Cover Designer Secrets: Working With A Professional Cover Designer

Cover Designer Secrets: Working With A Professional Cover Designer

Make sure your cover designer is the right fit.

Sometimes the choice of cover designer can seem overwhelming, especially for an author who is self-publishing for the first time, but it is important not to rush in. Choosing the right cover designer is a big decision for you and for your work, so taking the time to find someone who is a good fit is crucial.

Hopefully their site is clean and professional, with prices and details of their services clearly laid out. It is important to know what you are getting and what you are not. It isn’t all about the cost though – most important is their cover design portfolio. This is where you  get the chance to look at their work. Do you like what you see? Do the covers look professional, with good typography and imagery? Do they fit their genres? If you love what you see and think they’re right for you, then read over their FAQs, pricing, and service details, asking any questions before going ahead. Most designers will ask for a 50% deposit before work commences, so be prepared for this.

Be Flexible

They know what they’re doing. Chances are that if you could design your own cover, then you wouldn’t be looking to hire a professional, so let them do their job. It is tough, we know, and you’ll want to tweak and direct and maybe have a million and one ideas for your cover design. But you need to be flexible, and that means sometimes stepping back and letting your designer do their thing. They may come up with something that you had never considered before. They will know about the psychology of colour, about genre conventions, about space, light, shadow, and how to best draw the eye.

If you micromanage and stick rigidly to the one concept that you’ve been nurturing in your head, or insist on a design that includes everything including the kitchen sink, then you are likely to run into trouble. As a general rule, having a specific scene from your book or a specific character is a no-no, as it won’t usually convey the tone and feel of your book adequately. You need something representative and impactful and your designer knows that. Of course a good designer will listen to your ideas, but let them open them up and play and interpret them. Be flexible. They’re working to give your book a cover that shines and want you to succeed.

Good communication

Whenever you’re working with someone else on your book, good communication is vital, and cover design is no different. The last thing you both need are crossed wires. Most designers, when you take up their service, will ask you for as much detail as possible on your book. Never skip this step and always attempt to answer as fully as possible. We know that it can be frustrating and that you want to get things moving as quickly as possible, but giving your designer the information they need is important, as is answering any follow up questions they might have.

If your designer has any questions then answer as quickly and as fully as you can, but also, don’t be afraid to get in touch with any queries you might have. Ultimately, you both want the same thing – the best possible cover for your book.

When it comes to giving feedback on a cover draft, take some time to consider everything before jumping in with an immediate reaction. If you have any concerns or issues, then try and raise them as succinctly as possible so that your designer can identify what needs altered and perhaps better meet what you are after. Work with them and be prepared to listen to their advice on why something will or won’t work.

Get the technical details right

Some of the technical details can seem intimidating or tedious but they are important, especially for your designer. If  you are having a print cover designed, then you need to have decided on the trim size of your book before work starts, so that your designer can be working with the right size template from CreateSpace.

Your designer will also need your ISBN number, whether it’s one you’ve purchased yourself, or one provided by CreateSpace. This is so that they can generate your bar code and include the ISBN on the back of the cover.

At Author Packages, we tend to ask for additional information that will go on the panel on the lower part of the back cover, such as your web address (if you have one).

These little things may seem annoying because you just want to get the ball rolling, but they are important and it’s all for the greater good. When all is said and done, you and your cover  designer are both striving to give your book the best possible chance. Making sure that your cover is the best it can possibly be is key to that, but it takes good communication and dedication to get there.