Like any other project, book design is a collaborative process, and it’s important that you understand the step-by-step procedure we will be going through to achieve the best possible result for your book. Please take the time to read this information – it’s all important!
1) BOOK DESIGN CONCEPT
Whilst I appreciate that you might not have a specific idea of what you want for your cover, it would be extremely helpful if you could send at least 6-10 links to books on Amazon or other online booksellers whose covers have the style or ‘vibe’ you want for your own book. (See example for ‘international thrillers below.) Alternatively, you might use Pinterest or something similar to collect images that you have found on the web expressing the kind of idea/s you want to get across. I also need the ‘blurb’ and synopsis of your book (just a brief outline will do), as well as any elements from the book you feel would work on the cover. (There might be some sort of important object, logo, person/creature or concept that features in the work.) This will give me a good idea and a starting point of what we’re aiming for.
2) SOURCING IMAGES
I then search the web and picture libraries for images that fit your criteria and are readily available to use. (If imagery isn’t necessarily required, then we may be able to skip this – you may prefer a more abstract or typography-only design, for example). I send the images to you, so that you can give me an idea of which ones you feel might work for you and the book. If you’re after something more specific, then we can work together on finding something suitable on online libraries such as Shutterstock or Pixabay, for which I will provide URLs. Original illustration or photography can be commissioned at additional cost, which would be provided after further consultation.
3) INITIAL VISUALS
Once you’re happy that we’ve sourced a selection of suitable images, you will need to send me all the information that needs to go on the cover (and back cover and spine, if applicable). At this point, I will then mock up two or three cover visuals for you to choose from.
4) FINAL COVER DESIGN
Based on your feedback, I then tweak your favourite visual and then proceed to the final book design (example below) of the front and back covers and spine (assuming a book that is going to be printed – obviously not necessary for just an e-book unless you’d like additional marketing materials).
5) INTERIOR DESIGN/LAYOUT
This follows a similar procedure. Let me know if you have any preferences for the kind of interior design you prefer – plain or more elaborate, modern, traditional and so on. Obviously, the style should match your subject matter, and non-fiction books require a different approach to fiction. Of course, you must also let me know whether there will be illustrations, diagrams, tables and so on involved, which can increase the workload significantly. *Please note that interior book design/formatting is always costed following a discussion about the type of style and content – I never give an ‘off-the-cuff’ price prior to discussion, other than to say a plain text interior layout starts at a minimum of £100, then from £5 per 1,000 words for dual formatting (i.e. for print and ebook) for simple, text-only layouts, and up to £10 per page or more for complex layouts containing images, fancy typography and so on. A clear brief is, therefore, essential! (E-book interiors require the text to be formatted completely differently to a printed book, using different software, often including interactive links).
I freely admit that you will find cheaper alternatives out there, especially for simple layouts – I specialise in more interesting and challenging formatting (I have a background in magazine design, corporate and tourism publications and book formatting for military history publishers), and have no wish to compete at the cheaper end of the market. If you’re on a budget and use a Mac, I thoroughly recommend you get yourself a copy of Vellum, which now enables you to produce elegant ebook and print interior layouts. If you’re on a PC, there are lots of tutorials available for Microsoft Word formatting.
6) PREPARATION FOR PRINT
Then I will need your final page count and the name of the publisher/printer, if you have not provided that already, so that I can use their spine width calculator to set the print file to their specific requirements (which means I also need to know the paper being used and so on).
7) FINAL ARTWORK FOR BOOK DESIGN
I can supply print-ready PDF files for your printer and a file at the suitable size for ebook upload, plus smaller JPEGs for publicity use online etc.
8) E-BOOK ONLY
If you want a cover image for ebook only, we can skip the stages of spine and back cover requirements and there will be a discount. E-book interiors, however, require the text to be formatted completely differently to a printed book, using different software, often including interactive links, so no discount applies.
9) COVER DESIGN COSTS
My usual fee is £380 for the design of a paperback+ebook cover (or £320 for an ebook-only cover, as there’s slightly less work involved), plus the cost of any images that we need to buy (some images can be sourced for free, but others – usually better quality – are charged at around £5 to £50 each, depending on the photo library and the size required). I won’t buy any images until you’ve approved the front cover because up to this point, we can use placeholder images. Please note that these ‘mock-up’ versions of the images which are at lower resolution and may have copyright/watermark symbols on them. As mentioned above, depending on what you require, it may be that we should commission original illustration or photography (please ask for a separate quotation as this can be a much more costly process depending on what is required).
10) SERIES DISCOUNT
If you’re writing a series where the books need to be similar in style, the first book is priced as above, then subsequent books in that series will be at the reduced price of £280/£220 (i.e. discounted by £100).
11) ALLi DISCOUNT FOR BOOK DESIGN
Members of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) qualify for a 20% discount on all these prices. Please let me have your membership details on application.
I work on a fee structure of 50% payment up front either by bank transfer, cheque, PayPal or credit card (which will be processed by PayPal) and then the balance once you’re happy with the completed design. I upload the print-ready files (or send them to you, whichever is preferred) immediately after payment. This usually works for everyone.
13) ORIGINAL WORKING FILES
If you wish to purchase the original, layered Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign files I have created in the project, then a standard fee of £100 per file will apply, as you are buying the right to alter my work. In case of doubt, please refer to the UK Copyright Service Fact Sheet point 5, available online at https://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p01_uk_copyright_law
“Normally the individual or collective who authored the work will exclusively own the work and is referred to as the ‘first owner of copyright’ under the 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. However, if a work is produced as part of employment then the first owner will normally be the company that is the employer of the individual who created the work.
Freelance or commissioned work will usually belong to the author of the work, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, (i.e. in a contract for service).
Just like any other asset, copyright may be transferred or sold by the copyright owner to another party.”
14) CONTACT DETAILS
If you’re happy with this, we can go forward. Obviously, I will need your full contact details including street address for correspondence. If necessary, at the appropriate time, I’m happy to have a chat via Skype or a phone call to ensure clear communication.
15) TIMESCALE FOR BOOK DESIGN
A book design project is rather like a tennis rally: the time taken depends on how quickly you hit the ball back across the net! However, from start to finish, most projects are finished within 3-4 weeks, often much sooner, and of course, you will be kept abreast of timescales at every stage. An average is about two weeks. (And to be honest, such a broad brief usually makes it more, not less difficult.) Realistically, allow about five working days for a cover. The design of a book interior might obviously take longer, depending on the level of styling you require, and there should always be time allowed for accurate proofing. There may also be many images involved, which I work hard to ensure will be reproduced at the highest possible quality.
I will always make you aware of any potential delays in the process and anything that might affect the final cost of the project.
If you have any questions, please just ask.