Collaboration is the Fast Way to Book Cover Design Success
Every author wants an eye-catching cover for their book that draws potential readers to their book. Your book cover is the first step in the buying journey for many readers. Unless you as an author are also a graphic designer, Investing in a skilled graphic designer is worth every dollar spent. For authors on a limited budget finding a good cover designer is the first outside investment to take to give your book the best opportunity in a competitive market.
Prepare for Collaboration
Your responsibility as an author is to convey the concept of your novel. If your book is first in a series, you’ll want to share the sense of your series as well so the artist can set up a replicable model that makes your series readily identifiable.
As an independent author, you can minimize cost and speed up the design process by preparing information for your cover designer.
For the first book in the series, provide basic genre, tone, theme, and protagonist. and series information.
Even if your novel isn’t finished, provide a short list of basic story elements. Main character, theme, location, etc.
Give your cover designer some image ideas. Find royalty free images that can convey the main story elements. Your designer may or may not incorporate these images in the cover design, but the images give your designer your idea of representational images.
Stand back and let your cover designer play with concepts.
For this cover, I wanted to focus on the grain merchant’s daughter, a bodyguard, and a broken contract. We got them all in the cover.
Co-Create The Final Image
Depending on your cover designer’s personal working style, the process of arriving at agreement for the final image requires communication. It may be through a series of messages or a brief video conference with screen sharing.
I’ve been working with Ryan J. Rhoades for several years with cover design for the Argolicus mysteries. This session took a little longer than usual because the conversation was typed rather than spoken. Ryan communicates with his clients through video conferencing. As he shares his screen, you can watch the cover take shape, move elements around, change colors, and other changes before your eyes.
Wait Before Final Approval and Delivery
Give the image a rest for at least 24 hours before you give final approval. Go back to revisit the cover and look for any details that may distract or need emphasis. For example, in this cover there was a squiggly line in the background that was distracting. We took it out, did some shading, and arrived at the final image.
Two Skill Sets, One Cover
As an author, you may fall into the trap of thinking your creative skills transfer to cover design. A little knowledge is not only dangerous, it can be detrimental to your book sales. If you are starting out with a limited budget consider a cover designer as an investment in your author career.