Hey there lovely writer,
This is how I’m going to make your book cover, step by step. :)
Step 1: Information
First I’m going to ask you questions about your book. In order to be able to portray it correctly, I’ll need to know the contents, the genre, the theme, the mood, etc.
Disclaimer 1: The more information you give, the better.
Disclaimer 2: If you’re chasing a deadline, you have to inform your designer and sometimes they’re going to ask for an extra “speedy delivery” fee.
Disclaimer 3: Generally, the more freedom you give your designer, the better. Nobody likes being micromanaged on what they should put in your cover. A certain amount of trust is required for your designer to do her thing.
Step 2: Collecting Photos
Once I have all the info, I’m going start collecting images from different places that make me think of your book in ONE FOLDER (I download images from 100% free sites and also license some from royalty-free stock photo sites), and while you can bring your own images and request specific imagery on your cover, you have to be sure that you own the right to use the image AND have a high-definition resolution, or else I’ll have to find something similar. In general, though, it’s best to leave most of the work to the designer, as they generally know what they’re doing.
Disclaimer: I try to collect unique photos, but if you’re worried about your book cover being too similar to others, just…
Step 3: Setting the Mood
Once I have all the images collected and ready to go, I’ll get in the mood by looking at book covers from your genre.
I have a ton of genre moodboards on Pinterest because it’s very important to fit in the genre guidelines. While I often like to rebel, the main guidelines must be met in order to meet your reader’s expectations and not make people angry. (Imagine seeing a dragon on an erotic book and then realizing you’d made a mistake!)
This is perhaps the biggest reason why one shouldn’t design their own book cover - you might end up designing something that doesn’t fit your genre.
Disclaimer: Trust your designer when it comes to genre, they know what’s going to be picked up by readers more than you do, and if you don’t trust them, you might end up with a book cover that doesn’t sell your book.
Step 4: First Concepts
Once I have all the elements I need and am in the proper mood, I’ll open some things up in Photoshop and put some of it together to get your first concepts. Usually I’ll work on 2 or 3 very different options, so you can pick the one you like the most. I’ll do that by matching symbols in your book, trying different tones, etc.
(Here you’ll see designers sketch their ideas on paper, but I just don’t work that way. My process is highly intuitive so I have to see what comes as I do it. Kind of like a pantser who doesn’t outline before they write. But don’t worry, if I mess up, I’ll start again and only send you concepts that I’m happy with.)
The Images below were first concepts for a novella about a girl who hears ghosts who want her to send messages to their loved ones, and though she thinks the phantoms can’t touch her, soon she discovers one is about to… So I was going for a scary/creepy vibe since this is paranormal horror (my favourite):
In the end, the author chose the first one without the scary eye and after some post-treatment, it turned out pretty amazing if I can say so myself.
Disclaimer: Remember that first concepts are not perfect, they’re just concepts that we’re going to work on to make them as perfect as we can. :)
Step 5: Revisions
Once you’ve chosen your favorite concept, I’ll ask you if you want any changes made, and that could be anything from changing the font to incorporating an element from another concept to changing sizes, colors, etc.
(Don’t worry about whether I can do something, just ask and I’ll do my best. Sometimes I’d just learn something new for a client.)
We’ll go back and forth via email, having 5 rounds of revision max. People can go on and on asking for very slight changes that stretch the design process endlessly (and while I want to make you happy, I also have other clients and responsibilities), which is why I generally try to provide options in the first place. For example, I’d give you several variations with slight adjustments even if you haven’t asked because that’s what I do for myself. You don’t know what you like until you see it.
screenshot of photoshop:
Disclaimer: If the designer is any good, they should be able to change, fix, adjust anything on your book cover, so don’t worry about asking for “crazy” changes because Photoshop makes everything as easy as using the right…
Step 6: Addons
Once you’re happy with your cover, I’ll provide you with the large file and a smaller file for various Internet uses, and I’ll ask you if you need a book banner, which is your book cover and info on an image that’s optimized for social media.
I highly recommend getting the banner because it looks more professional.
The banners are in different sizes, for each social media platform, and they contain a mockup of your book on kindle, ipad, paperback, etc., a small blurb that gets people excited and even a launch date if you have it.
Step 7: Review
The final step is you leaving me a review so other people would know what to expect when they hire me. That’s always appreciated. :)
And this is a recent example:
How long does it take?
Usually it takes about 2 weeks but if communication is slower, it can take up to 3 or 4 weeks.
It depends on how fast you answer your emails. :)