Showing posts with label cover design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cover design. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11

Where To Find Cover Artists

Where To Find Cover Artists

It's difficult to overestimate the importance of a great cover.

Striking professional looking covers help sell books.

The cover is the first impression a reader will have of your work, and humans place a lot of importance on first impressions.

We want readers to fall in love with our book on first sight.

Think of it this way, you dress up to go about your day-to-day activities. You put on nicer clothes, you fix your hair, and so on.

Why? Because we know that how we look matters to other people. Even if you couldn't care less how others look you know that folks treat you differently depending on the clothes you wear, the way you arrange your hair, the perfume/cologne you choose.

Now think: What if you weren't just going to a business meeting, or a PTA get-together, or a  baseball mixer. What if you were going to the Academy Awards or some other gala affair?

My female friends would spend most of the morning and all of the afternoon getting their hair, nails and face done. And I cringe to think how much they'd spend on clothes.

What about your book?

It's going out into the world to be judged. It's like a child in the sense that it's an extension of you, something you created. And, unlike children who have their own ideas about what sort of clothes to wear, what color of hair to have, and so on, you control every single facet of your book's launch, including the cover. (That is, if you self publish. If you traditionally publish you probably won't have any say over the cover.)

Granted, most of us can't design the cover, we don't have those skills, but a talented artist can work with you to give you a look you want.

Which brings me, circuitously, to the topic of today's post: How to find the right cover artist for your book.

How To Find A Cover Artist For Your Book

A couple of days ago Passive Guy posted the following:
Passive Guy received a simple question from Amey:
Where does an indie author find cover illustrators online?
She knows about DeviantArt, but finds it too complicated and believes there aren’t a lot of real artists there.
So, what’s the answer to Amey’s question? 
A lot of wonderful folks wrote in with wonderful answers, but I found myself getting overwhelmed by the information as I scrolled through the replies. That's when I got the idea for this post.

In the following I've taken the information given and provided links when I could track them down. I've also provided links to the original replies so you can read those for yourself.

By including a name in the following I'm not recommending that person. Similarly, if I haven't included a name in the following I don't mean to imply they wouldn't be a great choice.

List Of Book Cover Artists

In some cases, the link is in the name.

Extended Imagery

This is the designer Joe Konrath uses for his books. Carl sells predesigned book covers for about $200.

DD Graphix

Robin Nuttall, freelance graphic designer with 20+ years experience. US based, responsive, quick turn-around. I listen to my clients and help them achieve success. Very reasonable prices as I begin to build my digital publishing portfolio.

Digital and print book cover design, interior design/formatting.

Cover Bistro

Custom covers starting as low as $35, Premades starting at $15, and Book Jacket/Ebook cover combos starting at $50.  3d Boxed sets starting at $25 if created from an existing book cover, and $45 if a new cover is required.

Indie-Spired Design

Your cover is your I.D. Be inspired.

Specializing in YA and Fantasy premade book covers, I offer premade covers as well as custom designs, ereader renders and custom advertisements.

Littera Designs

Name: Rachel Cole

Beautiful, eye-catching, professional-looking book cover design.

Pre-made covers start at $30
Custom ebook covers start at $65
Custom print covers start at $100

Carolyn McCray writes: lets you receive up to 99 spec designs. The designers only get paid if you pick them. A great resource to get a lot of different professional (okay, some are a little grade school but usually you get several pros per project) covers to choose from. It is where I got my cover artist.

Kit Foster

I read Joel Friedlander’s e-Book Cover Design Awards every month, and through that, I found Kit Foster. If you see a designer whose work you like, you’ll have to google the name to find their website. (Russell Phillips)

Steward Williams, Rebecca Swift, Peter Ratcliffe

These artists were recommended by Rob Siders.

