How to Use Pinterest to Communicate with Your Cover Designer

by Hanna Sandvig@hanasucovers (1)

I’m a big Pinterest user, and as a cover artist nothing makes me more happy than an author who also uses Pinterest.  Cover designers are, by our nature, very visual and Pinterest is a purely visual way of conveying ideas, making it the perfect way to work with your cover designer.  Designers often don’t have time to read your book before working on the cover (and often the book is still being written when I get started!) so communicating your story through images gives us a way to read your mind, which is a pretty handy trick. Here are a few ways you can use Pinterest to communicate with your cover designer:

Make a board to communicate details about your story and characters

Do you have a specific celebrity or a photo in mind when you create the look of your characters? Pin your reference photos with a description that includes the characters name, and maybe what it is about the photo that reminds you of the character.  Sometimes it’s not just one photo, but the hair from one, the tattoo from another, you get the idea.  Pin them all!  I’ve seen boards with thirty images (photos, artwork, movie stills) about one character.  By looking at all those inspirations I can get a really clear idea of who the character is.

Characters are the most central part of your story, but you can also pin images of clothes, the setting, any details that are important.

Make a board that conveys the mood of your book

This is usually a board that you’ve created to provide inspiration while writing your book.  Especially in fantasy/sci-fi stories and historical fiction, I see a lot of boards that include all sorts of inspirations.  I love to see artwork and movie stills in boards like this.  Emotional photography, images that tell a story.   When you combine all those images together, I can get a great sense of the books tone.  Is it dreamy? Dark? Whimsical? Gritty? Romantic? You can tell me what the mood of your story is, but if I see your inspirations I can really feel it with you. Nailing the mood for your cover is the best way to attract the readers who will truly love your book.

Pin book covers that you really love 

d4dcoverCreate a board for book covers, and whenever you come across one that inspires you, pin it with a note saying, specifically, what you like about it.  So you might pin a cover and make a note in the description that you love the font, or the layout, or the photo.  The more covers you pin, the better sense your designer will be able to get of your taste.  Don’t just pin one or two and expect them to copy the elements you like, you want a cover that suits your story and genre without being a rip-off of someone else’s work.

Try to stick to covers that are in your genre.  Readers can spot a book they will love by the way a book looks, so you don’t want to pull too much inspiration from covers outside your niche, no matter how pretty they are.  A good cover designer will research and understand the market, but you should always be an expert in what’s selling well in your genre.

Create a shared board with your designer

If your designer uses Pinterest, you can create a board for the cover project and add them as a pinner using the little “invite” button in the board’s header. This allows you both to pin images and collaborate visually.  You can share covers you like, stock photos you think could work, or different font choices.  If you don’t want the world to see the cover design process, just set the board to “private” when you create it.  Anyone you invite to a private board will be able to see it and pin on it with you.  Shared boards are a fantastic way to swap ideas about the cover and keep each other in the loop as you’re working.

I believe that the best covers are created by the designer and the author working as a team.  The author has the knowledge of the story and the market, and the designer knows the artistic side of it.  The better your communication with each other, the better the result.  So learn your designers language and work with us as visually as you can!

Do you have any questions about using Pinterest or collaborating well with a cover artist?  Let me know in the comments!

Use Pinterest to communicate with your cover designer (via @hanasu): Click To Tweet


hannaHanna Sandvig is the cover artist behind The Book Cover Bakery. She specializes in covers for Romance, Cozy Mystery and Chick-Lit novels featuring custom illustrations, original photography, and hand lettering. She is passionate about helping indie authors connect with the readers who are waiting to hear their stories.

Hanna lives in the mountains of BC, Canada, with her husband and two little girls.
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17 thoughts on “How to Use Pinterest to Communicate with Your Cover Designer

  1. Elizabeth – Thanks for hosting Hanna.

    Hanna – Thanks for showing how we can better use Pinterest. I’ve got a Pinterest account actually, ‘though I’ve not done as much as I could with it. I’d never thought about it as a way to communicate with cover designers though. Fasicnating!

  2. Great ideas Elizabeth, I’m a huge fan of writers using all social media and recently wrote a post about how writers could use Pinterest. Love these ideas and it means that if you life a distance from your cover designer too, using shared secret boards can make the whole process much more streamlined.

    1. I was so happy when Pinterest introduced private boards, I have a bunch of them for different projects that I’m not ready to share yet. Some with others and some on my own :)

  3. I’ve come up with the cover art for my books but my nephew did the actual work as he’s really good with stuff like this.

  4. Awesome! I’ve shared images with my cover artist via email, but this is so much better. I already have boards about my world and what has brought me story ideas. I was doing this to engage readers in another medium, but it works well for the cover artist, too!

    1. K.B. I love pinterest as a reader as well (I really just love pinterest). If you are on there already it’s so easy to collaborate with your cover artist that way.

  5. I have some friends who really love this. I struggle to include more visual stuff as I just don’t process that way–well, I do, but more in a map of connections way rather than a seeing details way. So fascinating how different people process.

  6. Authors will help themselves by getting to know Pinterest as a social media tool because even the most avid readers are still attracted by striking visuals.

    I wish I’d thought of Pinterest while working with the illustrator for my children’s book. Far better than email, which slowly became a lumbering beast under the weight of shared images and a labyrinthine project in which to find anything.

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