My schedule can vary, so please check with me if you have an urgent deadline to meet. I always keep some flexible time open for rush projects.
What is your time-frame to complete a book cover design?
The lead time for a cover will vary with my schedule, as well as the complexity of the design. I always answer inquiries as quickly as possible to give an estimated start date, so if you’ve got a deadline, please let me know. In general, these are the estimates:
Premade: 1-2 business days to provide time frame, estimate any cost for extra adds or revisions, and forward a Paypal invoice. Then, the work should be completed in 1-3 business days from payment.
Custom: 1-2 business days to provide initial concepts with cost estimate and time frame. From deposit and consultation, 1-5 business days for first drafts. Revisions will vary widely, but should take 3-5 business days for a final proof. A print version may add a day, depending upon the design and content.
Do you take rush projects?
Always. Though, please note, a rush fee may apply for last-minute scheduling requests.
Premade Book Covers
Do you resell premade book covers?
Nope. Once a premade is sold, the design is retired. I don’t even use the primary photo(s) again.
Can you hold a premade design for me?
Unfortunately, no. Premade covers are sold on a first-come basis. So, while I will hold a design while we confirm details of the final cover, I can’t reserve a cover outside of a pending sale.
If I really love a design, but am not ready to finalize my cover, can I buy it and complete the project later?
Yes. I’m happy to work something out, so long as the cover is finalized within a reasonable period.
If I change my mind, can I get my money back?
Unfortunately, no. Premades are a great affordable cover option I like being able to offer indie authors, but they require working pretty tight on spec with an investment in time and assets. Please be certain a design is right for your book before moving forward. I want you to love your new cover.
Why is the estimate for my chosen premade book cover higher than the original price?
Most of the time, a layout will support whatever minor elements you want to add to the cover. But since premade covers are designed on spec, sometimes the style you love doesn’t quite fit your specific needs. For example, if a cover has limited space and the original titling is a single word in a distinctive wide font, a longer title might take more work to make fit yet still be legible in thumbnail. I want authors to have the right cover, so will gladly do whatever possible to make a design suit your book. In cases that will require more time, I’ll always let you know about any anticipated charges up-front.
How often are new premade book covers added to your collection?
I try to add new covers in a mix of genres every Friday, but orders always come first.
Print Book Covers
Can I get an e-book cover now and add a print version later?
Sure. So long as the time gap is reasonable, I archive critical project files.
What additional details do I need for print book covers?
In terms of design, the options are pretty flexible. A blurb and author bio with a photo and/or logo are popular choices. For the business end, you’ll also need to provide a bar code. And, most importantly, you’ll need the specs to build the thing. Please be sure you’ve got a lock on page count and paper/trim options before providing final cover specs.
So, should I wait until I have a final page count to order my print book?
Nah. We can get started with all the big stuff, in the meanwhile. Once you have the final count and specs, I can complete the last pokes at the design.
Why are there different prices for print book cover add-ons?
I price the custom packages based on a tier system, with designs that require less production work (and time investment) costing less. When extending the front cover, I assume the same level of complexity and detail.
Why is the coloring a little different on my print cover?
Print design uses a different color scale than digital. While images you see on screen are rendered in RGB color, print uses CMYK, which is derived from old-school color separation methods. When we design a print and ebook cover, I’ll always use and send a separate file for your print cover, so you can review the file and see the colors as close as possible, presuming your screen is reasonably calibrated.
Design Services / Custom Book Covers
What genres do you work in?
I work in all genres. Of course, there are some moods and themes I have a deeper affinity for, but after decades as a hired-gun designer (mainly in fashion and entertainment), I’m pretty comfortable with a wide range of styles.
What is included with cover design?
Your main cover image will be 3200px x 4800px at 300dpi. If you let me know which retailers you’re selling through and/or what sizes you need, I can also prep you upload-ready cover graphics, as well as low-res web versions for social media posts.
Can I buy the psd file, so I can make changes later?
Unfortunately, no. The layered file has all the images and ornaments I purchased for the cover, but isn’t a salable asset. The licenses for stock and fonts don’t support them being used in a template.
What is your process for designing a cover?
My working style is extremely collaborative. I welcome your input, your ideas (even the bananapants ones…actually, especially those), and your honest opinions. So you can be as involved as you’d like in the process. And, if you’d prefer to check in only when necessary, that’s fine, too.
