Why do you want a book cover, anyway?

I get it, you’re creative. You have a vision of what your book cover will look like. You just need someone to make it for you.

But here’s the thing, dictating the terms of your book cover design is the worst publishing mistake you can make. The cover isn’t a place to be creative. The cover is packaging. It’s an online advertisement.

It’s either going to grab and hold someone’s interest just enough to get them to read the sales copy, or it’s a complete failure and waste of space.

You need to ask yourself, what’s your publishing goal?

Do you want a book that looks just like you imagined?

Or do you want people to actually buy and read the damn thing?

Hi, I’m Derek Murphy. 

I help indie authors hack their way to the top of bestseller lists with genius book cover design – and I can do it for you, too.


author marketing club


There are lots of people who will take your money and make you an ugly cover. And there are plenty of people who will make you a very nice-looking, pretty cover that just isn’t enough to stand out.

I make book covers that sell books, even in over-saturated genres with lots of competition

That’s my one and only objective for every project I work on. My designs help my clients make money, attract publishers and get a lot of reviews. That’s why over 85% of my clients come back to me with repeat business for their next project.

Plus, I’m more than just a designer; I regularly publish books of my own that inevitably hit #1 in their category as soon as they launch. I’ve built such a reputation for book marketing that bigger companies have asked to partner with me. I’ve also been interviewed on major self-publishing podcasts and invited to speak at several writing conferences.




But I don’t want to charge you money for a cover that won’t sell your book.

A great book cover alone won’t guarantee success if you’ve written a book with no market. If this is your first book, spending a lot of money to publish may not be the right move. I do my best work for authors whose books are already well reviewed and are already selling – but want a facelift or better branding; for such authors I can often double or triple sales. But if your book is unproven, I recommend you start with something cheap and simple: I built www.diybookcovers.com to help self-publishing authors get quality design at a much lower cost.

But if you don’t want to DIY, and you want a cover that gives your book its greatest chance of success, I can help.



 “It is perfect. I couldn’t have dreamed up anything better, nor could I be happier! It’s beautiful, clever and does a great job bringing the elements of the book into visual metaphor. You really surpassed expectations, Derek. THANK YOU!” –Rebecca Baumgartner, The Everweed State


You’re my IDEAL CLIENT if…

  • You want to earn a return on your investment. Which means you’re ready to view your book as a product, and make it something other people will want to buy. That means marketing factors are more important than your opinions, every time.
  • You’ll work with me on the process, but not take over. You won’t make samples in Word or Publisher of what you think your cover should look like, and expect me to follow your explicit instructions. You won’t tell me what fonts and colors to use (or at the very least, you’ll listen when I tell you it looks amateurish and homemade, and give me the freedom to choose better ones for you).
  • You want a winning cover that has a solid, emotional, immediate impact. This is about the big picture, the first and only impression. You won’t fret and worry about the little details, or want to see one hundred variations while ignoring my recommendations.
  • You’re not in a huge rush. While I tend to be pretty responsive and quick to make changes, we’ll get along much better if you understand designing a cover is a process.
  • You’ve already published at least one book. Not a deal-breaker, but inexperienced authors often don’t know what they want and are harder to please. They are also less likely to listen to my advice or make smart cover design choices. The first book is almost always a learning process, and while I’m happy to hold your hand, be patient and walk you through the self-publishing process, being too concerned with your feelings and compromising my design standards can lead to a sub-standard cover, and I’m no longer willing to make anything less than amazing.

What you can count on from me…


Professional authors want the cover that will produce the most sales and best reviews – and they understand that nothing else matters.

The cover’s job is to sell the book, and I’ve proven, many times over, with hundreds of clients, that I know how to pick winners. That’s why I’m consistently booked months in advance. That said, of course I can’t get it right every time. I’ll always give you lots of options, and I’ll recommend you test the covers on as wide an audience as possible.

I can even help you test multiple covers, titles and subtitles to make sure we pick the one that appeals most to your target audience. But you need to be willing to rely on the data more than your personal preferences.

If you hire me to design your book cover, you can trust me to care deeply about your book’s success, but you must give me the freedom to give you my best work.


book cover design

“Derek did a fantastic job of my book cover. I had a nebulous idea in my head as to what the central images would be but couldn’t articulate them properly. Derek used a process of trial and error, presenting all kinds of alternatives that helped us to work towards the finished product together. The result was far superior to what I had imagined. ” –Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn


Free yourself from the headache of worrying…

…about resolution, height-to-width ratio, thumbnails, pixel size requirements, ink bleed and margins, spine width… I’ve successfully designed hundreds of books for Lulu, Createspace, Lightning Source, and offset printers. Just tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen.

Take the guess work out of your cover design, before bad choices lead to lost sales. Authors are concerned with making the cover represent their story, as they envisage it. They tend to focus on tiny details and accuracy, rather than the aesthetics and the overall effect of the cover.

But a brilliant cover is like a genius headline: its only purpose is to hook interest and create an emotive response, so that people can’t resist reading the story. A book cover that fails to engage with your target readers (or even worse, attracts the wrong type of readers) can be disastrous in terms of sales and reviews.

As an indie author myself with almost a decade of self-publishing experience, I know how important your book is to you. I also know how frustrating – but also rewarding – the process can be. As a former fine artist with a background in classical oil painting, I bring a unique artistic vision and aesthetic style. As an entrepreneur with several thriving businesses, I know how little changes in design can make a big difference in sales. My portfolio speaks for itself; you should also check out my “makeover” section.


book cover design

“How can I express my absolute gratitude for your care and concern through every stage of this project? The subject matter of the book is of course, so personal and delicate, that it was difficult for me to trust it with anyone, yet it was beyond my scope to take it to the level it needed to be. I put my trust in you and you went above and beyond my dreams. I will not forget this.” –Jonni Gray, Conduit

Ready to see what I can do for you?



7 Must-have Qualities for a Book Cover That Sells

Watch this free, 40-minute presentation on book cover design I made for the Alliance of Independent Author’s 2016 Fringe Festival. You’ll learn to avoid the crippling mistakes most authors make with their cover design, 3 foolproof layouts that work for any genre, and the one thing every cover has to do (it’s not what you think).



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