The cover of your book is the first thing readers see when they browse brick-and-mortar or online bookstores.
Are the colors appealing? Does the cover convey the heart of the book? Is the title easy to read?
The fact that people will judge your book by its cover is exactly that: a fact. You need a cover designer who can sway people’s judgment toward the desire to purchase, not pass over.
Who should you hire?
Since you know exactly what your book is about, maybe you could create the cover yourself. Or, better yet, your cousin is currently looking for work – why not hire him?
While doing it yourself may save you money, if you have no experience with graphic design, you’ll be spending a lot of time researching and learning how to create covers—time you could spend working on your marketing, or writing your next book.
Research isn’t the only thing that will take up your time.
Much like the book-writing process itself, you’ll discover that every time you look at the cover there will be something you want to change. It will never be “just right” in your eyes since you know you can change it.
Hiring a relative may or may not save you money. If your cousin happens to be a book cover designer and understands what you’re looking for in a cover, go ahead and hire him.
But, make sure you have a contract and treat the arrangement exactly like any other business deal.
Make sure you get what you want, and make sure you pay for what you get. Don’t let any open-ended favors or expectations hang over your head and ruin family gatherings for the next few years.
Same goes for hiring friends: Hire them if they are professionals, not just because they are your friends.
Working with friends and family just for the sake of your relationship often causes problems. You think you’re doing them a favor by giving them something to do.
They think they’re doing you a favor and that you’ll love whatever they make for you because of your relationship with them.
You think they’ll know exactly what you want. They think you’ll understand if something comes up, and they can’t finish on time. Feelings can get hurt, and relationships can be damaged.
Where do you find a good book cover designer?
As with anything, getting recommendations from other authors should be first on your list.
Ask friends and post on social media about your need for a cover designer. If you belong to a Facebook group for self-publishers, ask there for recommendations.
Be sure to get recommendations! (Have I mentioned that already?) You need to know others have used the designer and been pleased with the work.
You need to know you can trust the person or company designing your cover. They are, in a sense, putting clothes on your baby. (And you don’t want just any old clothes on your baby!)
What do cover designers charge for their work?
Costs for cover designs vary as much as book topics do.
You could find someone on Fiverr or Upwork who will listen to what you want and create the perfect design on the first try for only $5, $20 or $50.
Or, you could find someone from those same sites who is totally out in left field, revises 20 times and still doesn’t get your book cover design right.
Listen to Related Podcast: How to Outsource Your Book Cover Design
If your budget is minimal it is possible to find a designer who will work with you.
But, think of your cover design as an investment. Remember, first impressions matter.
If you want your baby dressed in artful clothing which draws the attention of readers ready to buy, you will need to invest some money in that fine raiment.
When you work with a company like Archangel or 99 Designs, you’ll get multiple designs to choose from, plus, after you’ve chosen your design, you can make further revisions to make your cover perfect for your book.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $249 and up, depending on your needs and how much you wish to invest.
Here are 6 questions you need to ask before you hire a book cover designer:
1. Do they have references and can they supply samples of current work?
If this info isn’t on their website, ask that they send you samples via email. Better yet, if you can talk to past customers, do it.
Find out if the designer delivered on-time, if the author’s expectations were met, if the designer was professional and willing to make changes.
2. Have they created other covers for books in your genre/niche?
Understanding the genre/niche market is important.
If you write action/suspense thrillers, you probably don’t want pretty flowers and birds in a park setting on the cover.
If you write cookbooks, you want appetizing food on the cover. Make sure they understand what you need.
3. How many mock-ups will be created?
How long will it take? If the designer sends you one mock-up at a time, offering to “change it” as needed, find another designer.
Professional designers will send multiple mock-ups for you to look at and compare, before making a final decision.
4. What is their policy for revisions?
Professional designers are willing to take aspects of one design and merge them into another until your cover design is exactly the way you want it.
Read Related: 10 Elements Of A Good Nonfiction Book
They will ask you questions – before they start and while they work – in order to understand your book and your desires.
If they aren’t questioning you, be wary. You want an original design, not a stock photo slapped behind your title.
5. What do they charge?
Is it a flat fee for the whole project, or do they charge by the hour? If they charge by the hour, will you be charged for the initial consultation/phone call?
6. In what formats/dimensions will the work be given to you?
Is it just for digital ebooks, or will they provide files for print books as well? Will you hold all rights to the images? Make sure you get what you pay for from your designer.
You’ll need to get either a TIFF or a JPEG image (better yet, ask for both), as that’s what KDP currently accepts.
The ideal dimensions your designer should send you (for KDP) is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels (the height/width ratio is 1.6:1).
KDP recommends saving your file with a minimum of 72 DPI, and it should be less than 50MB.
To learn more about publishing through KDP, go to their website to read their guidelines.
Make sure your fonts and images are embedded and that the file is optimized.
Finding and hiring a cover designer doesn’t have to be hard, but don’t settle for just anyone.
Find a professional who comes highly recommended, invest in the design, and work closely with the designer.
You’ll be much happier with the finished product (and you’ll get more sales) when your book is packaged perfectly.