This post originally appeared on BookMarketing.net on 7/10/12.
Like it or not, people do judge books by the covers. And poor cover design is one of the areas where self-published authors are most often panned by critics. Self-published authors know this risk, and they know one of the keys to a good cover is a good designer. According to a survey from Taleist, 41% of self-published authors pay for cover design. The survey also shows that authors who get help with editing and design of their books make 34% [more money]—so the investment pays off.
Below is a list of graphic designers who have experience designing book covers. Each has unique strengths and styles, and they range from independent artists to members of larger design groups and publishing organizations. Each shares their advice for authors and a bit about their work in their own words—and they almost unanimously bristled at the “favorite cover” questions. They’re listed alphabetically by first name.
There are many other ways to find a book cover designer. Start with referrals from other writers or by tracking down the designers who created covers you love. The Graphic Artists Guild also has listings of designers to help you find the right fit. You can also find designers familiar with book cover design on LinkedIn, or you can post an ad on Craigslist or Elance. If you’re on a tight budget you can hire students at a local design school.
So how much can you expect to pay? It varies—of course. Some of the factors include who owns the rights to the art, how many sketches and revisions the designer will do, the complexity of the project, whether it’s a paperback or hardcover or ebook, and more. The designers below have a wide range of services from an ebook cover for $395 to original art for $3500. On average (a rough average) an author can expect to pay around $800 to $1000 for a cover by one of these designers. Some are higher, some are lower—but a good price doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good fit for your book.
Betsy A. Riley
DO find someone who’s familiar with your genre. There are some genres I don’t do—like romance. My style just doesn’t work for that genre.
DON’T forget that you hired the designer because they have some knowledge or skill that you need—give consideration to their advice.