How do you find the right designer for your book cover?
How to search for a book cover designer:
Using search terms like “Book cover designer” (without the quotes searches for just those three words located on a page, whereas with the quote marks searches for that specific search term or “book cover designer for self-publishing”, or an obvious variation of these. The more refined your search terms are, the better results you’ll get.
Add keywords like your location, your genre, ‘affordable‘, or ‘beautiful‘. Try “book cover design” and get familiar with different websites, designers, archives or galleries. If you see some that you love follow through to the website of the graphic designer to get in touch with them.
Word of mouth
Facebook and Twitter are amazing resources as search engines. Get in touch with your writing community, ask other self-published authors if they had good experiences with their designers or if there’s someone they can suggest. Try using this example:
“I’m looking for a book cover designer. Can anyone recommend a good one?”
This is a good resource to use since people’s experiences (especially from people you trust) are usually a reliable way to find someone who’ll work well for you.
Looking at a book you love and checking on the inside for the designer.
The majority of books will mention the cover designer on the inside, possibly on the copyright page or at the back. Pick up a couple of paperbacks you like the look of and check inside the copyright page.
If you put their name into your search engine that should populate their contact details so you can get in touch with them for a quote. If you can’t find the designer in the book, get in touch with the publisher and ask them for the details.
Search your regular writing forum and see if there are any posts about book designers, experiences, and/or results. Writer’s love showing the end product, and they’re more than willing to share the details of the designer with the forum. If they haven’t, PM the user and ask them if they can give you the details.
What to do when you’ve found a book designer you like:
Browse the work of the designer
You may like one of their covers but it’s important to be familiar with a variety of their work. The cover you like so much may be a one hit wonder, or you might find you’re drawn to their entire folio.
Consider their history and experience
Have they done only one or two covers, or do they have a large gallery? Are they a writer which gives them the benefit of seeing things from your perspective? Do they have any testimonials? Are they a professional or hobbyist?
Go with your gut instinct
This is always the most important element. If it doesn’t feel right- don’t do it. Even if it’s a friend who has recommended them you’re not obligated to work with someone if you don’t feel the connection. Writers are pretty instinctive people so if something rubs you the wrong way then keep shopping. You can always return to the website and get in contact with the designer!
If you decide you want to design your own book cover:
DIY book cover design should only be undertaken if you have knowledge and skills in design. When your eBook appears on the Kindle next to everyone else in your category, readers will pick you based on two things: Your cover and blurb. Sure DIY is affordable, even free, but consider what you have to weigh up:
Pros of designing your own book cover:
- Cheap, don’t have to hire a professional.
- Might learn a thing or two for other book covers to design in the future.
- You have full control over everything
- You can make tweaks and changes when necessary
- You have it within the time frame you want
Cons of designing your own book cover:
- It can look cheap and have a detrimental effect on sales
- Having a cheap book cover means readers expect badly written work
- Steep learning curve
- Designing it may take longer than hiring someone to do it for you
- Understanding dimensions, pixels, and design basics
Your book cover doesn’t have to be the best and there are enough quality pre-made covers out there now that you shouldn’t be asking yourself this question anymore. When I tell you to invest in a book cover I’m not lying.
The cons of pre-made covers
Keep in mind pre-made book covers lack personal insight. They are often a generic representation of the style that is trending in that genre, and they use stock images that are rarely altered at all which means your cover could look identical to someone else’s.
In fact, the chances of you finding a cover that says visually what you need it to is very slim. You will end up settling for a cover that may, almost, be right for your story but will most likely leave it wanting.
Hiring a designer will reflect the true soul of your book in a way a pre-made cover never will. You have worked on your manuscript for years to make it perfect. Your book is uniquely you. Don’t let your dreams down now.
Working with a designer means you get one-on-one advice through the project
Designers work closely with authors, consulting and advising them every step of the way. They will make sure that you end up with a cover that that blends your wishes with a professional, market standard design.
Many pre-made covers are not made by qualified designers, and you don’t get much flexibility in what you can and can’t change. You only have to look at the quality between a professionally designed cover and a pre-made one to see the difference.
You don’t have a say on what goes on it aside from your name and the title. That’s an important point you must remember, whatever cover you choose will be what is associated with your name.
A badly designed cover could send the message to your audience that the writing is of the same quality and rob you of potential sales. I know exceptions exist and some pre-made cover designers will alter elements on their cover to more suit your needs for a fee, but if you are willing to pay more money, you are better off hiring a real designer to get what you want.
A book designer’s mission is to create works of art that sell. They won’t just copy what is already out there but will use their strong knowledge of the industry and through extensive discussions with you will design something one of a kind to set up you as a brand.
Pre-made covers, while appealing as a cheaper choice, may end up causing your work to be unnoticed and limit your sales. Ask yourself what the best representation of you as a professional writer is.