There is a well known phrase: “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”
The truth however, is that many people DO judge a book by it cover, so as an author, you need your cover to be an excellent representation of what’s inside. Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:
- A well made cover usually indicates a well written book (because the author obviously cared enough about it have it done properly). A sloppy, disorganized, badly laid out cover is often an indication that the story will be just as bad.
- A bright, fun, colorful cover for a children’s book can accurately reflect the vibrant illustrated interior of the book. On the other hand, a bright, fun, colorful cover for a novel about a serial killer would not be a good representation of what’s inside. (In fact, a potential reader of serial killer novels may very well skip right past a cover like that, assuming that it’s not something they’re looking for!)
- Your cover is usually the first encounter a reader has with your book, and just like the entree of a fine meal, you want your cover to whet the reader’s appetite and encourage them to have another nibble.
If you’ve had plenty of design experience, access to Photoshop, and plenty of time on your hands, then you can have a go at making your own cover.
If you’re like the majority of authors however, you’d rather have a professional do it properly so that you can get back to writing your next story.
If that’s the path you choose to go down, there are two main types of cover designer you should be familiar with:
- “Pre-made” cover designers. These designers make a huge number of covers of different styles, and with different images, all using fictitious or default titles (They might all have “Book Title” by “Author Name” on the cover for example). An author will scroll through the designer’s portfolio which will be listed on their website, and when they find a cover they like, the designer will change the default title/name to whatever title/name the author requires, and then remove that cover from their website. This means nobody else will have that identical cover. Other authors may have access to the stock photos used on the cover however, as these are usually from a large stock photo site. The price for a pre-made cover is usually somewhere between $50 and $150.
- Custom cover designers. Custom cover designers will take your concept for the book, and work with you to get a cover exactly how you see it in your mind. Generally you’ll give the designer rough guidelines to work with, i.e. “I want a blonde woman wearing a dress leaning in to kiss a tall, muscular man with tattoos.” The designer will then go on a hunt and find models and photographs that match your description, and make one (or several) “trial” cover designs for your consideration. If the cover needs a bit of fine-tuning (“I’d like the text to be purple instead of red, and I’d like the photo to be a bit more off-center”) then the designer will sort that out for you. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can have custom artwork drawn up, a photo shoot organised with professional models, or even multiple similar covers designed for special, limited edition releases of your book. Custom cover design is obviously more expensive however, and prices can run from $100 for something basic, up to several thousand.
Go On Write is one of the most prolific pre-made cover designers in the industry, Go On Write has hundreds of pre-made covers available at any point in time, in a total of 28 different genres, including some of the more difficult categories to find, such as Sci-Fi, Fantasy or Horror.
All their pre-made covers have a unique reference number assigned to them, so all you have to do is pick the cover you like, make your payment, then email the the cover number you want, along with the new title, author name, and tagline you need, and they’ll take care of the rest!
After you receive your cover, they remove the previous cover from their website, as it is no longer available.
Their prices start from $45, up to around $200 for a custom commission, using images that you’ve obtained yourself.
At the moment they’re offering and exclusive discount for Paid Author readers:
$10 off pre-made cover packs with code PAIDAUTHOR10
$15 off CreateSpace Wraparound print design with code PAIDAUTHORCS
(Codes only available once per customer)
Rocking Book Covers is one of the largest designers for both custom covers and premade covers as well.
The “go to” designer for Horror/Dystopia/Paranormal covers, or anything with a dark theme such as Thriller/Action/Mystery/Suspense, this designer has also moved into covers for romance and erotica titles.
Prices for premade covers start at just $60 for an ebook cover, and a paperback version can also be produced for just $50 more.
Prices for custom covers start at $399 and go up to $599 for the complete package which includes paperback, ebook, and audiobook cover designs, as well as additional marketing materials.
Anscot Publishing is a full service publishing house for authors who would rather hire someone for the various aspects of book creation, and then retain 100% of the publishing rights (as well as 100% of the royalties) themselves.
All their covers are made based on the author’s criteria and design brief.
Their prices are $199 for a HD Kindle/Nook/Smashwords cover, which includes up to three revisions free of charge.
For a Createspace paperback cover, their prices are $499 for a paperback, which again includes up the three revisions.
Mention the code PAIDAUTHOR when making an order to get a 5% discount.
Reedsy is a 1 Stop Shop for book cover designers, editors, and formatters. If you’re looking to establish a professional relationship with a cover designer that you can work with longer term, then Reedsy is the place to go.
All their designers have their bios listed, and well as their previous projects and experiences. Reedsy only accepts about 1% of designers, so you know that the person you select to work with is going to be the best of the best.
If you want a romance cover designed, you can select a cover designer who’s had experience with romance covers.
If you’re looking for someone to design an illustrated cover, then you can select a designer who’s worked with illustrated books before.
Because of the broad range of experience their designers have, their prices vary depending on the designer you choose to work with, so rather than us listing a price here, you’re better off checking out their site for yourself.
Friends of Paid Author get $20 of bonus credit when they use the link below.
Self Publishing Mastery is a combined cover design and book formatting group, that is getting some great responses to their work already.
Their prices start from $120 for a high quality design, a perfectly optimized ,Jpg file, and no additional stock image fee.
For a full package inducing both paperback and ebook cover design AND interior file formatting for both ebook and paperback, their price is $450.
You can get a 12% discount on your cover by using the Self Publishing Mastery discount code PAIDAUTHOR.
In the words of the webmaster: “I founded The Book Cover Designer (TBCD) because I wanted self-published authors to be able to access professional designs without breaking the bank. Custom design can be expensive, and do-it-yourself is not recommended if you want to give your book the best chance of success.”
The Book Cover Designer has one of the largest selections of quality, affordable pre-made book covers that you’re likely to find. They’ve got more than a hundred cover designers displaying their creations.
Prices start from very cheap, perhaps $20 at the lower end of the scale, up to perhaps $1,000 at the higher end.
If you use the Author Coupon Code PAIDAUTHOR when you book, you’ll get a 10% discount on your order.