1. KeikoAbe

    KeikoAbe New Member

    Jan 16, 2016
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    How to get the best book cover design possible

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by KeikoAbe, Jan 16, 2016.


    I'm starting a business where I want to help self-publishing writers to get a book cover design fitting their expectations and needs to help them sell their work.
    I really want to know how I can optimize my service to guarantee the authors satisfaction with my work and I would love to get some feedback on a few questions.

    1.What do you look for in a designer for your book cover? What do you value the most about this service?

    2.What are some issues, problems or worries you are facing according to this service?

    3.What experiences have you had or heard of and what could've done better?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    I would love to hear all about it so I can help self-publishing authors fulfill their dream of publishing their own book and have it succeed.

  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I like it when designers have a gallery I can look at, with lots of different cover examples. It's probably best if it's all their work, but it'd probably be useful if it had work from other artists, too. The idea isn't so much "I want my cover to look exactly like that one" but more "that one has the mood I'm looking for, but I really like the layout of this one, and I'd like a bolder font like that one" etc.

    And I like it when my cover designers check in with me before they go too far - like, for the cover that's my current avatar, the artist (AJ Corza) showed me the model's image before she did any further work, asked me about using a sort of unusual colour palette, and then was responsive to my feedback (which is always pretty vague, but in this case was something like "I like it, but I'm scared by how much white space there is at the top. Can there be a little less?" And then she made it less!)
    KeikoAbe likes this.
  3. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

    Feb 10, 2011
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    Rotorua, New Zealand

    For me since I started using artists, I usually do some browsing of other book covers in the same genre and with the same fictional elements, and then I find images I like and start approaching the artists. Often I want much the same image with justa few tweaks.

    Issues that phase me are more often not related to that side of things. It's the more practical stuff like licences, costs, completion dates, fitting the cover to a book, getting it with and without titles, in the right format (ie not pdf) etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
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  4. Electralight

    Electralight Member

    Jan 6, 2016
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    I always look for someone that is as passionate about my writing as I am. I want someone who wants my book to succeed, and puts their best effort into the cover. That being said, a lot of designers think about what they would buy, and don't know what attracts the general public. You see that a lot in beginner designers. The author might like the cover too, but a random person walking though Barns and Noble (for instance) might not give that cover a second glance.
    KeikoAbe likes this.
  5. Nicoel

    Nicoel Senior Member

    Jan 4, 2015
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    I'd want someone with a gallery of covers that they've already designed, so I can get a feel for their work. Also, it'd be helpful if they have information on how they work with authors available.

    This doesn't really apply to anything you've posted about, but as it's bothering me and the subject is somewhat related, so I'm going to take the opportunity to complain. Can people please stop using sad looking women on their covers? I want some actual design! Art! Patterns! Symbols! Something other than a stock image! I go through the library looking for something good to read, and it's all just stock images or cartoon drawings. It immediately turns me off of the book. Thing is, I know that's just my personal preference.

    Okay, rant over. :)
    KeikoAbe likes this.
  6. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    If I were to self-publish (unlikely) I would want:

    - Iron-clad assurances that the person selling me the cover owns every element of it or has licensed it appropriately.
    - A very clear English-language description of my rights in using the cover. If, say, I want to re-use the image on my business card, or a tee shirt, do I have that right?
    - Speaking of licensing, I would want exclusivity--I wouldn't want that same cover, or one substantially similar, to be sold to a hundred other people. The same for any components of the cover, like the image. I don't know how you write this assurance, but I'd want it.
    - Does a cover stand alone? Doesn't it present a design aesthetic that should carry on into the book? Will I be offered some recommended fonts and layout guidance?
  7. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    A gallery of covers the artist has previously done would be very good, to see if I like the artist's taste and style.

    Of course how affordable the artist is in a huge factor.

    I appreciate an artist who can present me with a few ideas and work with me to come up with a cover. Rather than only do exactly as I ask without any input of her own - I'm not the designer, after all. I want the artist's artistic input, her professional opinion etc - I don't just want a photoshop technician. Of course my word should be final, as I'm the customer, but I do appreciate suggestions. And it is often that the user does not really know how something should look - they only recognise it's the right thing when they finally see it. It is also often that something might look nice on screen but poor on an actual book, or poor when printed - these are nuances the artist should know and should alert me to, so I can make an educated choice. The artist should not just go, "All rightio!" and do as asked even when she knows it's going to be crap. An artist who is flexible with good intuition for what the user wants would be invaluable.

    So more or less I'd like a partner in crime rather than just a hired hand :)
    KeikoAbe likes this.
  8. Alejandro89

    Alejandro89 Member

    Mar 27, 2016
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    Costa Rica
    I think a good cover helps bring life to a book, and also, it is very important in the sense that is the firts sign the audience, if they have not heard anything about it, will use to start "reading" the book. In some sense, the cover becomes part of the soul of the text. I've been published once in an anthology my college made, and the cover was disastrous. If I ever publish, regardless of who pays for it, I'll make sure it is appropiate and doesn't lie.
  9. Brindy

    Brindy Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2016
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    Somerset, UK
    I used a local illustrator who I could discuss what I wanted, for a fixed price including any re-work, for all formats for online and printed, and where I retained all rights to the final artwork.

    I explained what I was looking for, and took a few examples of the style I liked. He then came up with an initial design. I liked some of it, and not other bits, but we worked on it together and over a few re-works we got an end result that I love, I even have it as my desktop picture, to keep me focused on the goal.

    He did it in layers so he could change bits easily and it meant I felt relaxed about suggesting changes. I think it was important for me to have a face to face meeting and feel comfortable I could work with him.

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