Book Cover and Its Challenges

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Hi guys,

A month back I was approached by a freelance writer, asking me to design a book cover for her self-published travelogue. I was very unsure about this assignment considering I've only ever done one book cover design before for BOTK comic and it was heavily guided by Nub (our boss). Plus, I had a few projects on hand; 2 comic project and 1 very time consuming watercolor illustration project. So I was leaning towards rejecting this one.

Maybe because my client was in a hurry and I was a bit confident when it comes to travel illustration so I said yes at a price I first thought quite expensive (It's not. Demand for more). You see, I asked my mom how much people usually pay their book cover artist and she gave me a range around RM100-RM150. I wasn't thinking straight and I forgot that I'm designing a watercolour book cover. Plus the client was very involved with the creative process. Long story short, I wrongly priced the commission.

We had some hiccup along the way. Most of it stemming from miscommunication. We communicated through e-mail and Instagram Direct Message so it was really-really vague at times on what the client wanted and what I could contribute.

My first two drafts were rejected. I was taken aback by the comments I received. The thing about written communication is that it's not easy to assign the tone to the sentence you are reading. All the comments seemed ill-intentioned, they seemed abusive at times. I was ready to drop the project. The fee didn't seem to worth the effort I was putting in. But it didn't feel right so we set up a meeting. I wanted to know what the client really wanted.

So we met. Lo and behold, the meeting only lasted for 20 minutes. It was clear to me what I had to do. After that, working was easy. I found that my client had a difficulty to explain her needs through written form. She was easy to talk to. Very warm and friendly unlike her online counterpart. I finished the assignment as promised.

From this project I noticed something about myself. I've grown too fond of praise that I couldn't accept criticism. What I lack was patience. I was too eager to start the project without realizing that I don't have all the information needed to even start designing.

To those who are interested in book cover design, do look into book margin, bleed area, cut area and spine design. I was also asked to do a book mock up. (I would have charged extra for this but I was too tired to care).

Anyway, this is the final product of said project. Feel free to share your thoughts.

(This is a book mock-up and I'm so proud of it)



  1. it was splendid! good job :D

  2. Well done. Glad to know that things worked out for the better regarding this book cover project. Also thanks for the commission-pricing tip, good advice ;3

  3. *clap clap* U did great. Simple yet nice. Yes, u need to study what your client wants to make it clearer before you start your part.

  4. lawa !! the gist of the book i guess its well portrayed =)

  5. nanti buat lak tuk buku travelog sendiri
    aku nak beli


The way you comment is so telling...


Part time normal, most of the time comic enthusiast. Almost always borderline crazy. Still experimenting with comic blogging. An engineer with a vision to not be taken seriously. Everything you read on this blog doesn't represent my gender, religion or profession as a whole. Other name you might associate with me are Deaday, DayGoon, JaeminGoon and *cough* Mona *cough*