The great thing about self-publishing is you have complete control over the creative process. This can be overwhelming at times, but ultimately it’s liberating. Below are five ways to make sure you get a stellar book cover for your project.
1. Know your book. Know where it goes in the store and what kind of tone/voice you want the book cover to convey. For example, when working with my designer I told him I wanted to convey a charming, yet contemporary feel. If your book in a thriller you might want the cover to come off as dangerous or convey a sense of excitement.
2. Send potential designers covers you like that you would like your book to emulate. As a self-published or independent author you want your book cover to look as good if not better than NYT bestsellers. If your book has any chance of competing it needs to look the part.
3. Hire someone you trust. I have the advantage of knowing many designers through my day job, however the designer I chose to work with still had to earn my business. I told him what I needed for my book and he pitched a concept to me. I liked it and his rate was reasonable, so I hired him. If you don’t have the advantage of knowing someone personally there are other measures you can take to ensure a good business relationship. For example, how fast does the designer respond to your initial inquiry? Do they lay out their contract terms in a clear manner?
4. Give your designer key details about the book without being overbearing. Provide them with a cover blurb, comparable titles, and your elevator pitch, but don’t insist they read the book. Remember, not all elements of a story can be illustrated on the cover nor should they be. What you want to get across is a feeling/a tone. You want to invite the reader into your world and make them want to come along for the ride.
5. Push your designer to create the best cover he or she can. If you think something needs tweaking don’t be shy about voicing your opinion. For example, if you think a different font might work better for your genre speak up. Be sure you have a reason for suggesting changes, though, and explain to the designer why a particular element isn’t working for you.