How to successfully design a cover

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Designing a cover is an exciting process, but it can also be a stressful one. In this blog post, I will walk you through all the points you need to consider.

First, decide what your budget is. If your budget is on the low side, you might want to check out sites like Fivver.

However, you must be aware that these sites tend to focus on quantity over quality and that many of the freelancers will try to pump out as many covers as quickly as possible, thus severely limiting individual attention and amount of revisions performed.

If you decide to go with a cover artist who is more established and has an own website, be prepared to pay more. Just like on Fivver, you will soon discover that there are a lot of cover artists out there. In addition to carefully checking their website and portfolio, try to find their work on Amazon. Check whether authors have stuck with the designed cover or hired a new artist to change it because the initial cover wasn’t selling or they were unsatisfied with it.

Next, decide what package you need and ensure your selection of cover artists offer them. You might think you only want an e-book cover, but I suggest looking for cover artists who also provide print covers. You never know when you decide to offer a printed or even audiobook version to your readers. Check with your cover artist whether you get discounts for multiple covers etc.

Once you have found several artists that you like and who are within your pricing range, contact them. I suggest contacting at least five, and having a list of ten artists ready. Some artists might never get back to you while others aren’t taking on new clients. If an artist is busy, you must decide whether to wait for this artist or go to somebody else. Personally, I believe that it makes sense to wait for a good artist for a few weeks until a timeslot becomes available. I wouldn’t wait several months though, since this would severely postpone your book release.

Once you have agreed with your artist on the time and date you will start working on the cover, be prepared to provide your artist with images you like. Check out Amazon and books in your genre to get a feel for what should be on the cover and what colors and font work.

Ask your artists where they get their images from. Bigstock, Shutterstock, and Depositphotos are the most popular sites. Once you know which photo provider your artist uses, ask him how many images are included in your package. Then go to the website and search for images. Don’t under estimate the time it will take you to find a good image. I would calculate in at least several hours for finding the perfect model in the perfect pose and then another few hours for background etc.

Withstand the temptation to pick a model or an image from the first page of results. The first page is seen by a lot of people. The chances that another author is using this same image as you for their cover is very high. You don’t want readers to think that you are a copycat or uncreative. Make sure to ask your cover artist how confident there are in image manipulation. Certain artists will want you to pick one model, while others will be more flexible and be able to combine the face of one model with arms from another image and an outfit from a third image. When picking your background, make sure that the background isn’t too busy and doesn’t detract from the focal point of your cover. Also, if your background has too many colors, it will be difficult to have your title and author name pop out.

In summary, consider these points when hiring a cover artist:

  • What is your budget?
  • What package do you need?
  • How many images, revisions, and photo manipulation do you need?
  • When does your cover has to be ready by?

I hope this post has been helpful in your search for the perfect cover and will bring you one step closer to your journey of becoming a self-published author.

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