Your ebook is almost ready and you realize you'll need a stunning cover to promote it. The problem is, you don't have the skills or software to make one. It's time to start looking for a graphic designer. Shopping for one is no different than shopping for any other product or service online.
You want a designer who's dependable and who can truly reflect your vision at a price you can afford.
Here are some tips for finding a quality graphic designer suitable for your needs.
Do you know anyone that has used a designer before? Start by asking your inner circle, support teams, friends, colleagues. Some of those all important people you network with have most likely had a cover made at one time or another and will be most happy to share their resource with you. Forums are also a great place to look for referrals.
Ask to see their covers. Not only will you get an idea of their designers style, but it may also give you some ideas when shaping your own vision.
Use the search engines to find graphic designers. Enter in some key words or phrases and start looking around. It may take you an afternoon to sort through them all, but in the end it's so worth it to find the right person you can work with.
When you're looking over a designers website, check for testimonials. If they have a link back to the customers site, follow it.
Don't be afraid to contact the site owner and ask if their testimonial is valid. I've received numerous inquiries about products and services I've recommended on various sites. Also try and get a look at the cover on their site. You'll get a feel for how it looks and fits on their site.
When you're checking out testimonials, ask if they've purchased other graphics from the same designer. Sometimes it will be apparent if the rest of the graphics on the page have the same look and feel. Other times it might not be as obvious if the customer has purchased graphics for different sites or products. If you're not sure, ask.
The option is to find a designer who will make your cover without having to pay any money up front. The proof(s) they provide will include watermarks to deter image theft, but you'll be able to see the results before you pay for it.
However, not all designers offer this "risk free" option. If you choose a designer who requests payment in advance, make sure they offer a CLEAR money back guarantee or a re-design if you don't like the finished image.
Does the designer have a portfolio or samples on their website? Looking through the work they've already done will show you if they provide quality work. Every designer has their own style. Does their style reflect your own?
While you're looking through the designers portfolio, pay attention to authors names. If you see numerous graphics made for the same author or website, it's often a sign of repeat business. This is a good thing.
Other Supporting Graphics
Does the designer create other graphics that will support your cover. Things like a page header, order button, background image, etc. These additional graphics are often bundled together for a better price and are designed to work with your cover.
Easy to Order
Does the designer make it easy for you to order? That may sound like a given, but it's not.
Order Form Options
Take a peek at the order form before ordering. See what sort of questions are included. Do they ask about the age group and target market you're trying to reach? Your color preferences? Other options available?
Does the order form provide areas for you to include comments, ideas or other instructions you need them to know? If they are asking these questions then they clearly want to design a cover for your market and a cover that is intended to SELL your product.
Let Get Real
Does the designer provide contact information on their website? Insist on working with a real person, with a name thats not afraid to hide behind their website or a corporate facad.
Customer support is ultimate important. Is their an easy way to contact the designer? Do they answer your emails in a timely manner? Can you call them?
Does the designers site provide a faq area? If so, read it! You may find answers to some or all of your questions without going any further.
You've got a deadline - What is the normal turnaround time for getting your project done? Will the designer work with you to get your project completed before your deadline? If they will that means they are prepared to work with you and want what's best for you.
Are the designers prices listed on their site and easy to find? If not, will they email them to you? Can you afford what the designer is charging? If you require more than one design you can expect any discounts? Do they offer any package specials or other deals?
On a side note... While cost is certainly a consideration for you, it shouldn't be the ONLY consideration. Good designers may cost more but in the end, you'll get a much higher quality image that will increase your sales. Most often, you get what you pay for.
You can spend days, weeks and months gathering information on which designer to use for your project. It can be a daunting process. However, it doesn't have to be. Sometimes you've just got to trust your gut instinct and go with it.