I love playing Pictionary. Draw a kid sledding down a mountain. No problem. A camel in the Sahara. Sure, why not? A book cover for my novel. Okay, now wait just a minute.
You see my problem? I’ve spent years fine tuning my writing craft, but when it comes to drawing, my experience is limited to Pictionary. Honestly, it would be easier for me to draw a picture of a man trying to draw a book cover than it is for me to design a cover for my actual novel.
Scouring the internet, I found multiple websites to purchase book covers. But which ones really work? And how will someone design a cover for me when I don’t know what I want on it?
It took some trial and error, but here’s what worked for me.
Find an illustrator. If you’re like me at the start of this journey, you’re probably asking yourself “Okay boss, but how do I find one?” Excellent question. Searching online, I saw a variety of places for illustrators.
One place that popped on my interwebs search was https://99designs.com/book-cover-design. If you have money, then this place may be right for you. You can choose anywhere between $399 - $1799 packages to received 30 - 90 designs by various artists. In essence, they list your book’s premise as a contest and invite artist to submit covers. If you choose an artist’s design, they win a prize, and you get an awesome cover.
I did not do this (mostly because I would feel bad for all the artist who didn’t win.) But the high cost didn’t help either.
I chose www.fiverr.com. Fiverr is a website for freelances of all types. Writers, illustrators, web designers, teachers, witches (Yes, you read that correctly. People were selling spells and charms to unlock your true potential).
Witchcraft scams aside, Fiverr is a great and affordable place to get a book cover made. You can browse through hundreds of artists, find one whose style matches what you want, and request a relatively inexpensive cover.
I found three artist styles I liked and sent them requests. One I sent with exact instructions with what I wanted, and even sent him a sample cover I had created myself. The other two I simply submitted my book’s query (which you can find on the opening page of my website). The results:
There’s nothing wrong with being specific if you have a clear vision and know exactly what you want. But let’s be honest, most of us who write books don’t know anything regarding illustrations, so save yourself the trouble and let someone else do that for you.
Below are the covers. Which one do you guys prefer (and please don’t say the 1st one…)
For extra fun, here are a bunch of failed cover examples I made on my own. (There’s a reason why I’m not an illustrator). However, if you do want to try this route, I recommend using www.Pexel.com as a place to find stock images. Many are free to use for personal and commercial use, so you don’t have to worry about someone suing if you incorporate it into your final design. For most, I literally took the entire image from Pexel and added a title.