Although I have been known to keep tinkering with the script while it’s with my editor (I’ve added whole scenes and, once, a chapter, while she was working on the first round of edits. In fact, she’s never had the same ending twice), I think it’s a good idea to get cracking on the cover while the manuscript is with the editor. It keeps the momentum up, without having to stare at those words yet again.
For some people, writing the blurb is the biggest worry. We’ll deal with that some other time. For myself, I really struggle (read: horrifically) with the front cover.
I have never known a cover designer who wants to read the whole book and come up with their own design. So, in a similar vein to blurb-writing, you’re going to have to come up with an idea for an artist. Unless, of course, you’re a graphic designer, in which case, you’re probably better at this than I am.
Because the script is with the editor and I, frankly, haven’t finished fixing it yet, I can’t guess how long the final script is going to be. As such, when communicating with the cover designer, I’ll explain that I want an ebook cover to begin with, but I will say, right up front, if I’m looking to extend it to a full-wrap in time. Full-wrap is a paperback cover – front, back and spine.
For the ebook, the designer will need to know:
1. Title, subtitle, author name.
2. What the book is about.
3. If you have an idea in mind.
Try to give as much detail as possible. Designers like to know exactly what you want.
Pricing ranges from deadly cheap to mad money. Delivery of the cover (either JPEG or TIFF will work on Amazon), via email, can be in as little as a few days.
Naturally enough, when we come to the full-wrap, the designer will need to know –
1. The number of pages in the finished script.
2. The colour paper it will be printed on (if it’s a textbook, you might consider white paper, but for anything else, cream looks better.)
3. The size of the pages in inches. You can find this out when you format the thing – that’s coming in another post. Don’t worry just yet.
4. The blurb.
The full-wrap should be an extension of the ebook cover. There is a good reason to keep uniformity in your publications. If you publish the ebook with a cover, and then release the paperback with something that looks entirely different, you’ll risk winding up your readers. Some people, if they think those are two different books, will order both, and then feel very let down that they’ve spent money on something they already had. Don’t risk bad reviews. Keep the ebook and full-wrap the same. Or, should you be changing/rebranding the book, make sure to change both covers.
There are tonnes, tonnes of book cover designers online. Here are a couple of my favourites:
There is a legal detail about how many times the cover can be printed before you have to pay for a license to the image. It’s something like 500,000 times for certain sources.
I have absolute faith in you, but I only know one or two people who’ve had to pay for the license. It’s rare. Don’t worry about it. At least, not right away. If you get to the 500,000 sales point, feel free to talk me up in public. Also, that would be a great time to order a new cover and go for a rebrand.