Here are the artists my shop recommends most frequently (aside for Jeroen ten Berge, who is closed to new clients until after June):

Stewart Williams at
Rebecca Swift at
Peter Ratcliffe at

Streetlight Graphics

Nicholas Taylor writes:
DA [Deviant Art] has a lot of very talented artists, but if you are looking for a service that does a great job and specializes in publishing, I would recommend Streetlight Graphics. They did the art on my last book and are wonderful. They also do amazing work on eBook and print interior layouts. To get your cover, print layout, ebook layout and another graphic (like a business card or bookmark) it will run you $460. Their site is and you can’t go wrong with them.


India Drummond writes:
Dreamup is run by deviant art, I do believe, but it’s a curated list: For custom artwork and illustrations, this is where I would start.
India also recommended An Authors Art.

Firefly Covers

Christine Leov Lealand writes:
I found my cover artist when I met a traveling young German man whose hobby was graphic design. He went home after making a few covers for us – learning the basics from us and what we and Createspace/KDP needed and set up

 Nils is great at communication and good at cover design and has a network of other artists who will put together a cover for you of altered photographs or drawn art or a combo of both.

Jared Rackler Designs

Kat Sheridan writes:
I’ll toss in Jared Rackler. He’s done workj for friends. Fast, inexpensive (generally under $100), good looking:

Tibbs Design

Sue Quint writes:
I found my graphic designer/cover artist through my epublisher, and love her covers. She works with stock art photo, so is much more reasonably priced than many other cover designers. She also works freelance, so she’s available for other projects at

Jeroen ten Berge

R.E. McDermott writes:
There are a lot of very talented cover artists out there, but when I first started to self publish, I looked around and chose Jeroen ten Berge. He’s definitely not the cheapest, but I don’t think he really wants to be. What he is, is reasonably priced, very approachable, and a consummate professional. Choosing Jeroen was one of my better business decisions and I recommend him without reservation. His website is:

Robin Ludwig

Vicki writes:
May I recommend my awesome artist – Robin Ludwig. She has a real gift.
This list only scratches the service of the skilled artists available to help with your covers, I didn't include all the information given--that would have taken way too long!--so do look at the responses for yourself. That link again is: Where do you find cover artists?

Tip For Finding A Cover Artist

Maria Zannini writes:
I’m a professional cover artist and most of my work has come from referrals.

The very best way to find a cover artist is to collect the cover art you find most appealing, then email the author or the publisher and asked who designed that cover.

Take into consideration not only price, but turnaround, and a detailed account of what you’re getting for the fee.

If your questions aren’t answered to your satisfaction in writing, go somewhere else.
If you'd like to recommend a cover artist please post their information below. (If you include a URL use the aristname (dot) website (dot) com formatting otherwise blogger might see it as spam.)

Other resources:

- Kindle Boards yellowpages for authors
- Goodreads: Book cover artists and illustrators

Other articles you might like:

- 10 Tips For Proofreading Your Manuscript
- Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction Challenge: Smashing Sub-Genres
- How To Write A Terrific Review

Photo credit: "Spring Nights" by martinak15 under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Monday, April 29

Book Design: What NOT To Do

Book Design: What NOT To Do

Jane Friedman recently asked book design guru Joel Friedlander to talk about the dos and don'ts of book design: How Much Attention Should You Pay to Book Design? A Q&A With Joel Friedlander.

The most common mistakes in interior book design:

1. Not using full justification for their text, so that both the right and left margin square up and create a rectangle on the page

2. Not hyphenating the text, resulting in gaps and spaces on the page

3. Putting the odd-numbered pages on the left, when they should always be on the right

4. Leaving running heads on display pages like part or chapter openers

5. Margins that are either too small to allow the reader to easily hold the book, or that don’t take the printing and binding of the book into account

6. Publishing a book with no copyright page

How much should an author expect to pay an interior book designer? 


