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This is a guest post from Toni Tesori, from the Self-Publishing Team of Duolit.
I'll never forget my first book cover design presentation. It was for a church directory and, man, I was on my game.
My passionate, detailed explanation of the design decisions made, coupled with reasons for their effectiveness – sprinkled with just the right amount of humor — was persuasive and professional. To this day, I still haven't topped it.
I finished my presentation, ready to be bathed in the warm glow of “Wow! What incredible work!” and “Amazing! We're so glad we hired you.”
What I received instead was Myrna and her 11 friends in the design committee staring back at me with varying looks of displeasure and confusion. Gulp.
They totally didn’t get it and, therefore, hated it. Total book cover design fail.
I've never been so crushed. But, this led me to an important realization:
You’ll work better with some book cover designers than others.
I didn't speak the language that Myrna and her friends responded to. No matter how good my cover design, I couldn’t convince them to buy into it – leading to an awkward rest of the process.
Even after Myrna and her gang, I've worked with clients who I later felt would have been better served by choosing a different designer. Design style, personality, work schedule, communication preferences, experience – all are important factors to consider when making your cover designer choice.
Notice I didn’t say price. That one’s obvious, as everyone’s on a budget. It’s important, however, not to let price be the only determination. After all, if you spend $1500 on a book cover design you're unhappy with, the next designer in line can’t cut you a price break.
5 Tips to Choose the Perfect Book Cover Designer
All it takes, really, is a bit of communication up front to avoid this awkward (and potentially costly) situation. Next time you’re book cover design “hunting,” follow these tips:
- Comb the designer's website or portfolio extensively. Although your book concept is likely to be unique from others in the portfolio, most book cover designers have a “style” you can clearly see linking their work. Whether their style is modern or traditional, think about how and if this style would translate to your book.
- Examine their writing style and background. A good relationship and rapport is important to any successful project. Read the cover designer’s ‘About’ page to get a feel for who they are and where they came from – and determine if you can relate.
- Discuss their work schedule and communication preferences. Once you make it to the communication phase with the book designer, discuss when they’ll work and how you’ll communicate. This will avoid any miscues down the road.
- Be honest about your expectations, both of their work and the process. Whether this is your first time hiring a cover designer or not, this will give both you and the designer a clear idea of what you expect.
- If you've had experiences with book cover design in the past, share them so they know your likes and/or dislikes.
The bottom line here: communication, before you make your designer choice is KEY. If the potential designer isn't willing to discuss the above before you sign on, that may be a signal to move on.
Toni Tesori is one-half of the Self-Publishing Team of Duolit, helping authors sell more books by providing services and resources for all things related to self-publishing, author branding, book design, and marketing.
Top image: Flickr CC Leo Reynolds