The book cover design that you choose for your new (or even existing book) will have more than just an aesthetic effect, as most of us are aware, the first impression that you or your book give to anyone else will either lead to approval or rejection.
So why do some authors still take a gamble by fronting their work with a badly made design? This is a question that everyone who works within the publishing industry still shakes their heads at, when you consider the sheer volume of new titles which are released each and every day (not to mention the hard work that went into writing your book), you have to wonder why anyone wouldn’t take their book’s representation seriously.
The first thing that any author needs to come to terms with is that the book cover IS a form of advertising, sounds simple right? Well, the issue that many will face is that in writing the book you will have slowly formed an idea of what you’d like to see upon the cover itself. This can become quite personal to the individual author and in some cases go against the interests of the book itself, when an idea becomes deeply ingrained it can be hard to see it from another’s point of view.
There is also a danger in wanting to place too much upon the front cover, the ‘over-sell’ in any form of advertising always comes across as a little desperate and leaves the viewer with more questions (and not in a good way). From a design perspective, trying to place too many elements upon the book cover simply confuses the viewer, the fractions of seconds that you have to entice them to look further into your work aren’t enough and they simply move on.
Some authors will also go down the DIY path and give book design a go themselves, in fairness there are some good examples out there but far more bad ones unfortunately, whether this is done to micro-manage every aspect of the publication or simply to try and save money, the point is that your book gets represented unfairly, when people see an unprofessional design the same assumption is made about the pages within.
Getting a book cover designed by a professional is easier than you may have thought and the costs involved are far lower too, book designers will always have a website where you can view their current portfolio, prices and the easiest ways in which to get in contact with them. You can always look at books in stores to view who created their covers too (check on the acknowledgements/credits page), just remember that many of the biggest publishers use ‘in-house’ designers and so you won’t be able to use those.
When you do find a designer whose work you like (and has prices you’re happy with too) you should ensure that you check the terms and conditions, many designers will charge extra for stock imagery used and also hourly rates for any revisions that your wish to make. Also find out how many drafts you’ll get and also if they are completely different concepts or simply variations on type and color.
Most designers will be happy to simply answer any questions that you may have and if they are going for the ‘hard sell’ you can always walk away and look elsewhere, getting a book cover design should be a fun experience and lead to a long-term relationship between you as an author and your design team.
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