Quick Guide: Cover Design – Preliminary Edition – FAQs


Can I request the use of a specific color for my book cover?

Of course! If the color is a general color preference (red, light blue, orange, etc.), simply include that information in your Marketing Questionnaire or other communications to your cover designer. If the color you’d like incorporate is more specific (pewter, fuchsia, mauve, aquamarine, etc.), please provide your cover designer with a visual example of the color for their reference.

Can I provide photography or request a specific image for use in my book cover?

We use stock photography as foundational material for all Cognella book covers and then professionally adapt the imagery to create a unique and relevant cover design. Using stock photography allows us to use imagery that is readily available to us, is print quality, and does not require complex licensing considerations—as many public or generally sourced images are copyrighted. We also do not have access to photoshoots to create imagery in-house.

If you have a specific image or concept in mind, feel free to send examples and talk through your ideas and what you’d like your cover to convey with your designer. Our designers are resourceful and creative and will work with you to find and create imagery that successfully captures the spirit of your book, even if we are not able to use the exact image you submitted.

Can I have a customized cover of the class-use version of my book and use Cognella’s preferred cover design for the nationally available and marketed version? 

Due to the way we are required to set up your book’s files in our various print and distribution channels, we are unable to use different cover art for the version of the book you’re using in your own classroom.

Can I request to change my byline display (ex – Edited by, Written by, Written and edited by, etc.)?

The Cognella licensing and permissions team determines the byline type used for your book. If you book contains a certain percentage of previously published material in the form of fully reproduced article, chapters, or readings, or in the form of numerous excerpts, we are legally required to indicate this by using the byline “Edited by” or “Your Name, Editors.”

If your book is right at the threshold and you have written a significant portion of the manuscript yourself, you may be eligible to have your byline listed as “Written and edited by.”

If the majority of your book is original, meaning you’ve written the content specifically for the text, your byline will either feature only the name(s) of the author(s) or “Written by.”

Why doesn’t Cognella include promotional copy or author biographies on preliminary edition covers?

As preliminary editions afford you the opportunity to class-test and revise the content of your manuscript and the Cognella team an opportunity to perform an initial licensing review, we do not craft a description of your book or your author biography until your first edition manuscript is complete. This ensures the book description and author biography created for your text are as accurate and timely as possible. Additionally, because these elements are primarily used as marketing tools and preliminary editions are intended for closed-class use, these elements are not required until your book is ready to launch on the national market (ie – a first edition release).

Can my cover feature a famous celebrity, artist, or figure from history or pop culture?

Imagery that features a well-known individual—or the work they’ve created (for example, visual artists)—is generally not available for commercial use. Acquiring the correct permissions and licensing for any such imagery can be especially challenging. However, our cover designers have experience in rendering famous figures and characters in artistic ways and envisioning new ways to represent particular people, concepts, and pop culture references.

Here are a few examples of our successful re-imaginings as cover art:

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Unsure of next steps or have additional questions? Ask your project editor!