Choosing an ebook cover designer can seem like a daunting task. There are a number of things to consider; price, the designer’s portfolio, their responsiveness, turnaround time, etc. There’s also the issue of finding the best artwork to convey the tone of your story; is it a comedy? Horror? Science Fiction? If so, you will want a cover that lets readers know what kind of book they’re getting into.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Just because a cover artist doesn’t have your particular genre in their portfolio doesn’t mean they can’t produce that type of artwork. Sometimes a cover artist may have a majority of paranormal, romance, etc. artwork in their portfolio simply because that’s all they get asked to do. If you like their work, tell them about your project anyway and see if they would be willing to work outside of their normal genre. I bet many would be happy to tackle something different.
2. Never pay a cover artist the full amount up front. Always pay half, and then pay the rest contingent upon acceptance of the final design. And if you can, pay with a credit card. That way, if an artist stiffs you, you can call your credit card company and process a chargeback. And never pay it as a gift through PayPal! There is no way to get this money back.
3. Check their reviews! Google the name of the cover artist before you work with them. Check some writer’s forums and see if there are any negative reviews.
4. Communicate clearly how you want the book cover to be. Do you want illustrations or photo manipulation? Do you want your characters to look a certain way? If so, send the artist some stock images or real life photos to use as a guide. And if you’re not exactly sure what you want on the cover that’s okay too. Just communicate that to the cover artist and they may tell you (based off your blurb) a few ideas that come to mind. Or have a brainstorming session with friends and family. You never know what may come out of those! (In fact, that’s how I got the idea for my cover:)
5. Be patient! Many cover artists are swamped. If they haven’t answered your email in a couple of days don’t panic. Just send a friendly follow up email.
6. Give yourself enough time. If you commission a cover artist on July 1st and your book is supposed be released on July 31, there could be some delays. Maybe you didn’t communicate your vision clearly and the artist needs to make revisions. Or, maybe you changed your mind and want to go in a whole different direction. These changes take time. I suggest giving yourself a month to find a cover artist, two – three weeks to approve first, second, and third samples, and then another week for the final design.
After searching long and hard I eventually went with Victoria Faye. I loved her portfolio. My novel is romantic comedy and even though she didn’t have that type of artwork in her portfolio, I commissioned her anyway. She is super nice, communicates clearly, and knows which questions to ask. I love the cover she’s doing for me and will post it once it’s done!
Here’s a list of other, affordable ebook cover designers that I discovered along the way. I hope this information will save you time (and money!).