Dear Author, are you ready to judge a book by its cover?
No, don’t do it yourself. Well, maybe you can if you have been a graphic designer for twenty years and are finally getting around to writing your book. The fastest way to discredit yourself is to design your own book cover. I know that hurts. I also know that some authors CAN design covers with a lot of practice and are willing to update their covers as they excel at graphic design. You might just have a knack for it. Must of you won’t. It’s more about executing the idea than the idea itself, in a high quality render that is sharp and clear, with legible words.
It will be pricey, so save. On the lower end, you’re probably looking at $99 for a book cover. A moderate level would be $150-300. On the high end, a quality book cover from a popular designer might be around $800. Publishing a book is something that you need to prepare for by researching the industry, and budgeting and saving money for months or even years. Publishing a book is something you have to do because you love it with everything you’ve got.
View a designer’s portfolio. This goes without saying, but you need to find an artist that is making what you want. Check the best-sellers in your genre and decide what represents your book. Google and search through multiple pages of cover designers and compare rates and previous work.
What formats do you need? I know you’re taking my advice to publish both print and electronic. Print formats include the front and back cover. Print formats are usually a .pdf file. Electronic copies are just the front cover in a .jpeg or .png file.
Be specific about what you want. I used Create Imaginations. Paul’s work was what I wanted. I wanted a beautiful setting with characters who have an edge of fantasy to them—meaning, they don’t not look like photographs of people (romance novels use many photographs of people but since this isn’t a romance novel, I needed the fantasy element.) but they have this beautiful edge about them. He requested an excerpt to fit the scene, which is impressive, and an extra step to insure the integrity of the cover.Don’t be afraid to ask for changes. Some designers might charge you for revisions, so look for that in the pricing. This is your book and it needs to represent the image and feeling you get from it. I loved my cover, but I requested some additional information, like the series name and number to be visible.
Remember that professional services are time savers. By the time you learn cover design, you might have been able to write a companion novella to your series. A designer will save you time, frustration, and wondering if the book cover will format correctly when you upload it. You should be writing, so even though you need capital upfront and the initial investment for cover art is scary, I hope you save time and have more of it to write, because only you can tell your story.
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