We’ve all seen them. The quintessential self-published book cover that makes you cringe just looking at it. You hold it at arm’s length with two fingers to try to get as little of the hideousness on you as possible. Your great aunt says it’s a must read and you tuck it away to gather dust for a few months before giving it back, unread, and say “It was pretty good.” The bad news is that there are still plenty of these yucky covers circulating around, which is sad, because probably most of them are pretty good, but aren’t getting a fair shot since no one wants to open them. So, here is our advice on how to get a bestseller quality book cover:
#1 Don’t pinch pennies.
We all want to save money, and skimping on the cover design seems an obvious way to do that. But, you may be shooting yourself in the proverbial foot. Big publishing houses know what they’re doing. They know how to sell books. The way they sell books is to design killer covers that make you stop in your tracks at the book stand and pick them up. Your book cover is your marketing piece and you need to make sure that your book cover designer can do more than just slap a title over a piece of clip art, and actually knows how to craft a cover that will sell. Period. Bottom line. Depending on whether you are publishing an ebook or a paperback (which will cost more because it has a spine and back cover), you should plan on spending around $300-$600 at a minimum.
#2 Get educated.
Go to the bookstore and get to know the covers in the genre you are writing for. Pick out your favs. Search online for more examples of good book cover design. While you don’t want your book cover to copy another design, you want it to be able to hold up with and compete with the bestsellers. It needs to stand out from the rest and catch your reader’s eye.
#3 Trust your designer.
We recommend choosing a designer who specializes in book cover design, and has a solid portfolio to demonstrate it. The reason for this, is that even though there are a lot of talented designers that could create great covers, you could end up going through more hassle and paying more money for revisions if the designer isn’t familiar with print-on-demand and ebook publishing guidelines. We also recommend choosing someone that is professional and nice to work with. If you choose someone with the right qualifications, then you can put your trust in the fact that your designer will help you through the process of getting the perfect cover.
Make sure you let your book cover designer know if you have any ideas for your cover, and send him/her the samples of the covers you like, but you also need to give the designer some space to create-to go out on limb and push some boundaries. Your designer knows the elements of design and what will distinguish your cover in the marketplace. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by the amazing results.