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10 Questions To Ask When Hiring A Book Cover Designer

By Leslie Sartor

There are many talented cover designers out there. But how do you know which one is the right designer for you and your book, and how can you use Book Brush to aid in the process?

Let’s start with the basics

Where do you even start looking for a reputable designer?
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to seek out groups of writers in your genre. Once you find a group, ask for recommendations. The majority of indie authors are happy to share. However, once you have a few suggestions, you’re not done. In fact, this is just the beginning.

Here are 10 questions to ask your potential cover designer

1) Are you taking on new clients?

It seems silly, but you’d be surprised how many designers are booked out months, and some, even years. Always ask!

2) How early do I need to book with you?

When you find a designer who is taking clients, your next question should be: how early do I need to book with you? I book my covers three to six months in advance. It varies from designer to designer.

3) Are you familiar with my genre, and can I see some of the covers you’ve designed?

This is important. Your cover will be the first thing a reader sees, and they’re going to make a snap decision based on the design. You want your cover to speak to your readers and draw them in.

Ask The Question-Familiar with my genre

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The next series of questions can go under the umbrella of TERMS.

4) How much does a cover cost?

This price should be disclosed from the beginning. I’ve seen cover design offered for as low as $50 and design that can cost well north of $500.

  • There is a wide range out there.
  • In addition, you need to know exactly what you’re getting. Just an ebook cover? An ebook cover and a pdf wrap for a paperback? Will the designer provide you with a png of the title?
  • It’s also good to make sure that the paperback pricing includes the front, spine, and back. I’ve never found a designer who charges for these items separately, but it’s always good to ask.

5) Will this cover be a custom cover or a premade cover?

Custom covers are covers that you and the designer work-up from scratch.

  • A premade is just like it sounds: a cover that the designer has already prepared.
  • Premades are often less expensive. However, designers will often only make small changes to the design, such as swapping in your title and your author name.

6) Where will you get the cover images?

Would swoony Henry Cavill look great on your cover? Sure (if you’re a romance writer), but you don’t have permission to use his image. This is important. You want to make sure that your designer is using images that they are licensed to use. Images from sites where you pay a fee for use like Shutterstock, Getty Images, and Depositphotos (to name a few) are safe bets.

And while there are places that offer free images, it’s hard to know–without a shadow of a doubt–if that image is truly free. Word of advice–be careful and double-check the source.

This helpful resource from Book Brush gives you more information on choosing cover art: Photo Usage Best Practices

Let’s not forget fonts. While Book Brush has thousands of fonts to choose from, you’re also able to purchase and upload fonts. I do this with every book I release. Ad graphics with fonts that match the cover fonts look sharp.

Ask your designer what fonts they used on the cover design. From there, I google the font name and find out where it can be purchased. It’s as easy as that.

7) How long does it take to get a proof of the cover?

Proofs are the designer’s attempts at bringing your book to life. And you need that cover if you want to sell your book, so it’s crucial for your timeline to understand how long it’s going to take to get your cover.

8) How many times can you ask your designer to tweak the cover?
What is the cost if you want to make more changes during the design process?

Most designers are saints. They will work with you until you’re happy. But some set limits on how many tweaks/changes they will make. It’s always good to ask this question, so you both are on the same page.

9) What if I want to make a change to the cover months or even years later? Do you keep the files?

This is more important than you’d think. For example, I recently hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list in May of 2020. I wanted to add this social proof to all my covers as soon as possible. My earliest covers are from 2017. Thankfully, my designer still had them saved on her server.

How long for a designer to keep medai

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10) What kind of images are allowed to be advertised on Facebook and Amazon?

Be sure to ask your designer if they are familiar with what is and what isn’t allowed when it comes to advertising with Amazon and Facebook. Often, you’ll want to use your cover when running ads. Amazon and Facebook have very stringent rules when it comes to what they consider racy or violent. Make sure you and your designer agree on a design that won’t get flagged or rejected.

And since we’re talking about ads, in addition to the cover, many authors like to run ads with the cover image only. I use Book Brush to create these ads. Check out this example from my summer release, The Kiss Keeper. I purchased the cover image from Shutterstock to use in Facebook and Instagram ads. With Book Brush, you can also easily add the cover as well as resize, add a filter or an overlay. The possibilities are limitless.

Cover Image on Book Brush

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How I use Book Brush Cover Creator

I use Brush Brush Cover Creator to create professional covers and create mock-ups to share with my cover designer.

About a year ago, I created an ebook cover using Cover Creator with an image I purchased from Depositphotos for a short story. I don’t sell this book. I use it as a freebie to acquire newsletter subscribers. To date, I’ve added over 1,700 readers to my list using just this professional-looking free download–at virtually no cost. The Book Brush Cover Creator is a great tool for crafting covers like this quickly.

I also like to use Book Brush Cover Creator to make a mock-up and share this initial cover idea with my cover designer. She’s able to take my initial idea and sharpen the design to create the final cover. I find that doing this helps us get on the same page when it comes to the direction of the design.

Mock up in Book Brush for Designer

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One final tip: be professional

If you’re unhappy with your cover design, always go to your designer first. Keep the lines of communication open. It does no good to air your grievances online. The vast majority of cover designers want you to succeed. They care about crafting a quality cover. Treat them as professionals. They are an integral part of your publishing business.

Click the link to check out everything you can do with Book Brush Cover Creator and learn how to bring your book to life with an eye-catching cover.

Headshot of Krista Sandor

Article by Krista Sandor

If there’s one thing USA Today Bestselling Author Krista Sandor knows for sure, it’s that romance saved her.

After she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2015, her world turned upside down. During those difficult first days, her dear friend sent her a romance novel. That kind gesture provided the escape she needed and ignited her love of the genre.

Inspired by the strong heroines and happily ever afters, Krista decided to write her own romance novels.

Today, she’s an MS warrior and living life to the fullest. When she’s not writing, you can find her running 5Ks with her husband or chasing after her growing boys in Denver, Colorado. Find out more about Krista Sandor here.


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