"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Choosing a Book Cover Designer

Ok, you've written the best story you could. Maybe you had some beta-readers give you feedback. Maybe you got it professionally edited. Now, you feel you are ready to publish your story but you need a cover.

Many say that a great book cover gets you the attention you deserve. I agree, I do think a professional-looking book cover is important.

The question is do you contract the services of a Book Cover designer or DIY (Do it Yourself). Obviously, that is up to you. Research your options. Below are some resources.

Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, an online publishing service, offers a free Style Guide which has information on creating a quality book cover and steps to get a list of book cover deigners to find an artist to help you.

Besides writing my novelette which included a lot of research on various topics, I had to pick a book cover designer from dozens of possibilities and it was a learning experience.

I searched online. I used Mark Coker's artist list.

After interacting with several book cover designers, I learned: designers have different styles, different prices and to my mind, different customer service skills. Just looking at their website can tell you alot about the deisgner, not only about their style but about their customer service approach.

Look at a few book cover designer's websites to get an idea of the range of styles.

Look at the book cover artists samples and if possible testimonials.

It is helpful if you find some book covers you like, so you can communicate with the book cover artists. You may need to learn some new terminology about typefaces, the type and size of image files you will need not just for your ebook cover but for your website and more. If you are creating a cover for a POD, you will need back cover information like a book summary, reviewer quotes, and a spot for a barcode.

Once you find a few book cover designers you like, contact them, usually through email. Look at their response to see if they have taken the time to be clear about their turnaround times, costs, number of proofs and more.

I found several book cover designers' replies were off-putting. One designer did not even have an email, you had to use a contact form. I felt that made the artist inaccessible. Also, I would not use a designer who did not offer multiple forms of contact including a mailing address.

Method of payment for services is another thing to consider. When I was looking for a book cover designer, my only payment method was by check and that did not work for some designers.

Price was a factor because I had limited funds. Plus, some artists' style did not suit my story.

But, I got lucky, my book cover designer and I worked well together. I think Jolenene Naylor produced great covers for Gina's Dream/El Sueño de Gina. I am not an artist but Jolenene made it fun letting me select various elements for the cover.

Unfortunately, I do not think Jolenene is taking any more clients, but you can check her site for updates.

For my second book, Recipes from the Kitchen of a Frugal Non-Cook, I did it all myself, including making a good looking book cover using Apple's Pages software. One article by Michael Canfield helped me make the cover.

Also, encouragement from Ted Summerfield's free marketing guide, The Backward Approach to EBook Success helped me in my struggles to make my own book cover.

I don't want to make it sound easy. For me, it wasn't. Lots of research and countless attempts trying a wide variety of approaches took a lot of time and effort but the result was worth it.

Note: The RKFNC cover artwork is from Wikipedia Commons and I followed the credit guidelines.

Updated 1/15/2015

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