When should you get a cover?
I have a business mindset, so my answers will lean to the practical.
If you’re digital only, then you can technically get a cover at any stage. A digital cover doesn’t need to fit your printed manuscript. There isn’t any sizing. Most designers will present you with a .jpg file of 1600 x 2400 and if you ever wish to print it on say bookmarkers it should be 300 DPI.
So, make sure your file meets specifications of your chosen venues such as Amazon. If you wish to print the image on promotional items that you make, the image should be 300 DPI. If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you won’t ever need to print the image, 72 DPI is okay and suitable for the web.
Cost for ebook cover only can range from as little to a $25.00 pre-made cover to $300.00 custom cover. Most designers supply the finished cover, but others will only supply the image and you must add the text. Or they require you to purchase their typography services for an additional fee. Read over their pricing and ask if you are not sure.
If you’re going to print your manuscript using POD services such as Create Space or your publisher will be printing, the most ideal time to start pursuing a cover is after your edits. You will need to supply your designer either the book size and number of pages or a template in order for it to fit your book.
New writers especially are excited and eager to dive into the more fun or exciting parts of their process. I don’t advise getting a cover before you’re almost ready to publish. I’ve seen writers never finish the story, seen them change their minds about the cover design, and I’ve seen them change elements during the editing process which made the cover they purchased no longer relevant.
You’re wasting your money. After you have experience, maybe then it would be practical to purchase a cover earlier in the process.
A designer can make a print cover ahead of time, but s/he will be doing extra work on the back end to make the cover fit your specific manuscript. S/he may charge you more for the extra work.
Print covers may cost additional to the ebook. The price again can range from as low as $25.00 for pre-mades to $300.00 (or more) for custom covers. Print covers are sized to fit your manuscript and typically at least come in .jpg or PDF formats (if not both). This image most definitely should be 300 DPI.
- Expect to pay $25.00 up to around $300.00 for covers.
- In my opinion and from experience working with writers, it is usually best to wait until you’re done with edits before pursuing a cover. Spend your money wisely.
- Know what DPI (dots per inch) your image comes in, so you’ll know if it is print quality.
- Check out your venues and make note of their specifications so you can be sure your cover will meet the requirements.
All my covers start at $100.00. Both pre-mades and custom covers. I use premium stock from www.vikkaszone.com for my pre-mades which means you are less likely to see similar covers. Also, I put as many hours into pre-mades as I do my custom covers. If the client is getting the print version, then there is that work on the back end to ensure it fits the finished manuscript.
Keep an eye out, more covers for writers info and tips will be coming! Or if you have any topics or questions, feel free to contact me.