9 Tips to Consider When Hiring a Book Cover Designer

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Publishing a book requires a lot more than simply completing your manuscript. After that, you’ve got a lot more on your plate, such as creating a stellar book cover. Despite the age-old advice not to, people absolutely judge books by their covers, so don’t underestimate the importance of working with an experienced designer for yours.

In your search for the ideal book cover designer, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Know what a good book cover is worth.

Book cover design matters, so this isn’t the time to be frugal. It’s possible you could find some great designers for cheap, especially if you’re targeting designers from the developing world on freelancer markets—but don’t expect to land yourself such a designer. Be prepared to pay between $50 and $350 dollars. It’ll be worth it.

2. Hire a designer with experience.

Book cover designers come in a wide array of varying skill levels and styles, so shop around to make sure the designer you hire can produce a book cover you’ll be satisfied with. Browse many different designers to compare their previous book covers. You can also think of book covers you’ve encountered that you particularly liked and try to find the artists who designed them.

3. Read their testimonials and reviews.

When you’re looking for a book cover designer, one of the most important resources is the opinions of other authors. If you’re shopping on a freelancer marketplace, read the reviews carefully, and if a designer has any negative reviews, be sure to investigate the authors’ complaints. Otherwise, while browsing designer portfolios, take note of the names of a few authors and contact them to ask about their experiences with those designers. Authors love talking about their books, and they’re happy to help out fellow authors.

4. Make sure the book cover designer’s website is professional.

If a book cover designer has a poorly designed website, it’s hard to expect that they’ll be any better at designing book covers. The website should be clean and crisp and should reflect the artist’s design talent. It should lay out all the information you need, such as prices and the types of files you’ll receive, in an easily accessible manner. Any reputable designer’s website will also feature a large portfolio. If the designer has only one or two designs to show off, exercise caution.

5. Make sure the designer uses only stock photos with a Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.

Even though the book cover designer is ultimately responsible for creating a design with an improperly licensed photo, you could be held liable down the road if you run into legal issues with the cover of your book. To avoid this, insist that your book cover designer provide you with proof that the images they’re using are licensed for commercial use or are their own images. If you want to take the utmost precaution, you can search for images yourself and provide them to the designer.

6. Know what you want.

Some authors don’t have any good ideas themselves for the book cover and expect the designer to come up with all the ideas. That’s fine—if you have the money. Typically, the more concepts a designer offers, the more they charge.

So come up with a basic idea of what you want and communicate it to your book cover designer, allowing them to turn your idea into a work of art. If you’re strapped for ideas, ask people who’ve read your book to help you brainstorm or browse the covers of similar books in the same genre.

7. Know the designer’s policy on revisions.

It’s rare that the first draft a book cover designer presents is exactly what you want. Revisions are just a part of the job, but different designers have different policies, so make sure you know what your designer will do for you. Some offer unlimited revisions, but others start charging after a certain number.

8. Optimize your cover design for digital use.

If your book is an e-book or you’re marketing it online, it’s vital to hire a book cover designer who can produce a design suitable for the web. It’s not uncommon for designs intended for paperback or hardcover books to feature text too small to read when displayed in a digital format, so be sure to communicate your needs to the designer.

Another issue with digital covers is pixelation. For most file types, when small images are enlarged, they become pixelated. To avoid this problem, determine the dimensions appropriate for your needs and let the designer know.

9. Don’t get scammed.

Unfortunately, just like any other industry, the book cover design world has its share of scammers. Be proactive in your search to make sure no one takes advantage of you. Gather different quotes, and never hire a book cover designer without first seeing their portfolio. Don’t pay upfront unless you have significant reason to believe the designer won’t just take your money and disappear.

Additionally, if you have an urgent publishing schedule, make sure the designer responds quickly, as they could delay your publishing plans otherwise.

Finding the right book cover designer is no easy task, and if you want a cover you’re satisfied with, you have to be willing to put in the time, effort, and money required to achieve it. Since book covers are vitally important to readers’ perception of your book and can drastically influence your sales, trust only the most skilled, most experienced professional book cover designers to deliver a phenomenal design for your book cover.

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