There are a number of services you can use for book design work, ranging from the inexpensive to higher-end products. I’ll be listing some links and resources in a bit. Before you start work on your cover give thought to what your end-goal is with each book. Is the quality of the cover important? Sometimes cover appearance isn’t a huge factor and other times it’s crucial. In all cases, there are some goals to meet.
Price can be a factor of quality. That said, I would use the type of book you’re producing as a determining factor in how much you want to spend. If, for example, you want to develop a series, it would behoove you to look for a designer who can create a unique look that will carry over beautifully from book to book so when people see a particular cover there’s a recognition factor that ties back to you. In this case, you’re clearly wanting a cover that will look as good on your tenth book as on your first.
On the other hand, if you’re producing a book that will be used solely as an eBook, you have more options. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to having a quality cover, just that you can likely get an eBook cover using less expensive resources.
If you have a book that will be both an eBook and a printed book, you want to have a high-quality cover that translates well to print.
Regardless of the book, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
• artwork aside, use colors that are appropriate to your genre. For example, a romance book would not appeal to readers of that genre if it was in oranges, browns, and reds. Those colors are more likely to appeal to readers of horror novels.
• keep in mind that the thumbnail of your book will be about 1 1/4″ high x 1″ wide when it shows up on Amazon (and most other platforms). That means any artwork should be bold and crisp, for fine detailing will be lost.
• the title, too, should visually pop when reduced down. Subtitles can be smaller, as can your name. Only those with well-recognized names and with a number of followers need have their name as large as or exceeding the size of the title.
Kindle & CreateSpace – both have their own cover creation software. The covers won’t rock your world, but they’ll get the job done for works you’re rushing to produce. With Kindle books, you can replace the cover as often as you desire, so a temp cover could just be a placeholder until you get the one you want. I did this with my Kindle Income Three Ways’ cover and had the chance to make many more sales than I would have made if I’d waited on the designer.
fiverr.com – Not all cover creators are the same here, so check the ratings and samples. Some designers definitely rank well above others in their skills. Be aware that for five bucks you aren’t getting original artwork. Once, I had work done and then went online to look at comparative titles and found a book with the exact cover and nearly the same title. You do get a chance to approve the artwork (generally, though “gigs” vary). For five dollars a job, I usually have three different designers do the work and then pick the one I like best. Tip: make sure you have an editable file in case you want to use the work in other ways. It may cost an extra $5, but I’ve been happy more than once that I chose that option. By the way, having an editable file was so other artists could tweak the art, not me. My artistic skills are the stuff they make cartoons about.
elance.com – You post your job and then work with the designer whose bid you like the most. Costs vary widely.
freelancer.com – You provide the specifics of your projects and wait for bids to come in. Choose the one you like best, pay, and await your finished project. Another option is to run a contest and pick the result you like best. Costs can run up to several hundred dollars.
99designs – prices run $299 – $899. You’re able to choose from several designs.
Another option is to upload your own picture or a picture that you’ve obtained the rights to, using that as the primary element of your cover. If this is your route, be sure you know the proper dpi needed. If you’re not familiar with dpi (dots per inch) you probably don’t have the skills to make a good cover. You can, however, provide the artwork to a designer (this is what I did with Confessions of a Sunday School Psychic) and get a good cover.
PublishingAuthority Service – I offer a service, too, where I work directly with designers whose work I’ve vetted and find to be of high quality. These are designers who “get” what it takes to create book covers that sell, so there isn’t a lot of trial and error. Prices range from $300 – $400, depending on what’s needed and how many changes are made. The reason I started this service is because many of “my” writers would get covers done before consulting with me and there would be too many issues to make the cover workable. Unless, as mentioned earlier, you’re working with an experienced book designer, you may have incorrect placement of ISBN codes or maybe spine dimensions are off, for example. My belief is that a book will (or should have) a lifetime that at least matches, if not exceeds, your own. I don’t know about you, but I want to be proud of what I produce and it’s worth the extra bit of expense to make everything look great. By the way, don’t forget to read my post on Ten Things Every Writer Should Know, as you want to make sure you own the book cover
If you would like to talk about your project, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a time to talk.