How to Outsource Stunning Book Cover Design

ASP 23: How to Outsource Stunning Book Cover Design

Quote of the Day:

“Aspiring authors, get this through your heads. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only: to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb and to buy it.”

– Larry Correia

Today, Steve talks about the value of a great book cover, and the best ways to go about getting one.

We have talked before about how important your book cover design is.

But can you review why this is something authors should really focus time, energy, and money on?

Despite the age-old advice, people do judge books by their covers. And typically, they skip books with crappy covers. Book cover design and editing are the aspects of self-publishing that you should really invest in.

What really makes a book cover stand out and grab a reader’s attention?

I hire people to do my book covers because I knows that a good cover draws in readers. Your cover should fit your particular market, so a good practice is to become aware of what successful books in your niche are doing. Then try to emulate them.

Once you have your basic idea, turn it over to your graphic designer, and follow their lead. You are hiring them for a reason—they hopefully know what they are doing.

And no matter what, make sure that your main title is legible, and that it will stand out on the thumbnail.

After your design is complete, you can use or Facebook groups to ask for feedback.

What should people do if they’re hesitant about spending on cover design?

If it’s a choice between DIY and a Fiverr designer, go with Fiverr. It will be worth the investment. But make sure to provide examples to your designer, otherwise they have nothing to go on.

Check out this guide from Kindlepreneur, and remember that a good quality cover pays for itself.

What makes a cover look professional and not cheesy?

When in doubt, go as minimal as possible. It is easy to get caught up in fancy designs and complicated layouts, but simple usually does the trick just as well, if not better. If a cover is too busy, the eye doesn’t know where to go, and you end up losing readers.

Check out 7 Mistakes Indie Authors Make with Their Covers.

Does font size and color make a big difference?

Here are some good examples of simple book designs with white backgrounds—as simple as it gets:

You might also check out David Murphy, one of the best cover designers out there. His latest fiction book has a great cover.

I know you like graphics for your book covers. Why do you prefer graphics over photography?

This just seems to be what works for my books. I hate stock photos, and feels I have more success with graphics.

For non-fiction books, how can the cover reflect the tone of the book?

This all depends on what you want your book to reflect. Are you trying to communicate your main thesis? Are you hoping to draw someone in with a flashy picture? What you are looking to do will dictate what your cover looks like.

Here are a couple of examples of book covers that have successfully used stock photography:

Should you try to design your own cover, or have it professionally designed?

If you are a great graphic designer, and feel that book design could be one of your 80/20 activities, then by all means do it yourself. But for most people, it is much more time and cost effective to hire a professional. Remember, you can only do so much with your time—and writing books is your main focus.

If you decide to hire a professional to do your covers, do a “human split test.” Go to, post a project (be as specific as possible), hire the best two or three applicants, and compare their final products. Then add the best designer to your stable of freelancers.

What would you expect to pay?

Obviously this is going to depend on the quality that you are looking to buy, but in general I’d expect to spend between $100 and $300. Remember to be specific when you tell your designer what you want, and provide examples if possible. And always make sure that you have everything in a PSD files.

Two great resources for book cover design are:

What if you want to change up your cover design? Should you do that?

Depending on your focus and your priorities at the moment, changing your book cover design could be one of your 80/20 activities. If you want to optimize your book catalog, you can test this variable to see if different covers increase your sales.


Book cover design is just one of many aspects of self-publishing, but it is an important one. If you are struggling to get started with self-publishing, check out the It gives a detailed explanation for each point so you know exactly what to do.

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