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How to Find and Work with a Book Cover Designer

We all know the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but let’s face it, people do. Your cover is an integral part of your book’s success, especially for indie authors who are self-publishing.

It is definitely possible to design your own book cover, but we highly recommend getting the help of a trained professional. Unless you have some serious design skills, hiring help for your cover is a wise investment, even if you are on a tight budget.


The elements of an effective book cover

Book cover design is both an art and a science. Before you hire a designer to work on your next book cover, you should be prepared with some specific elements you want for the design to make the process as easy and successful as possible.

Understanding genre conventions

One of the key ways to ensure your book’s success is for your cover to resonate with readers. The best way to do this is to study other book covers in your genre and use similar genre conventions for your design.

Do you see color palette trends? Do other covers showcase characters from their story? Is the art style realistic or stylized? These are the elements you should keep your eyes open for and possibly include in a brief with your designer.

Typography matters

The typography on a cover is sometimes an afterthought for authors, but it deserves your attention. The text on your cover can make or break the entire design.

It is extremely important to get the font you use for your title and author name right. There are several elements when it comes to your font that you should pay close attention to, these include the font style, size, and color (is it legible on top of your artwork, does it clash with other colors?). As mentioned in the previous point, make sure you also take inspiration from other popular fonts in your genre.

Don’t make a cover for yourself

We get it, your book means everything to you and your cover must live up to the words you spent so long crafting. But it’s vital to remember that your cover is not for you, it is for the reader.

Cover design should prioritize elements that resonate with your target audience and focus on the themes and emotions that speak to their interests.

Keep this in mind when creating a brief for your cover designer. Be flexible with the suggestions they offer and have an open mind when they submit their designs.

Tips from an expert

If you’d like more tips on the elements that make an effective book cover, check out the video below from our recent Speaker Series session with professional book cover designer and illustrator, Rebekah Haskell from Vivid Covers!


How to find a cover designer?

Finding a cover designer can be a daunting process, especially if you are just starting out in your career as an independent author. Don’t stress because we are here to help make it a little easier for you!

Research other books in your genre

The first step to take when trying to find cover designer is to do your research. This might sound like something that is easier said than done. But the truth is, getting a list of possible designers can actually be a simple process.

A great way to find cover designers is to search Amazon for other books in your genre. In particular, other books by independent authors. Head to the Amazon Bestsellers in your genre and start clicking into the books you like the covers for.

Did you know that many independent authors actually list their cover designer in the front matter of their book? To access this, just click on the cover of the book and use the ‘Look Inside’ feature.

Now start making your list!

Ask other authors

Another easy way to find a cover designer is to ask other independent authors. If you’ve got author friends, obviously that is the best place to start. But, if you’re just starting out, you may not have a network yet.

Thankfully, it’s now easier than ever to find independent authors online to start making connections. Joining author groups on Facebook is an easy first step and can open up a world of contacts. These groups are usually very active and makes it simple to reach out and ask for advice in an open forum.

If you have no luck here, you can go to your favorite independent authors websites. Most will have a contact page where you can reach out and ask questions. 

Attending author conferences and local networking events is another valuable resource, not just for finding cover designer recommendations but for establishing a network of author friends for any future questions you might have.

Post an ad for a freelance book designer 

While it is definitely a safer option to find established book cover designers that have worked with published independent authors already, there are many services available for you to find a freelance designer.

Freelance job sites like and are a great resource for you to find the perfect designer and the process is relatively simple. For a site like Upwork, you can post the specifics for your task and then within 24 hours you’ll start getting proposals. If you just want to search through possible freelancers, Fiverr is great because you can filter by various aspects like budget, delivery time, and type of work to find the perfect option.

There are also book specific freelance sites like that can be a valuable resource for cover design talent. 

We’d recommend the first two options as a first step, but hiring via a freelance website is a great backup if you can’t find the perfect fit from recommendations.


How to work with a cover designer?

So, you know how to find a book cover designer. But the work is not over yet. Knowing how to work with a cover designer is just as important as knowing how to find one. Cover design is a collaborative process and you definitely want to make sure you give your input and feedback along the way to ensure the finished product is exactly what you want.

