Hiring An eBook Cover Designer

Overstating the importance of the cover of an ebook is nearly impossible to do. The first exposure most casual shoppers will have to your work; the cover is tasked with stopping them in their tracks to investigate the pages behind it. Having this awareness, do you really want to leave the crafting of it to an amateur? Sure, you might get lucky and find someone gifted. But hiring an ebook cover designer is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make. Why leave it to chance?

Finding Candidates

One of the best ways to find a good cover designer is to scan the major ebook selling sites like Amazon, Google Books or Apple’s iBooks for covers you find attractive—ideally with style suited to the type of book you’re producing. Most books carry a credit for the cover designer on the copyright page. Once you’ve found a name, run a search engine query on it to find more of their work and contact information. Another useful resource is The Book Cover Designer website.  There, you’ll find pre-designed already configured to conform to the standards most ebook-selling sites dictate.

Desired Skills

When it comes to designing an ebook cover, a strong graphic sense is just one of the necessary requirements.  You’ll likely need someone with a grounding in HTML, CSS, and EPUB, as well as familiarity with JavaScript, XML and a server-side language like PHP Then, of course, there is a familiarity with traditional book layout principles. While this might sound like a lot, it’s important to keep in mind your book will exist in the digital domain. As you’re thinking about how to sell ebooks online, remember the better prepared your product is to function in that environment, the fewer problems you’ll encounter.

Evaluating Their Capabilities

Each candidate you approach should have a portfolio available for your review. Odds are you’ll have been attracted to their work by one cover in particular. When you review their portfolio, you’ll be looking for a consistency of style to confirm they are capable of routinely producing that caliber of work. If you’re satisfied they are, ask for some referrals to talk to other authors for whom the designer has produced. When you contact them, try to get a feel for what working with this person will be like for you. Were they easy to work with? Did they deliver in a timely fashion? How did they respond to requests for changes? How easy or difficult was it to convey concepts to the artist and how closely did the finished designs adhere to the vision of each author?

What to Expect to Pay

Opinions vary on what is a reasonable price. After all, “reasonable” means different things to different people. Pricing varies considerably, even on a site with pre-made covers. In most cases, you should be able to get a good ebook design for around $100 (give or take). If you’re planning a print version as well, expect to pay a bit more. Bear in mind though, the cost is about more than just the cash outlay. There is also a time factor to consider. In most cases, the average turnaround time is somewhere between two and three weeks. Plus, you’ll have to factor in time for revisions.

The designer you choose should be a very capable partner if they are evaluated with these considerations in mind.  As specialized as the field is, there are a lot of people out there doing it, so don’t settle for someone with whom you feel uncomfortable. Ultimately, it’s your investment, take your time and find someone you can love.


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