You’ve decided to hire a designer to design your book cover! Awesome! So where do you, as a writer, start?
First, where should you be looking?
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 design 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 an especially good resource to use since people’s experiences (especially from people you trust) are usually a reliable way to find someone who will 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. 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.
Writing/author self publishing forums
Search your regular writing forum and see if there are 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 provide you the details.
Second, when you’ve found the right designer…
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 want to. 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!
Third, what you should be telling the designer…
- What your book is about. Don’t go in to great detail but at least hit the main points, as well as the genre and sub-genre.
- What design/theme you’re looking for. Try and find examples in other book designs so that you can give them a clear idea. If you don’t know then say that instead. Tell them you’re open to concepts and ideas they might have.
- Your budget limitations. Whether it’s $10 or $1000 be honest. There’s no point is telling them you can afford more when you can’t, and you will be in a very tangled web at the end of the project when you are up against a contract that says you have to pay in full!
- Tell them if you have a timeline you’re working with, or not.
- Don’t know what you want? Start by figuring out what images you want on your book cover.
That is usually enough information to get the ball rolling. Why not get out there now and start window shopping for your book cover? Or head over and read about the 4 things that will make you the perfect client for a designer, to prepare yourself.
Share your experiences below! Have you had difficulty finding a book cover designer? What would make it easier? What resources did you use to find the right designer for you?