Question: Where can I find a professional book cover designer?



Authors are tasked with making many important marketing decisions throughout the writing and publishing process. One of the more critical marketing decisions is the design of the book’s cover. Even though we all hear, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, the vast majority of readers do factor a book’s cover design into their purchase decision. Just a quick glance at the front cover will often determine whether your book is for them.

Readers do judge a book by its cover, so make sure yours stands out.A great cover design doesn’t just look attractive, it also clearly conveys the book’s title, genre, and tone, and entices the potential reader to learn more. There is a right way to design a cover and a wrong way, which is why it’s so important for authors to find experienced cover designers that understand the book market and book design standards. Don’t let a poor design affect your book’s marketability. It’s often your first and only impression on potential readers.

Here are four ways to find a quality designer for your book cover:.

1. Work with a Designer through Your Publishing Service Provider

If you’ve purchased a publishing package through a supported self-publishing service provider such as AuthorHouse, Westbow Press, or Archway Publishing, your package will already include the book cover design as a part of the process. One of their experienced in-house or contract designers will be assigned to your book project and will work with you on the cover design and copy. Some self-publishing service providers, like BookBaby, offer cover design as an add-on service.

If your book has been picked up by a traditional publishing house, they will assign your book to one of their in-house or contract designers and the cover design will be a part of your publishing contract. In this case, it will be less of a collaboration where you may have little to no input on the final book title, cover design, or cover copy.

With these paths, you have the advantage of working with knowledgeable designers who have likely designed many different book covers and have a good idea of what will make your cover appealing to your target readers.

2. Find a Freelance Designer Online

If you’re publishing through an online do-it-yourself platform like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or IngramSpark, it will be up to you to provide the book cover artwork when uploading your manuscript and other details for publishing. This means you have two options: 1) design the cover yourself (not recommended unless you have experience) and 2) hire a freelance graphic designer to create your cover.

The process of researching and finding an experienced, book cover designer can be overwhelming. There are many platforms designed to help consumers find freelancers for all types of projects including design-related projects, and there are platforms that are more specific to helping writers find freelance service providers. Here are some of the more popular platforms:

Authors can work with freelance book cover designs to complete their covers.–  Fiverr
–  Upwork
–  Dribbble
–  Reedsy
–  DesignCrowd            

You can also use your internet browser’s search engine to find freelance designers or design firms that specialize in book formatting and cover design. If using a freelance designer is the path you are choosing for your book cover design, be sure to use reputable platforms to search for a designer, verify the designer’s credibility, and ask for book cover examples if their online portfolio doesn’t include any.

If you have graphic design experience, understand book-formatting requirements, and are knowledgeable about book cover standards, you can attempt to create your own cover artwork. When publishing through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, the platform offers a “Cover Creator Tool”. Design platforms like Canva and Adobe Express offer templates to get you started. It’s always a good idea to create a couple of options and share with your followers or network for feedback.

3. Use Budget-Friendly Pre-Designed Cover Art

We understand that publishing budgets can vary widely from author to author, but book cover design is not an area where you want to cut corners. There are ways, however, to find budget-friendly design options that will provide a quality cover and not eat up a large portion of your marketing budget. This includes platforms that provide pre-designed covers that can be customized to your needs. Here are some popular options:

–  99designs
–  Covertopia
–  Bookcoverzone
–  Getcovers
–  SelfPubBookCovers

Research your favorite book covers to see what works and what doesn't.4. Research the Designers for Book Covers You Love

Sometimes the most valuable and telling research is to study the book marketplace and see what readers are talking about and what is selling well. Take a look at the book covers that make you immediately pick up the books to learn more. What is it about these covers that is so compelling? The fonts, the colors, the imagery? Take note of the things you like and dislike so that you have a good idea of what might work for your cover. You can also check a book’s front or back matter to see if the author gave credit to their cover designer. If you are a fan of the designer’s work, you can research them and see if they might be a good fit to design your cover.

Just remember, your book’s cover design needs to attract your target readers, so you might have to put your color, font, or design preferences aside to make sure your cover accurately conveys your book’s genre and appeals to the right readers.

How Much Can I Expect to Pay for a Quality Cover Design?

A professional book cover design can cost anywhere from $50 to $500+, depending on the level of customization, complexity, file formats needed, and experience of the designer. It’s important to understand what you are getting with the design package or quote you are reviewing. Some common elements include:

•  Print cover files – includes front, spine, and back
•  eBook and/or Audiobook cover files – front only
•  3-D rendering of your book cover for promotional purposes
•  Set number of design options
•  Set number of revisions

You can save money on your cover design by requesting a less complex design (stock photos versus custom illustrations), limiting formats, and keeping revisions at a minimum.

Your book's cover is a blank canvas and needs a great design.Tips for Working with a Book Cover Designer

The clearer you are in communicating your design preferences and needs, the better the chances a designer will meet your expectations with the first round of designs. You’ll also want to begin looking for a cover designer far in advance of your book’s release date, as the design process can take up to several weeks. Here are some tips that will help you find the right fit for your cover design and ensure it is a positive collaboration:

•  Create a summary of what your book is about (themes, major plot points, and characters), and how your cover might reflect that
•  Let the designer know which colors, fonts, and other design elements you prefer
•  Provide at least 3 examples of covers in your genre that you like and want to emulate
•  Let them know your budget and the ideal timeline for your cover design up front
•  Be clear about what formats and size you are publishing and how they will be published (different printers and online platforms may have different file requirements)
•  Provide your ISBNs and any other information needed for barcodes

Don’t underestimate the importance of a compelling book cover that will draw readers in and entice them to purchase your book. Working with a professional designer is the best way to accomplish this, so make sure you understand your options based on your publishing path, and research the market to see what will make your book stand out.

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