Hey! If you need a book cover designed at a super affordable rate, but you have no idea where to find quality graphic designers who specialize in book covers, you’re likely feeling stuck, overwhelmed, anxious, and confused. These feelings are natural and normal, but fear not. You’ll be able to alleviate all trepidation surrounding the process of finding a talented yet affordable book cover graphic designer once you know where to look for such a unique talent. As with anything, knowledge is power.
You may be a self-published author with an edited manuscript that’s ready for publication except for the fact that you’re missing a book cover. You may be an author seeking agent representation through the traditional query process, who believes that including a well designed book cover with their query letter will substantially increase their chances of being signed. You may be an author who’s brainstorming literary concepts, yet you want a book cover in addition to your literary notes because a tangible visual will light the way for the rest of your project. Whatever your unique writing situation is, I hope that this article helps you find that super talented and super affordable book cover graphic designer who will enhance your already moving project or idea!
Craigslist is more than just a hookup and scam website. Craigslist, quiet as it’s kept, is also one of the few websites that many creatives check daily for creative job leads. You can post your job ad for an affordable book cover graphic designer, sit back, and watch your email blowup with freelancers looking to work with you.
When utilizing Craigslist as a resource, be sure to think global as opposed to local. Post your job ad in cities that are creative meccas. In the digital workplace on Craigslist, book cover design freelancers are primarily going to be checking the job listings in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia (my hometown, woot woot), and London. They’ll look at listings in these cities because they know that employers looking to hire creatives are going to post in these places in order to attract the largest amount of candidates. So regardless of where you live, post your ad in these creative meccas for free, and watch the applicants roll in!
2) Look To The Past
An easy way to find a book cover designer whose work you like is to peruse the covers of hundreds of books in your book’s genre that were released in the last five years. Most books will state on the back cover who the book cover designer is. By finding covers in your genre that you like from the last five years, you’re increasing the likelihood that the graphic designer is still working in the book cover design arena, and is up to date on modern artistic tools and techniques. By finding a creative who’s completed book covers in the same genre, you’re increasing the likelihood that this freelancer can create a masterpiece for you that’s publication worthy by replicating some of the same thought and creative processes that they used to create someone else’s gem.
Once you find the names of a few hundred designers, Google them! Some will be retired, some will not be taking on new clients, some you won’t be able to find at all, and some will be out of your price range. However, there will be a small group of book cover designers from this pool, who are still freelancing, and whose rates match your budget.
Roughly a million books are published each year worldwide, so it would be wise to assume that you can rinse and repeat this process many times over until you find the perfect match!
3) Colleges And Universities
Institutes of higher learning are always looking to match current students with internship or employment opportunities. Contact several collegiate career centers (or art/graphic design departments) that house the top graphic design programs around the world, let them know that you’re looking to hire a book cover graphic designer, and see what they can do for you. Maybe they’ll send their students an email with your job listing. Perhaps they’ll have several students in mind who would be excellent fits for your project, and they’ll ask those students to apply to your gig.
A number of scenarios could occur when attempting to work with university students, but whatever the case might be, working with students is a great way to find affordable labor while creating a win-win-win scenario for three parties that have drastically different goals (you, the student, and the school).
The hashtag #bookdesigner showcases thousands of pictures of, drumroll please, book covers. This hashtag and similar hashtags (#bookcoverdesign, #bookdesign, #graphicdesign, #graphicdesigner) will allow you to view many book covers. If you like any of the book covers that come up via this method, visit the page housing the cover, and find the designer’s contact information if you can. If you can find the contact information, contact the designer and find out their rates, if they’re available, and find out what their estimated turnaround time is.
If you don’t see any contact information on the picture, by all means just direct message the Instagram page that posted the picture and ask for the contact information of the book cover’s graphic designer. As with anything else in life, seek and ye shall find. Be resourceful, professional, be aggressive, and get what you came for!
5) Writing Forums
There’s no better way to find quality affordable help than to engage with other people who have similar hiring needs. You’re an author. Get engaged in online forums, message boards, and social media pages where other authors congregate. Start sharing information and resources in these online communities and it will be reciprocated back to you.
Like with anything else, people will refer and recommend people that they know and trust to others that they know and trust. So get involved in these online communities, not to pillage, but to add value, and people will quickly recommend jewels in the world of book cover graphic design who are highly skilled, trustworthy, and affordable.
6) A Traditional Google Search
Google is and always will be your very best friend. Every place listed in this article requires or could require a bit of research that can be performed on Google. However, there’s nothing wrong with Googling, “book cover graphic designer,” “freelance book cover graphic designer,” “freelance graphic designer,” “cheap graphic designer,” etc. Perform many Google searches in this area and see what you come up with. Find people whose rates work for you and proceed from there!
7) Word Of Mouth
Everyone knows someone. Put out a feeler on your social media pages that says, “Hey! I’m looking for a talented, super dope, super creative, book cover designer who is an awesome communicator. HELP!”
People are always more than willing to help, especially if they’ll look good in the helping process. Like the matchmaker hoping that the two people she brought together get married, people are always hoping that those they bring together for mutual benefit will hit it off and strike it big. So they’ll receive lots of applause of course.
No matter the reason, altruistic to nefarious, people are always looking to be of service when their service makes them shine bright in the process. Put your social networks (both virtual and real life) to good use, and start asking around!
Upwork.com is the baby that came about when former freelance platforms oDesk.com and Elance.com merged together in 2015. On Upwork you can find an affordable book cover designer that you can pay hourly (from $3 and up) or per project. All talent on Upwork must use their real names and pictures on their profiles. Using ones real name and picture cuts down on a lot of the shady behavior that is found on other freelance platforms where people can remain virtually anonymous.
On Upwork you can peruse through professional samples from book cover designers until you find one whose skill and price both work for you. Although Upwork is last on my list, it’s certainly not least. There’s great affordable talent on Upwork, and you’ll be able to work with this talent in a safe, professional environment, that is mutually beneficial environment.
Joshua Jadon is a book cover designer for New York Times and internationally best-selling authors of all genres. In 2013 after attending Central Michigan University for 2 months he decided to drop out and pursue book cover design full-time. Joshua currently operates out of Grand Rapids, Michigan and loves to spend his time chipping away at the computer, traveling, writing, being with family, listening to music, and learning new things.