Every author has different needs in the look, process, and budget of their cover design, so I’ve created three staged options to suit a wider range of priorities. If you’re not sure which custom book cover design package best suits your project, please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions. Here are a few examples of designs from my premade book covers collection broken down into the packages they’d likely belong, if they were custom designs.
Most authors will likely find cost-effective Basic the preferable custom book cover design package. Here, the primary focus is finding the right imagery for the strongest impact. Whenever possible, I try to search out stock that needs minimal image work or masking of models and has good available space for text. This gives us more time for the initial creative process and revisions over production work. In this package, we keep image complexity low to dedicate the time to critical high-impact elements like stock selection, layout, and titling.
The Secret Facility: Stock is right for the concept with minimal tweaking. Emphasis is on the titling and stylizing the design with layered filters and effects.
Carriers: The concept requires a little more searching to find appropriate stock, but plenty of impact with minor tweaks. Emphasis is on image search and font selection and texture, along with simple effects.
Player(s): Character-based covers require emphasis on finding stock of the right model with the right look, pose, and mood. When “casting” a series, models also need a cohesive look that fit the setting(s), layout, and color scheme of branding. Production needs are kept minor, silhouettes clean, and composition consistent.
Creepy Kid Ghost: The stock needs a bit more image work (in this case, extending the sky and road to stretch the image) but has ample space to speed the layout process. Simple backgrounds or editing unwanted elements fit this range. Detailed editing, retouching, or recreating intricate patterns—especially over larger spaces—could move a design into Upgrade. When in doubt, just drop me an email with the details.
Quirky Chick Lit Heroine: Designs built around combinations of strong elements with clean layouts also fit. Emphasis is striking images and unique font blends rendered simply.
Upgrade is the custom book cover design package that balances more detailed image work with affordable budget. While the freedom for stock and effects is wider than Basic, the focus remains on selection, revision, and simple image manipulation with well-placed high-impact upgrades. Model setting and pose selection is more open, since we have more project time for search, masking, and effects.
Tonight, We Ride in Hell: More masking plus effects, as well as layered textures, bring more drama to the image. In the design, there’s also a custom-built logo for the MC’s MC built from several vector elements, as well as custom themed ornaments.
Way of the Blade: A few upgraded elements are at play in this cover, chief among them being masking of the model, whose pose and raised sword create a lot of outline. The action pose also required more scrutiny of cityscape backdrops and textural elements that meshed well with the striking shape without obstructing the title.
Legendary Sword: Most of the elements of this cover would fit well into the Basic package: masking of the sword, layered blend and texturing the background, custom designed ornaments and decorations, and extensive customization of the titles and lettering. However, blending all the elements into one cover brings it into Upgrade.
Felix & Oscar: Finding a great organic romantic image that’s not been done to death, especially for #OwnVoices titles, can take a lot of intensive searching. When that image has a not-so-inspiring backdrop, lots of edges to clean up can push the cover into Upgrade territory.
Mighty Good Man: Sometimes, even when the cover looks pretty simple on the whole, the models’ position, dress, or hair style can present a challenge to masking the background. In this case, the couple’s silhouettes were largely streamlined, but the hero’s dreads required fine detail work to retain their shape and character. Intricate clothing, flyaway or spiky hair, and the like can increase an otherwise Basic cover to Upgrade.
Grand is the custom book cover design package where I read your book and then we go bonkers with creating a complex image from however many sources we need to get the exact look we want. Masking, effects, and manipulation are largely included, as well as light retouching and all the tweaking your painstaking heart needs to declare a finished cover. While extensive manipulation, large-scale pixel-surgery, and detailed retouching are limited, if they’re needed, any added-work estimates are bid at a half-price rate. For obvious reasons, I don’t have a lot of premade covers that make suitable examples, but hopefully this pair will give a decent foundation.
Forest Queen: The original stock photo for this cover had a stark white background with the model’s black hair blowing. To blend into the tree-branch backdrop, areas needed to be masked and then locks of hair thickened and rebuilt. This, alone, would probably still fit into the Upgrade category. Unfortunately, the photo was also a hot mess of intrusive curls and flyaways over clear skin areas and the model’s eye, requiring a decent bit of retouching to get the final clean image.
“Girls” Rock: The amount of masking required, along with the other custom background and design elements, would tip this cover into Grand territory. What really brought it over is the extensive image search to find a complete all-female band that looked organic enough to seem right together (and not like goofy or sexualized stock art types), especially with the bass and guitar that immediately communicate a rock band at a glance.
Between the Lines?
While most projects will easily fit into one package, some might need just a hint of an extra touch to make it perfect. If you think your concept might step a toe over the border, more detailed image work or extensive image searching can be bid on a per-hour or per-project basis to allow the most cost-effective final cover possible.