In the last post, I briefly touched on bookcover design based on what grabs a reader’s attention. How what we as readers find aesthetically pleasing piques our interest about the book itself. Basically, the bookcover design serves as the gateway to the possible acquisition of the product, the book.
However, what happens when this time around you’re not the reader? After plugging away at your manuscript(s), whether it is fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction or historical fiction , poetry, ect. , your work has been accepted for publication. You are about to become a debut author and with all the marketing, promotion, editing/revision process, all of these are no less important that how you’re going to present your work to the public. What face should you give it?
If you’re lucky and had been picked up by a large publisher or one of the big six (Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Group, HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster), then you’ll have a wide network of artists/photographers/graphic designers at your disposal to help with the design process. Yet, what if it’s the opposite and the publisher is a small press or you’re self-publishing, where it’s up to you, the author, to provide the cover? Of course, this gives you greater say on what you want for your cover, but where would you even begin?
If you’re looking for a professional designer, a simple Google search or asking an author/writer friend for a referral will be your first step. Or ask your artist/photographer friends if they have any original artwork that you can use as a cover.
Once you’ve found a designer you like, look through their portfolio, their prices and process, who they’d worked with and confirm that they are reputable. You can also search for free stock photo images as possible covers but make sure to read carefully about any copyrights. Or go toetsy.com or shutterstock.com, etc. and search through their artwork. If you can find one or several artworks (paintings or photographies) that you like, don’t be afraid to contact the artist about the possibility of using it as a cover, ask questions about the fee, whether or not they want a percentage of royalties, copyright rules, etc. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
If the negotiation fees are too out of your range, you can either accept that it wasn’t meant to be and begin the search anew or start a Book Cover Kickstarter campaign. If $60,000 can be raised for some potato salad, then funding a project to afford the cover of your dreams is easy peasy.
Whether or not you’re working with a professional, doing it yourself, or self-publishing make sure to have your bases covered. Read Self-Publishing #Fails, an article posted by Joel Friedlander which talks about some of the traps authors have fallen into. PS . They also feature book design templates on the site.
Do you have any bookcover design stories to share? Were they horror stories or the
greatest thing since sliced bread? In the end did you love your cover or hate it? Why? What would you have done different?