Book Cover Art: How to Find and Hire a Stellar Book Cover Designer
Your book cover is the first thing potential readers see. It makes the first impression and gives readers a glimpse into the journey your book will take them on.
There’s science behind the importance of your book cover: The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
But that’s not the only reason your book cover needs to look great. A well-designed cover also makes your book easier to market, and sets the expectation for the quality of the writing.
You may know your cover design is important, but your design skills may not be as developed as your writing. Words are your strong suit, after all.
Outsourcing a designer can help you get a cover design that will make your book fly off the shelves. Here’s how to find the perfect designer for your next book cover.
Where to Find a Book Cover Designer
There are many options where you can find a cover designer, depending on your budget:
The good: When you use 99designs, numerous designers bid on your project. That means you get to choose from a ton of competing offers.
The bad: 99designs can be a bit pricy. The more you spend, the more bids you receive. Book covers start at $199 for an ebook, $299 for a physical book, and $399 for a bundled package.
The good: You can use LinkedIn to perform a search for book cover designers. If you search “book cover designer,” there are more than 36,000 people in the results — that’s a lot designers to choose from!
The bad: You have to do your own research on LinkedIn designers. Make sure you check out their portfolio and recommendations. It’s important to vet carefully, especially if they’ve not been referred to you by someone you trust. Always have a contract in place. The price will vary, depending on the designer.
The good: A design agency has a staff of designers who create covers for a list of clients. They’re known for consistent and high-quality work, professionalism and dependability.
The bad: When it comes to a design agency, the biggest downside is the price tag. They tend to be the most expensive option. However, you’ll get what you pay for!
The good: Asking trusted colleagues and fellow authors can give you a few great leads on where to find a book cover designer. If they’ve had a good experience, there’s a good chance you will too.
The bad: The referrals you receive might not be exactly what you’re looking for, and you might feel obligated to work with them.
The good: Simply using Google to search for book cover designers can turn up a ton of results — the options are nearly infinite.
The bad: Much like with LinkedIn, you need to vet carefully. With Google, there can also be too many designers to weed through, which may become overwhelming.
The good: Fiverr is the most affordable option on this list. You can get a book cover designed for as little as $5. There are also many designers to choose from.
The bad: Some people have reported poor experiences with Fiverr, often saying that the quality is not up to par for what they’re looking for.
How to Hire a Designer for Your Book Cover
Check out their website and portfolio extensively.
Look for experience in designing bestsellers and experience working for high-quality authors. Examine the visual aesthetic and if their style it’s something that would work with your vision and genre.
Be upfront and honest.
Many times, any issues writers may have with designers can be avoided with appropriate communication. Set expectations from the beginning — in writing — and be upfront about your budget. Ask about their process, including how many revisions is included in their fee, so you know what to expect.
Determine your budget.
Before you decide who’s going to design your book cover, you’ll want to figure out how much you’re willing to spend. This will help you narrow down your designer options. Keep in mind that a bigger budget usually means higher-quality design, but this isn’t always the case. Do your due diligence on all potential designers before deciding.
Have some ideas of your own.
Even if you typically think in words rather than pictures, it’s a good idea to present a design vision. Give your designer examples of cover designs you like (and don’t like), and explain exactly what stands out to you about them. This way the designer will have a direction, and you’ll likely be more pleased with the results.
Be aware of legal rights to images.
Not having rights to images can be a legal nightmare. Make sure you ask your designer where they obtained images and usage rights. Request records so you can keep them on file yourself.