Tuesday, May 15, 2018

5 Ways to Pay Less for a Professional Book Cover by Martin Cavannagh

5 Ways to Pay Less for a Professional Book Cover
by Martin Cavannagh

5 Ways to Pay Less for a Professional Book Cover  by Martin Cavannagh

Working with a professional book cover designer is one of the best uses of money for a self-publishing author. However, as the person who has to pay for the design work, you should be approaching it with your “publisher’s hat” and looking for ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality.

When you’re on the hunt for an experienced pro to create your dream book cover design, these five tips will help you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Improve the quality of your brief
If designers feel that you are a sensible collaborator with an exciting project, there’s a greater chance they’ll want to work with you at a reasonable price. At the most basic level, you need a well-written brief with no spelling and grammar errors. Just a few minutes spent rewriting and proofreading your brief could reduce your quotes significantly.

2. Don’t ask for bespoke photography or original illustrations

Screen capture via Shutterstock.com/Razorbill

If you’re on a tight budget, let your designer show you what they can do without expensive photo shoots and bespoke illustrations. Most books from top publishers will have designs created by manipulating library images, and this should certainly be your first consideration - unless you write in a genre (epic fantasy) where most of the covers are illustrated.

3. Be flexible with your timescale
As the old maxim goes, you can pick only two out of three: good, cheap, and fast. This is true of all aspects of publishing - from ghostwriting to cover design. Don’t leave your cover design to the last minute; if you ask a designer to create a cover by the end of the week, you will sacrifice quality or end up paying more for the rush job.

4. Take into account your designer’s level of experience
Talent and creativity are hard to quantify. However, someone's experience is pretty easy to see - especially on a platform like Reedsy’s. As designer Lauren Harms puts it: “The designer's quote will hopefully give you a clear picture of the experience you will get working with them.”

image via Reedsy

If you’re setting your sights on a more affordable cover, home in on designers who aren’t ten-year veterans of HarperCollins. So long as they have a proven track record in your genre, you may find someone perfect with just a few years under their belt.

5. Consider how many concept rounds and iterations you need
Discuss with your designer how many concepts they’ll be creating for you, as well as the number of iterations they expect for your project. Some designers may be happy to reduce their quote if you don’t require as many initial concepts and design rounds. Bear in mind that this leaves little room for error. Any additional work you need will have to be paid for at a rate negotiated with your designer.

With a bit of knowledge, clear communication, and good planning, almost every author can be able to afford the cover of their dream – so do your homework, and you’re halfway there. See you on the bestsellers lists!
Martin Cavannagh is a writer and a member of the team at Reedsy. The world’s largest marketplace of experienced publishing professionals, Reedsy has helped thousands of authors create great books work with the help of top editors, marketers and, of course, book designers.

About Reedsy
Reedsy is an award-winning community of over 100,000 book publishing professionals: authors, freelancers, and publishing houses. Their objective is to help publishers create high-quality books by connecting them with the world's best editors, designers, marketers, or ghostwriters.
Reedsy is based in London and joined Seedcamp, Europe's #1 startup accelerator, in June 2014. The company won the Bookseller award of the best publishing startup of 2015 and the Quantum Innovation Award in 2016 during the London Book Fair.