rights? have you sold your soul to the devil in letting go of a book that the Lord gave you into the hands of others who have NOT prayed about it in the least.

5) Are you STILL LISTENING to the Master Designer, Master Economist, Master Designer, Master Marketer in this endeavor?

The articles below are great articles to guide you into negotiating your book contract but you really need to ask the BOSS on all that you do, for He has appointed those who would be ministered to it and is also in charge of your income which pays your bills…or is He not?
What not to miss when negotiating your contract

Negotiating your contract – 20 MUST topics to talk about.

And when all of this becomes overwhelming and you decide to self publish and let the Lord lead all design, marketing and publishing decisions, please come take a look at our work at Lionsgate Book Design. We are prayerful in all we do and will give you as much information as you need to take to the Lord in prayer as well.

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Tip #4 – Know the Visual Message You are Called to Give.

You’ve spent so much time, blood sweat and probably tears over this message that you believe you’ve been inspired and commissioned to give, and you have to be as equally prayerful about it’s presence to the world.

     Unfortunately people DO judge a book by it’s cover, especially when the average customer takes roughly 13 seconds to view it from front to back, to decide upon the purchase. if we’re all honest with ourselves, we can scan a lot of books at the same time on Amazon and some catch our eye and promise depth while some looked dated, boring, trite or holding little promise inside.

     This is an interesting “Cinderella Story”, with a happy ending after the author was pushed down the line into a garish, baudy, unreadable and inappropriate cover.

   Without totally humiliating the designer, let your first impression lead you as far as style goes but it doesn’t take artistic taste to say that the back cover copy is hard to read at best.  The image that the Designer put the Author into is also not honoring to ANY woman, let alone an author who has a heart to minister to the heart of a parent. One expects this to be a brassy romance novel not all of us would want to read.

"Before" - 101 Home-Training Cover
Below is the revised layout that I did for Mrs. Keys.  I searched her photos for one more appropriate, asked about family and the image she wanted to portray. I also toned down the colors and background so that it didn’t fight with the main focus of this series, which in this case, is the family.  Being a part of a series, i had to decide which elements would stay from book to book and how it would look on a shelf.

we also had to examine WHO would be buying this book, and in this case, any parent who cared about their children would hopefuly find it benificial.

If you do not know who you, what image your message is to present to the world, the tone and even how to present yourself, you cannot direct a designer to do well by you.  If you have a “check in your spirit” at any time, ask the Lord to move through His Holy Spirit and guide you into what to do. Stop the job where it is and get opinions from your friends, family, pastor, and anyone else whose opinion you respect.

Please contact me should you like to get ideas for your book or any aspect of design or publishing it.

Lisa Hainline



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