Episode 41: Olivia Croom Hammerman Teaches Us How to Design a Book Cover

In which we learn the elements of how to design a book cover that ups your chances at sales success.

“A successful cover is basically all of those elements: the typography, the category, and the uniqueness of the story need to be held together. And it just needs to look damn good.”

Olivia Croom Hammerman, who earns her bread and butter as an independent book designer, is the consummate literary citizen. She contacted us after listening to Greg Gerding’s episode, because she’s had great experiences designing for University of Hell!

(Turns out Greg is right—there’s a lot to be said for being active in your local book community.)

In addition to University of Hell, Olivia has worked for other small presses, self-published authors, and New York companies Henry Holt & Co., and Alfred A. Knopf. So, listen to this if you want some real talk about trying to break into New York publishing as a West-Coaster.

So far, Olivia’s career path is a great example of how your non-bookish work history can help you in book publishing. Starting out in project management for books and lit mags, Olivia realized she had a knack for design, but before she went into book design full time, she had a stint at an architectural firm in Portland. Designing marketing materials actually let Olivia learn how the production process works, from an idea to the final printed copy.

Olivia is an active part of the HPS community, and we were excited to speak with her about how to design a book cover that sells and interiors that are a joy to read.

Guest Bio

Olivia Croom Hammerman is an award-winning independent book designer living in Manhattan with her husband and cat, Amelia. You can find her work at oliviacroomdesign.com.

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