Getting the right book cover design is critical to the success of your book, and choosing the right designer is critical to getting a great book cover. There are hundreds (thousands?) of book cover designers out there, so how do you choose the best one?
First of all, there are probably many designers who could do an excellent job creating a cover for you. Selecting the right designer is a process of balancing price, process, portfolio—and the gut feeling you have about them.
Price – You can pay anywhere from $150 to $5000 for a single cover design. Although a $150 cover may not represent your book as well as you would like, it does not automatically follow that the most expensive designer will be the best one for your book. Your budget may dictate a maximum price, but this is not the place to cut corners. Expect to pay something in the range of $750 – $2000 for a quality cover.
Process – What is the expected timeline for delivering the finished cover? How many revisions do they allow as part of their standard contract? Will they work with the printer to resolve any issues with their files? How does the designer work with you? Many will read the book (or parts of it), talk with you, then develop a few concepts for the cover. After they present these initial concepts, they will get your feedback, make revisions and create the final version.
Portfolio – Make sure the designer’s style meshes with your vision for your book. Although most designers are capable of creating attractive covers for a variety of books, most have a style that may or may not be right for your book. Look at sample covers not just to see which are most attractive, but which designers seem to understand books like yours.
Trust Your Gut – When I was reviewing designer portfolios, I found one showcasing two covers that told me that the designer knew my book. These books were not on the same subject as mine, and I didn’t want my book cover to look exactly like the ones I saw; however, both covers evoked the feeling I wanted for my book. I got the designer on the phone and immediately felt comfortable with her. That was the designer I hired, and she did an excellent job.
Do not rush the process of choosing a book cover designer. Do your homework and choose someone who will help you create a finished book of which you can be proud.