Book Cover Design: Should you hire a professional or do it yourself? - Melissa Alvarez
Indie publishing has been around forever but now, in our digital age, it’s easier than ever before to publish a book and become a successful author. As a self-publishing author, you have a responsibility to your readers not only to write a fantastic book, but to hire a knowledgeable editor and to utilize a creative cover so that you sell a high quality, professional product. Even if you’re a great editor, it’s always a good idea to have a second set of eyes look over your book to catch any typos, grammar mistakes or hanging threads that you might have missed. If you have the software skills and creativity you can make a cover too. Why would you need to hire a professional when you could do it all yourself?
The answer is if you’re good at design, understand the market trends and what will make a cover sell a book then you don’t need to hire anyone for your cover. But if you try your hand at making your own cover and ask other people their opinion only to discover they don’t “get” what you’re trying to convey about your book, then it might be time to go the professional route. A poorly designed cover can turn a reader off just as quickly as a great design can spur sales. I know I’ve purposefully bought indie books just because the cover was awesome and discovered new authors that are now on my must read list.
A professional cover designer will create a dynamic cover that grabs the reader’s attention from the start. Most book cover designers follow the New York publishing houses releases and pay attention to trends in cover design. They know what types of covers are selling well in a variety of genres and will use that knowledge and your book’s details to create a cover that will portray your book in the best light possible. Because Indie authors often hire quality cover designers, it’s becoming harder to distinguish a self-published Indie book from a New York published book on retailer’s websites.
When you start searching for a cover designer, there are a few things to keep in mind. Just as there are books that are written poorly, mediocre books, and books that are so well-written that you just can’t put them down, there is the same within cover designs. Some designers put together compelling covers that make you salivate to know what’s within those pages, some create good covers, and some produce cheap-looking, bad designs. It’s up to you as the author of your product to find the best designer possible for your book.
Consider the following when choosing a designer:
· Look at their portfolio. How many covers have they designed?
· Are the cover images clear, blended properly and does the concept “pop”? Or do their covers look amateurish and unprofessional?
· Are the covers comparable to the quality of covers on New York published books?
· Has the designer created “brands” for authors through their cover design work that will help grow the author’s career?
· Do they clearly state their policies on their website? (You don’t want a designer who is going to take royalties on your book sales simply because they designed the cover.)
· Do they seem easy to work with? Do they have a fair refund policy in place if they can’t design a cover that you love?
· Are the pre-designed covers offered of the same quality as the custom designs? Are they unique and one of a kind or can you find a very similar cover at other designer’s sites?
· Are the prices fair and compatible with industry standards?
Let’s talk pricing for a minute. With the influx of Indie books into the marketplace there has also been an influx of editors, ebook formatters, and cover designers. This is great because there needs to be quality professionals to handle the sheer volume of new Indie authors who need help. You can currently find cover designers online that charge from five dollars a cover to over several thousand dollars a cover at some of the large graphic design studios. That’s a wide range.
Remember that you get what you pay for but you shouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant amount for an excellent cover. Many of the really good designers are going to cost more but they’ll also deliver more. They normally give you a variety of package options with different prices levels to choose from as well. Creating an excellent cover takes time, especially if you’re trying to recreate characters from a book, and it’s the designer’s time and experience that you’re paying for when you’re hiring them to create a cover for you. Buying a low-cost cover may not always be the best route because you may end up unhappy with it and paying a new designer to replace it in the future.
You’ve put a lot of time and effort in the creation of your manuscript so take the time necessary to research and choose a professional designer, or to create a fantastic design if you do it yourself, so that your book will stand out in the crowd.
Melissa AlvarezRead Melissa’s complete bio at http://bookcovers.us/about
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