Author Topic: Some advice on book covers for new authors  (Read 3999 times)  

Offline ShayneRutherford

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Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
« Reply #50 on: January 13, 2021, 02:09:25 pm »
I'd be curious how many 'do-overs' a designer does in order to satisfy lower cost covers vs. high cost covers.  I'm sure designers do both, I mean why turn away business if it take less time for a low cost cover if you have the time.  Plus, that's less hours - less money vs. more hours - more money. It probably evens out on the hourly revenue board anyway.

But, I'm wondering, Do the higher end projects find more 'nit-pick' clients or generally the same in the sense of 'do it again', but 'this way' more often???

I'd also think an e-book cover would cost less than a e-book and print. I would seem a little more complex to do artwork for both. One because you generally deal with a thumbnail and the other a wrap sheet that will be larger and even more visual if you hold it in your hand.  If you do a print cover, then the transition is fairly simple, a crop. but e-book to print cover, more time and more complex.

Then there's the other half of the equation.  When I do my own covers, I know exactly what I want to see, and can read my own mind, and can do it in a few hours or so.  I'd expect the designer -- writer exchange of ideas may not happen that easily, and designers cannot read the minds of writers. 

That old saying, 'a picture is worth a thousand words' - and I bet writers would need at least a good portion of those thousand words to describe a book concept and a cover idea to a designer, and may still not create that exact visual.  Maybe more, maybe less, in the mind's eye.

When you say 'do-overs', do you mean drafts of a cover? Or do you mean rebranding a series because the first covers didn't help to sell the book?

The funny thing is, the clients who spend more on their covers actually tend to be less picky. I assume that it's because their willingness to pay more indicates their willingness to see us as professionals who know what we're doing, and so they tend to trust us more. The pickiest clients I've ever had were the ones who came to me looking for bargains and discounts.

Sometimes that writer/designer exchange of ideas can be tricky. I find it's gotten easier as I've gotten more experience, because I've learned the right questions to ask to get the information that I need. Also, a lot of my current clients have come to me because they've seen my work on books on the Top 100 lists in certain genres and asked the author who their cover designer is. So they came to me because they liked the look of my work specifically, and wanted something similar for a similar genre. That tends to make things a lot easier.
         

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    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #51 on: January 13, 2021, 02:47:06 pm »
    Yep to the designers who've chimed in here. You're paying for a cover artist's knowledge of genre and what will appeal to a buyer, as well as their graphics skill. That's why some designers can charge more--because their work sells books. Simple as that.

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #52 on: January 13, 2021, 03:59:28 pm »
    I'd be curious how many 'do-overs' a designer does in order to satisfy lower cost covers vs. high cost covers.  I'm sure designers do both, I mean why turn away business if it take less time for a low cost cover if you have the time.  Plus, that's less hours - less money vs. more hours - more money. It probably evens out on the hourly revenue board anyway.

    But, I'm wondering, Do the higher end projects find more 'nit-pick' clients or generally the same in the sense of 'do it again', but 'this way' more often???

    I have not paid $800 for any covers, but I mostly work with designers with above average prices for my genre.

    I usually go to a designer because I like their style. So I want something with their style. But I am many books into my career. I already have a visual brand and when commission new covers, I need that same but different for both the genre/niche and my brand.

    It's a tall order.

    I prefer to discuss concepts before we go into design. I don't want to describe the cover and have the designer execute the PhotoShop but I don't want to have no idea what they'll craft either.

    I like to talk branding and market, so we're on the same page before we commit to a design. I want to bring my specific knowledge of my brand and the market to the designer's broader knowledge. (Designers vary in how well they know the market and how concerned they are with the market. And in how much they want to innovate or take risks. Try to get a feel for this by looking at their portfolio or talking to them about the design).

    IME, most designers aren't big talkers. They speak in images. Authors speak in words. If we learn to bridge the gap, we'll all have perfect covers. Until then...

    Usually, if I communicate what I want, I get a mockup that is nearly finished. I might need small tweaks (for some reason, designers struggle with my author name size/placement more often than not, even when I tell them I'm religious about it), but it's usually pretty fast.

    Sometimes, later into a series, it takes more effort to make the cover work, because we've used all the easy ideas. Same but different gets harder the more same you have.

    If I'm asking for tons of changes, it's usually because the designer isn't really doing what I've asked. Maybe it's me. Maybe it's them. Maybe it's communication. In any case, the mockup doesn't meet my specs, and the changes don't address the problem. Either they fix the problem and create a new one or they make a small tweak instead of a big change.

    I find this happens more often with cheaper designers. But it also happens more often with difficult books (mix of tones, long titles, I've already done the "obvious" covers for the book, the angle for the book isn't as clear, etc.).

    Then, there are times where I hire a designer to explore concepts, because I know I don't know what I want. In that case, I expect to make a lot of changes and go through a lot of drafts, and I let the designer know.

    Rebranding a cover is a normal part of the process. Even if the original cover was great and 100% on market, it will age. Authors redo covers to keep up with trends and to bring in a different audience.