Since I want an engaging evocative cover, much of the early design process is getting a solid feel for the big picture: characters, message, and voice of the story. Generally, I like to come away from reading the background material, your notes, and excerpts/synopsis with a sound idea of potential imagery and symbols. At this point, most ideas are loose sketches or descriptions I build from as I find stock.
After the deposit and comparing notes about the concepts and direction so far, I get to work and spend a few days putting together up to three loose drafts. My focus here is finding a common visual thread that hits the sweet spot as closely as possible for the book’s genre, theme, mood, and hook. We confer on which you prefer and what edits you’d like done. The refining process could take a single quick round or go on for days.
Once we’ve reached cover nirvana, I do the last polishes and checks and send a final proof for approval. At that point, the balance is paid.
Yep. While plenty of covers might be okay, to find the right one takes some digging around in your book’s soul and squishy underbelly. Your cover should not only reflect genre conventions, but also the story’s mood, themes, and hooks in a split-second glance. The more I know, the better able I am to recognize that elusive perfect cover image or title font when I see it.
What if I have a detailed vision of my main character I want reflected on the cover?
That’s a great start for finding the right model to portray them on the cover. Please understand, though, there is a limited pool of good stock photography, so we’ll get as close as possible to the look and style of your MC. If the look of the character is too important to not be spot on, we should probably rethink using them on the cover and lean toward an image that will better capture the essence of the story.
Can we recreate a pivotal scene on the cover?
I know there’s a really big temptation to show off the cool plot and action you’ve built in your story, but this rarely translates into a solid cover image. The cover needs to attract a reader in a blink of scrolling, so iconic images built on the mood and theme to intrigue will always work far better to engage their attention. Emotion sells and draws people in, so that’s the best approach to the primary marketing image for your book.
What if I hate all the initial drafts?
No worries. That just means we need to go back to the concepts and talk about what you like and don’t like about the treatments, so we can hit the right notes for your vision of the cover. If we’re that off the mark, I’m happy to go back to the drawing board and rethink the imagery.
Do you design banners, graphics, and swag in addition to covers?
Absolutely. My background is marketing and branding, so I love the chance to dig in and craft a complete promotional campaign. I offer some set packages of promo swag graphics, and if you want to go deeper into the marketing beast, just let me know and we can put together a more comprehensive version.
Can I order my cover first, and add marketing materials later?
Sure. I’d advise having the strongest promotional materials you can at launch, but it’s never too late for good marketing.
I already have a book cover. Will you design just my promo materials?
Yep. We can work with the finished cover to craft killer promo designs, regardless.
Stock Art, Images, and Licensing
What’s a stock image?
Stock is, in essence, marketing imagery produced on spec and offered without royalties to designers and marketing pros. The upside is professional art or photography at a slim fraction of custom prices. The catch is: good stock is widely used without exclusives so, though I may never reuse a primary image (the model[s] and/or scene), other designers might. Generally, the upside outweighs the limitations, especially when combined with other backgrounds, filters, and effects to make the image more unique on your cover.
What Stock Image license is included with my purchase?
All stock is purchased with a Standard license. This allows unlimited copies on ebook and related marketing materials but a set number of copies of printed books. If you anticipate your sales to surpass the licensing allowance, you’ll need to get an Extended license.
Can I supply an image for the cover?
Sure, if you have the rights to the image.
Rights and Usage
Who owns copyright?
While I own the copyright to the cover design, you have exclusive rights to its use. What that means for you is: you can use the cover image for any and all promotional images and marketing materials, but can’t resell or alter the design.
Payment & Followup
What payment methods do you accept?
I send a Paypal invoice for all work. They’re the most secure and simple method, overall, and sending payment through Paypal doesn’t require an account.
Can I make changes to the cover after final payment and delivery?
Sure. I’ll be happy to make any changes down the line. Just send me a list of edits, and I’ll shoot an estimate for the work.
Do I need to send you tax forms for your fees?
That depends on the total. Since you’re actually paying for design services, the rules for temp employees apply. So, if you pay me more than $600 in a single year, you should file a 1099. Don’t worry, though. If we hit that number, I’ll send a reminder so we can have all the right paperwork in order.