Choosing a book cover designer for your story may not be an easy task. You’ve spent months (sometimes years!) writing your book, and now it’s the time to add a face to it. You need to find a perfect fit. How do you do this? What to look for in a book cover designer?

Hi! I’m Karolina Wudniak, a book cover designer supporting self-publishing authors in their publishing journey by shaping their manuscripts into stylish books. I’ll share tips on what to look for in the book cover designer for your book.

Research phase

As with any project, you should start your book cover designer hunt by doing your research. Focus on searching for book cover designers, not just any designers. Publishing is a huge industry and having someone with a deeper understanding of it will only be beneficial to you.

Gather inspiration for your book cover so that you’ll have some idea of the style you’d like it to be. You’ll need this information to sort through portfolios of potential designers. Ask your fellow writers, your editor, and your book coach for recommendations, search online, and make a list of all possible candidates.

Looking for connection

Finding the right book cover designer is all about connection. You’ll be working closely with this person for a few weeks (or months), and it’s crucial that you feel comfortable around them and confident they’ll deliver quality work. Looking at a book cover designer’s online presence should tell you a lot about their personality, values, creative process, communication style, and deliverables, which are all important parts of the author-designer relationship.

  • Which one speaks to you?
  • Which style do you like the most?
  • How do their covers and messaging make you feel?

Answering these questions will help you filter through those designers who don’t have what you’re looking for.

If you can, book a call and have a chat to feel the vibe. It’s like a first date. Do you hit it off and there’ll be another date? Or are you thinking of running away in the middle of a conversation? You should feel confident that you’re a good fit after an initial discussion. Ask a lot of questions to determine this.

If you don’t feel comfortable with that person, you probably won’t feel comfortable working with them, bringing your ideas to the table, and providing feedback. Remember that you’ll see your cover (and interior) on countless occasions throughout the following years, so it’s crucial that you love the design and for this, you need to be confident about working with your designer.

Style, experience, and genre

Feeling the connection should go hand in hand with the style you’re looking for in your book cover. Focus on the designer’s style and specific elements. For example, if you want a photo-based cover, then a designer who creates illustrated covers won’t be a good fit for you.

Browse through their past projects, presence in the publishing industry, and client testimonials to figure out how experienced they are in designing book covers, especially for your genre. Some designers specialise in just one or two genres, and others will design across different genres, but it’s good to know if your book is within their capabilities.

What’s included in the price?

Price is an important factor that may be forgotten when everything else seems great. Be sure to ask what’s included in the quoted price (if it wasn’t stated earlier):

  • Which cover formats will you get?
  • How many initial ideas will you see?
  • How many rounds of revisions do they provide?
  • Are any marketing materials included?
  • Is barcode generation included?
  • Who provides the artwork for the cover?
  • What about artwork and font licenses?

Remember, you don’t want to end up with a book that illegally uses some elements and you’re not even aware of it. I hope this helps you determine how to find the perfect book cover designer for your cover.

Since I mentioned fonts above, I’d love to give a few extra tips on fonts for book formatting.

Fonts for your story and titles

The font in a book shouldn’t draw attention to itself; it’s just a form to convey your message. It should be clear and readable. Because of that, serif fonts are the best for the body text. On the other hand, sans-serif are great for titles, page numbers, or headings. This is where you can get creative—as long as it fits your book and is still readable!

Font size

Fonts look bigger on screen than in print. The rule of thumb is to go one point smaller than what looks good on the screen. If 12pt seems fine on your desktop, 11pt will look better in print.

Remember to always print out test pages in the book size (cut it to the size if needed) to see what the page and font will look like.

Font license

I mentioned this about fonts for your book cover, but it’s a very important (and often overlooked) topic, so here it goes again: make sure all the fonts you’re planning to use in your book are licensed for commercial use.

If the free version you’ve downloaded has a “personal use only” license, you’ll need to find a different one or pay for the commercial version. Remember to talk to your designer about licenses!

Are you ready to dive into the design part of birthing your book? Take these tips with you and find the right designer for your book. You can start by checking out my website and IG profile!

Hannah here! Thanks so much to Karolina for these great tips about finding and working with the right cover designer for you. This is an important part of the indie publishing process.

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