Joel writes:
For novels and other lightly formatted books, you can expect to pay between $200 and $1,500 for interior design. At the low end you’re likely to get a “template” design. At the higher end, expect to receive several custom designs prepared expressly for your book. You’ll also want the designer to take responsibility for producing the reproduction files for your printer, and make sure there’s an allowance for “author’s alterations,” because I’ve never seen a book yet that went all the way from manuscript to press without at least some changes being made.
Joel mentions that for cover designs the range is between $200 and $3,500.

Professional design can make all the difference, when folks are browsing the cover is all they see. I know I've started reading many books because of their stunning covers.

You can read more of Joel Friedlander's design tips on his site The Book Designer.

Question: Do you have a cover design, or interior design, tip to share?

Other articles you might like:

- Cliffhangers
- New Minimum Length For Ebooks On Amazon: 2500 Words
- Word Processing Apps For Writing On The Go

Photo credit: "paesaggio3" by francesco sgroi under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Monday, October 15

How To Design A Great Looking Book Cover

How To Design A Great Looking Book Cover

Just the other day I wished someone would hand me a simple set of rules for designing great looking book covers.

I am in awe of some of the gorgeous covers on Amanda Hocking's books. There is no way in a million years I'd be able to do something like that. That said, I do believe there's no reason the average person (and I am exceedingly average when it comes to graphic design) can't do a decent book cover. We just need guidance.

Enter J.M. Ney-Grimm and her Cover Design Primer. If you're doing your own book covers--or even just thinking of it--this post is a must read. I'm making it sound like a book, but it's not. It's a medium-length post that gives more practical information on how to design a book cover than I've come across anywhere else, books included!

Here's an example of what I mean.

Let's talk fonts. J.M. tells us there are 6 main categories: Old Style, Modern, Slab Serif, Sans Serif, Script and Decorative. Each category contains certain representative fonts.

Old Style: Goudy, Baskerville, Garamond, and Palatino.
Modern: Braggadocio and Engravers MT.
Slab Serif: Blackoak, Cooper Black, Rockwell Extra Bold, and Wide Latin.
Sans Serif: Helvetica, Charcoal, Skia, and Impact.
Script: Apple Chancery, Brush Script, Gabriola, and Lucida Handwriting.
Decorative: Zapfino, Desdemona, Herculanum, and Lucida Blackletter.

Here's the tip:

Three rules for choosing fonts for a book cover: (I didn't include J.M.'s images, you can see them here.)
1) Never use more than one font from each category
That is, Braggadocio (modern) and Helvetica (sans serif) might work well together, but Skia and Charcoal (both sans serif) will not.


Because the human eye likes patterns to be either exactly alike or clearly different. Similar, but not the same, makes the human eye struggle.

2) Do use two different fonts
One font – say all Palatino – is overly calm, sedate, even boring.

Two fonts is interesting, but doesn’t overwhelm the eye.

Three fonts (each from a different category, of course) starts to be cluttered and busy.

3) Use contrast to draw the eye
Contrasting sizes, contrasting colors, contrasting fonts. You do want to catch the attention of potential readers, right? Compare the examples below [see J.M.'s article].

Can you break these rules? Certainly. The instant I learned them I thought of exceptions that work beautifully. But the vast majority of covers that appeal to readers follow them.

Is there more to typography? Of course. But these foundation concepts are enough to produce surprisingly good design results when choosing fonts.
J.M's discussion of fonts is just the beginning. She goes on to talk about the overall composition of a cover. As I say, great article. Again, here's the link: Cover Design Primer.

Thanks to Passive Guy for mentioning J.M.'s article.

Other articles you might like:
- How To Become A Full Time Indie Author
- How Do Writers Get Their Ideas? Neil Gaiman, Seth Godin & Stephen King
- How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website

Photo credit: Unknown

Monday, August 6

Indie Authors: Bad Sales? Redo Your Cover!

If you're approaching cover design for the first time, or your book sales are slumping, here are five ways your cover can help sell your book:

1) BIG Author Name
Make sure people can see your name, even on the thumbnail of your cover.

