This post concludes the extended two-week run of Cover Design Week. To see the previous posts, click the CDW tag below.
If you’re thinking about hiring a cover designer the critical first step is thoroughly considering your needs, abilities and tolerances. Because of the work I’ve put in I now know why I’m looking for help with the TYOTE redesign, and what it is I want to come away with when I have someone help me. This in turn helps me define the qualities I’m looking for in a designer, apart from any budgetary limitations.
As to who I’ll hire I don’t know yet. I received a number of helpful responses in reply to my request for recommendations, and I encourage you to ask for recs from people you know or writers whose covers you like. You may not get a response from everyone, but if you’re polite and patient I’m confident you’ll end up with designers worth considering.
Having previously noted that cost is not a useful metric for determining quality or effectiveness in a book cover, and that nobody really knows how a particular cover design will impact sales, the objective I’m now aiming for is a cover I like. Because every independent writer is also their own marketing department and sales force, I think it’s important to have confidence in the first impression my book will be making.
The obvious problem is that not only do some writers have no idea how to design their own book cover, they may not (or should not) trust their own eye when looking at the work of others. If you think you’re in that boat, ask a few friends or peers for feedback on designs you’re considering. (Do NOT put someone else between you and the person designing your cover. You will complicate the process, diminish the effectiveness of the collaboration, and learn little or nothing that will help you the next time.)
Finally, I think there’s an obvious point that needs to be made about all of this. No matter how much time and money you have, no matter how talented you (and your designer, if you hire one) are, there are diminishing returns to agonizing about your cover. And that point arrives fairly quickly.
While we’ve all seen covers we found horrendous, the truth is that most covers are acceptable. Your goal, then, should not be designing the perfect cover, but avoiding the unadulterated abomination.
— Mark Barrett