    I might switch out a really great cover because too many people have seen it. Or because I appealed to all the fans of couples and now I need to grab the fans of shirtless dudes (objects, girls, shirt wearing dudes, etc.). I may have to do this soon and I really don't want to say goodbye to the current covers. I love them! But this is a business and I have to do what makes money.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #53 on: January 13, 2021, 05:47:02 pm »
    I might switch out a really great cover because too many people have seen it. Or because I appealed to all the fans of couples and now I need to grab the fans of shirtless dudes (objects, girls, shirt wearing dudes, etc.). I may have to do this soon and I really don't want to say goodbye to the current covers. I love them! But this is a business and I have to do what makes money.

    Simple, logical, and yet, I don't think I would've thought to do this for these reasons.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #54 on: January 13, 2021, 06:11:40 pm »
    Simple, logical, and yet, I don't think I would've thought to do this for these reasons.

    It's really smart, because different visuals will appeal to different people. If you have Netflix you can see it in practice - they switch out the little poster graphics quite a bit, because they want to attract the eyes of viewers that the old version didn't get.
             

    Offline Crystal_

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #55 on: January 13, 2021, 08:09:35 pm »
    It's really smart, because different visuals will appeal to different people. If you have Netflix you can see it in practice - they switch out the little poster graphics quite a bit, because they want to attract the eyes of viewers that the old version didn't get.

    They're very fast with it too. The second The Queen's Gambit was trending, they put the star on every relevant image.

    I wish I had Netflix data. Sigh, if only...

    One thing I recommend is not telling your current readers about the rebrand and not asking their opinions. They will generally not like changes from the cover they bought. They're emotionally attached to that cover. It's the one they loved! But if the buy the paperback, they can have it forever. If they don't, well, carpe diem next time.

    Offline Bite the Dusty

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #56 on: January 13, 2021, 08:43:51 pm »
    It's really smart, because different visuals will appeal to different people. If you have Netflix you can see it in practice - they switch out the little poster graphics quite a bit, because they want to attract the eyes of viewers that the old version didn't get.

    Totally, and it works, I just never thought about it for us.

    One thing I recommend is not telling your current readers about the rebrand and not asking their opinions. They will generally not like changes from the cover they bought. They're emotionally attached to that cover. It's the one they loved! But if the buy the paperback, they can have it forever. If they don't, well, carpe diem next time.

    I'm that person sort of. I'd never complain to an author, but I inwardly curse every time I'm at the grocery store and something has new branding and it takes forever to find it when it's right in front of me lol.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #57 on: January 13, 2021, 09:18:00 pm »
    Thanks for keeping this thread on track today, everyone. Let's keep it going. I did quite a bit of editing and deleting yesterday, removing material that did not follow the KB Way. Carry on.

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    Offline toddhicks209

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #58 on: January 14, 2021, 01:48:29 am »
    Unless you think it's best to have a custom-made cover for your book I recommend using Pixabay where you can find many quality images to choose from for your book at no cost and with the privilege of using them for commercial purposes.

    Todd Hicks

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #59 on: January 14, 2021, 02:53:35 am »
    Unless you think it's best to have a custom-made cover for your book I recommend using Pixabay where you can find many quality images to choose from for your book at no cost and with the privilege of using them for commercial purposes.

    With the privilege of being sued for improper use of images. That site is RIFE with images that you really can't use for commercial projects, such as ebooks.

    Images with people need a model release.
    Images with famous modern buildings need permission/payment to the owner.
    I'm not even talking about images that have no business being on the site because they belong to someone else.
    Photos of artworks without permission from the artist.
    Photos with copyrighted material.
    Plain stolen images.

    Free sites like Pixabay are probably OK for photos to use on a blog or non-commercial projects. Or for textures. But only if there are no people, no modern buildings and no artworks in the picture and you can verify that the person who posted the pictures took them.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #60 on: January 14, 2021, 09:14:38 am »
    With the privilege of being sued for improper use of images. That site is RIFE with images that you really can't use for commercial projects, such as ebooks.

    Images with people need a model release.
    Images with famous modern buildings need permission/payment to the owner.
    I'm not even talking about images that have no business being on the site because they belong to someone else.
    Photos of artworks without permission from the artist.
    Photos with copyrighted material.
    Plain stolen images.


    Yep. All of this. I've seen quite a few Star Wars battle cruisers and Star Trek Enterprises over there. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff that was probably trademarked but I didn't recognize it.

    Proper stock sites like Shutterstock and Depositphotos don't cost that much. And they indemnify you up to a certain amount (I think it's $10k?) if a picture slips through that shouldn't have. Sites like Pixabay and Unsplash offer no indemnification at all, so if you use a pic that you shouldn't, you'll be left to cover any costs yourself.
             

    Offline Bill Hunter

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    Re: Some advice on book covers for new authors
    « Reply #61 on: January 14, 2021, 01:52:09 pm »
    I'm a new author. I plan on using inexpensive premade covers until I get more money to spend on covers. Then I will rebrand them with better covers. As far as making other advertising with the covers I see what other people do with ad before I go down that route.

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