Public Relations Blog

Book Covers: Hiring a Designer

Hiring a graphic designer

You have your book written, edited, and you’re now prepping to publish it. Previously, we spent some time discussing how to design an appropriate book cover that will keep your self-published masterpiece from going unnoticed. If you read over our summary on how to design a book cover yourself, you likely have a better idea of whether this is a task you can take the time to handle yourself or not.

If it doesn’t seem like the DIY option is the right fit for you, don’t fret! There is another way. There are thousands of trained professionals out there who would love to help you design an eye-catching and unique book cover – for a price, of course.

Where to Look to Hire a Graphic Designer

The biggest question when it comes to hiring a professional designer is where to start looking. You could start by searching social media using terms such as cover design, book jacket design, or a specific hashtags like #bookdesign. These terms may lead you to some smaller artists whose work you enjoy. You can usually either find a link to an artist’s portfolio through their social media accounts or get a quick snapshot of their work through their posts, which makes for an easy vetting process. Social media allows for direct, quick, and open-ended contact as well when you approach someone about their commission prices.

Other options that might help you quickly sort through many artists and designers who can provide the exact services you’re looking for are platforms like Fiverr, which exist solely for artists to advertise their skill sets and prices in one place. Freelance marketplaces like this cut through a lot of clutter that exists on social media. You can filter your results by whether you need only a book cover or whether you need help with the typesetting process as well.

Beware of Prices that Look Too Good to Be True

With these kinds of services it’s important to note there are people who advertise cheap prices and make use of premade templates, free stock photos, or, at worst, steal and recycle designs completely.  It is my firm belief that when it comes to commissioning a book cover you ultimately get what you pay for. Expect to pay upwards of $300+ depending on whether you want spine and back jacket designs included in your design. Adding in the cost of typesetting will also make the process more expensive. A unique, custom designed cover will cost you more out of pocket, but it will make your book stand out amongst the millions of self-published titles that are released every year. While browsing through artists’ portfolios, make sure to keep in mind the current trends and aesthetics of your chosen genre. Choose a designer whose aesthetics match these trends. You still want the outside of the book to reflect the tone of what you’ve written on the inside.

Basic Etiquette for Hiring a Designer

I’d also like to speak on some basic etiquette for how to approach an artist and inquire about their rates. Most artists are friendly people who want to work with you to see your vision come to life. Start the conversation with a polite greeting and ask them if they are currently open to taking commissions. This is especially important if you have found them through social media instead of a freelance marketplace. If they respond positively, feel free to explain your project and what you’re looking for in a cover and to ask them how much they would charge for it. If their rates are too steep for your budget, it is not impolite to thank them and say it is out of your range. It is impolite, however, to try and haggle with a designer or to criticize them for charging too much.

If you find an artist you like and who you can afford, make sure you read and understand their terms of service before agreeing to payment. Freelance designers often require payment upfront. There may be a no-refund clause in your contract once they have started to work on your design. Always bring something up with the artist if you find there is an issue with their work and make sure you mention any kind of deadline you may have upfront.

Working with artists to bring your concept to life can be an exciting and fun experience. Designers love to hear input about their work when it is a paid commission, and they want you to be as satisfied as possible with the result. So, if the DIY option is just a bit too daunting and you’re ready to start searching for a designer to hire- happy hunting!

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