I could be forgiven, I think, for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I will be forgiven by anyone thinking I might have expertise in these subjects.
Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads seeking a Copywriter/Graphic Designer, I should know at least a little. Even though I’ve never used InDesign, I have seen it. And that should count for something, right?
In all seriousness, your book’s cover is absolutely critical. We’ve all heard the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. And while I might not exactly agree with that sentiment, I acknowledge that everyone does—at least to some degree—judge a book by its cover.
Choosing A Cover Designer
So how do you choose a designer for that all-important cover? Well, you can take recommendations, you can do a random search…or you can combine those approaches by doing what I did. As a member in good standing of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI), I accessed their database of design professionals.
Of course, once you start looking at the work of the designers out there, you find a wide range of both talent and prices. My designer for my first few novels was a guy who proved perfect for someone like myself looking to purchase in bulk. He was pretty good, and the price was reasonable.
When I prepared to launch Whizzers last year, I knew I wanted to take it to a whole other level. Whizzers really is the best thing I’ve ever done, and I needed a cover that reflected as much. The designer I chose for the cover was at the very top end of my budget, but her portfolio is stellar. She surpassed my expectations: I love the cover, and so do others.
But What About Interior Design?
If there’s one area where you can probably cheap out a bit, it’s interior design. I don’t know if I’d recommend doing it yourself—I certainly don’t have the skill set to do an excellent job on such a project—but going for the most expensive option isn’t a necessity here.
Still, there’s something to be said for having those old expectations surpassed. I gave my cover designer the assignment of doing the interior as well, and while she certainly charged more than what I’ve paid elsewhere, she again gave me a pleasant surprise: the “flying man” image from the cover serves as an intro to each chapter, which I neither requested nor imagined. The result is both classy and highly appropriate. I love it.
Ultimately, I guess it all comes down to you. How much can you afford to pay, and how good does it have to be for your audience? For myself, I feel like my readers deserve the best, and I’ve done everything I can to give it to them. That includes the best cover and interior design I could find.