2) Genre Appropriate Cover
Make sure your cover clearly indicates the genre of the story you've written (e.g., sci-fi, western, romance, and so on). DWS writes:
... [C]overs need to scream genre. For example, I had a book I did called “On Top of the Dead” which was a pure science fiction story with aliens and everything. So what did I do to make sure it didn’t sell?  I put the lower half of a dead body in a street on the cover, making it look like a literary mystery. And, of course, it didn’t sell much. I just redid the cover putting alien spaceships hovering over New York City on the cover instead. Duh…
3) Write A Fantastic Blurb
a. Tell your reader what your story is about
Your readers want to know what your book is about, not about the events in the book itself.

I'm re-watching Lord of the Rings. Everyone knows the tag line for this series: Frodo must overcome countless obstacles to destroy the One Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

Actually, I just looked it up and here's the official tag line:
An innocent hobbit of The Shire journeys with eight companions to the fires of Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring and the dark lord Sauron forever. 

Here's my take on this. What you talk about in your blurb, your tag line, is the goal, what the book(s) is all about. The blurb isn't the place to talk about Frodo's stay at the Prancing Pony, or meeting Bilbo in Rivendell or Gandalf's amazing scene with the Balrog ("Thou shalt not pass!"). No. It is the place to tell your readers what your story is all about. What are the stakes?

That's one point. Another is:

b. Avoid passive verbs
Avoid them in your blurb and in your writing in general. DWS writes:
[W]hen I write a blurb, I ask myself what would make a reader buy this book? But if you use nothing but passive voice, the reader will automatically think your book is dull and never open it to the sample.
4) Use Common Themes
Have all your book covers for a series look similar and have all your book covers in a certain genre look similar. How do you do this?

- Use the same Name/Pen Name. One of my writer friends has one name for the first book in her series and another, a pen name, for the last two. My friend isn't indie published, a traditional publisher insisted she change names in the middle of the series and then didn't re-issue her first book! That is an extreme example, but try and use the same name for all your novels in the same genre so readers can find your books.

- Use the same font. Make the title font the same for all books in a series.

For instance, here are a few covers from Kim Harrison's Hollows series:

The font does differ slightly from book to book, but there is always a young woman on the front cover and you can never quite see her face. The look and feel of the cover is largely the same from book to book and her name is always pominent.

Here are two of the covers from Kim Harrison's paranormal series for teens:

These books are a better example of what DWS is saying. Look at the title fonts, they're identical AND perfect for the genre. Same model, different poses, subtle difference in the background color, but they are both pastels. Most important, the author's name is clearly visible.

5) Professional Look And Feel
Here are DWS's pointers:

a. Fonts: Make sure you can see them easily, which means they should contrast with the background.
b. BIG author name easily readable even in the thumbnail.
c. Small text near the authors name "such as 'Author of (another book title).'"
d. Put your tag line on the front of your book.
Here's an example:

I don't know if that picture is high resolution enough for you to see, but DWS's tag line is, "A Step-by-Step guide to Publishing Your Own Books". Perfect. Now you know what the books is about and why you should buy it. By the way, Dean's book is available on and well worth the read.

e. The cover art must be genre appropriate, must look good as a thumbnail, and go well with the font you've chosen.

All the information in this post comes from Dean Wesley Smith's article, The New World: Publishing: Killing Your Sales One Shot at a Time, and is well worth the read.

I'd like to add one more thing. When you're starting to put your cover together, when you're still in the 'getting ideas' stage, look at the covers of other books in your genre, especially those that are like your book. Make a list of 5 or 6. You don't want your cover to be too different from these because you want to tell your readers that if they buy your book that they will get a similar story.

Similar but unique! :p But that's a topic for another post.

I hope you read DWS's article, it's great. He's been doing this for decades and knows what he's talking about.

Cheers and good writing!

Other articles:
- Writers & Blogging: Should You Host Your Own Blog?
- Twylah: Turn Your Tweets Into A Blog
- How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website

Photo credit: Excellent Book Covers and Paperbacks