Be Prepared

Scar in the Lion King said it best “Be Prepared.” You don’t want to waste your or your designers time, so being prepared and knowing what you want is crucial. Many designers even charge for their time, so having clear and descriptive ideas for your cover will make this process easier and quicker. You’re also more likely to not be disappointed with the end product because you’ve been clear in your vision.

Before you start collaborating on your cover we recommend taking a look at The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Book Cover Design and How to Avoid Them and How to Create a Best-Selling Cover articles for some inspiration.

Provide examples

It’s all great to describe what you want, but without visual examples it can be hard for a designer to picture exactly what you want. The best way around this is to find other books in your genre that you’d like to use as inspiration.

Don’t be afraid to include a lot of different covers you like. Ideally you’ll want to provide the designer with some examples for each aspect of you cover. The main stylistic components you’ll want to show in these examples are the imagery used, fonts, and colors. 

If you’ll be using stock photography in your cover, you can provide these up front to the designer or send links with suggestions of what to use. If your book requires specific artwork, send a copy of your book to the designer with the character and world descriptors highlighted so they know what to create.

Set a budget

It’s very easy to get carried away in the cover design process and forget about the cost. You have to make sure you have a clear budget and your designer knows this. Be upfront with how much you want to spend and ask the designer if that is realistic for your project.

It is tempting to spend the bare minimum on a cover because it’s just another expense in the book launch process. But it is a very important step and deserves your time and consideration.

Think of your cover as your very first piece of marketing. It’s what everyone will see first when considering to buy your book, and you want it to do your writing justice.

Plan Ahead

If you know your new book will be part of a series, you’ll want to make sure you plan ahead for this now. If your budget allows, ask the designer to make several mockups for covers with similar elements, so you have some covers to use down the line. Even if you don’t have a title confirmed yet, getting this imagery now can prevent problems down the line.

Alternatively, make sure you get the contact details of your designer, so you can reach out to them in the future for more work.

You also want to make sure you ask your designer for the different elements used in the cover. What font was used, what exact color was in the background and text, where was the stock photo purchased from? Just in case you can’t work with this designer again in the future, this will make it easier for another designer to pick up where they left off.

I hope this helped make your cover design experience a little easier. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips or have cover designer suggestions of your own!

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9 comments on “How to Find and Work with a Book Cover Designer
  1. Currently looking for a cover artist, this article gives me a good place to start. And I didn’t think about Planning Ahead or Providing Examples both of those are good points.

  2. Fiverr is not a great option for cover designs. It’s full of ‘designers’ who steal other designers’ work and use it in their portfolios. Not to say there aren’t any good ones, but think about it, if they are great, they don’t need Fiverr, they can get all the work from their own website. Google searches provide much better options.

    Some other important stuff:

    1. See if designer is showing real name and a face (at least one of two). Avoid those who are completely anonymous on their own website.
    2. Don’t be scared to write an email to ask a question. Most designers are a helpful bunch, without expecting the sale to happen.
    3. It’s ok to ask for few former customer info to contact them for feedback on designer too.

    Good luck!

    1. True, to a point. A lot of great designers are sh*t at marketing and they lean towards Upwork and Fiverr to find clients. But the legit ones do use their own name and face.

  3. Fiverr is an OK place to find designers if you’re on a low budget. Most of the time you will get a generic-looking design.
    As a book cover designer myself, I would recommend investing a little bit more in the book cover. The cover is the selling point of a book. I would recommend a freelance site called 99 designs. It’s a site where instead of a 1 to 1 project you create a contest where designers compete against eachother to make the best design. You get a good variation to choose from. This platform is pricier than fiverr, but worth the money.

    If you’re curious of my work, you find it here:

  4. I’d say – beware of anyone claiming to design covers in any genre. The book marketing space is vast and requires expert knowledge of the genres and sub-genres you design. I focus on illustrated covers mostly for romantic comedy and romance (plus some comedy and cozy mystery). The best cover designers are not just technically skilled at their art, they’re avid readers and often also writers. Make sure your artist knows your market!

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