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How to Collaborate With Your Cover Designer

Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, it's important to know how to collaborate with your cover designer. A great cover is an essential part of selling your book and can help set the tone for your audience. It's not just the words on the page that matter; what readers see first when they see your book matters too! That's where a fantastic cover designer comes in. I've worked with dozens of authors over my career as a professional artist, and one thing I've learned is that everyone has their own way of communicating their vision for their book—and there's no one right way to do it. So here are some tips on how to work effectively with someone who wants their work represented by an image.



Communicate clearly and regularly.

  • Communicate clearly and regularly.

  • Make sure you are clear about your vision for the cover. If there are specific elements that you want to see, or don't want to see on your cover, let them know right away! If you don't have any direction in mind and just want help creating something great together with them, that's okay too! Just be sure to let them know so they can give it their best shot at creating something awesome.

Create a mood board, or visual inspiration board.


A mood board is a visual representation of the themes and ideas you want to convey in your cover design. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, but it should include images that represent the mood of your book.


You can use Pinterest or any other image-sharing site where people share their personal boards with others. You'll need to create an account if you don't already have one (it's free). Once logged in, create a new board named after your book title and add some sample images that capture its tone or feel--think paintings, photography, even movie posters if they fit with what you're going after! Make sure they're sized appropriately so they look good when cropped down into thumbnail size on Amazon's search results page; this is important because readers will see these thumbnails first before clicking through into full size versions where they'll decide whether or not this book's cover appeals enough for them buy now!


Be open to your designer's ideas.

  • Professional designers are more aware of design trends and can bring new ideas to the project.

  • You might like their idea even better than yours!

  • Professional designers know what sells books and will help you make sure your cover is consistent with other covers in your genre while also standing out on the shelf.

You may be worried that giving up creative control will result in an inferior product, but this isn't necessarily true--more creative freedom produces better work. When you collaborate with a professional cover designer, they'll take better care of all aspects of creating a great book cover than someone who hasn't spent years honing their craft (and learning from mistakes).


Know your book's audience.

  • Know your audience.

  • Know the competition.

  • Know your genre, and how it's classified by booksellers and readers alike.

  • Know what kind of books are being published in your chosen genre right now, and whether yours fits into that category (or if it stands out). This will help you determine what kind of cover design will appeal to readers who might otherwise not pick up your book (and could guide some design choices).

  • Determine which demographic group(s) would most likely read this particular book--and then create a cover that appeals to them!

Be reasonable with your feedback.


When you're working with a cover designer, it's important to be clear, concise and to the point. Don't be afraid to give feedback or ask questions. It's also important that you're realistic about what can be achieved in terms of design and budget. If a particular idea isn't going anywhere, don't waste too much time trying to push it through--and don't let yourself get caught up in wanting something too much just because it looks nice! Be open-minded about new ideas; sometimes they turn out better than expected!


Collaborate with your cover designer like you would any other professional artist, but don't forget they're also a person.


When you're working with a cover designer, remember that they are people. They have feelings and opinions and lives just like you do. They might even have families or pets or hobbies that they take part in outside of the office (though maybe not).


2 dogs laying on a couch. one black with white patches and one a fluffy white and tan dog.
These are my two angels for the pet tax.

The same way you wouldn't yell at your boss for making an error on your expense report, don't get mad at your cover designer if they miss something small in their design. Even though it may be frustrating to see something like an incorrect font choice after months of planning and back-and-forth communication between the two parties involved, keep in mind that these things happen--and there's nothing wrong with pointing out those mistakes so they can be corrected before the final product goes live.


Give feedback in a constructive way.


Feedback is an important part of the design process, and you should feel comfortable giving feedback to your cover designer. There are a few things to keep in mind when providing constructive criticism:

  • Be specific. If there's something about the work that bothers you, tell them exactly what it is--don't just say "I don't like this." For example: "I don't like how my shoulders look in these photos; could we use another one?"

  • Use examples from other books or movies as inspiration for how something could be changed (without copying them). For example: "This book cover looks similar to [insert book title] but with more vibrant colors."

  • Ask questions if there are things that aren't clear or need further explanation from the designer before making any decisions on changes; this will help ensure everyone has the same understanding regarding what needs changing/adding/deleting etc., which will result in fewer surprises later down the road when everything comes together!

Collaborating with your cover designer is a great way to ensure that your book will sell well and look amazing. If you’re looking for more information on creating a book cover, check out our other post about tips for self-publishing authors here!


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