This is the first time I went through the process of getting a book cover done for my book and wanted to share a little bit of what I learned. As you can see from the image above that we started in one place and ended in another. Below are three points that I came across as we went from First to Final.
The Manuscript should be Finished
This isn’t a must but it will sure help when verifying if the side cover is the right length. You will be able to immediately upload it to whatever company you are using to publish, assuming you are self-publishing. Once you upload you can get an author’s copy to view the results. This time around we had to wait a month and a few days until the final edits were complete in order to test the cover.
Having the manuscript fully complete and edited isn’t a must but it will speed up the process.
Have a clear vision
You will work with the designer, it will be a collaborative effort. But if you already have a clear vision on what you want it will again help speed up the process. You might want to have some designs done already for any story-specific images like creatures, characters, objects like ships, crests, castles. Having these designs done upfront will allow your cover designer to incorporate them into the design. Always give the designer the most information, give them lines from the book if it will help show them what a character, creature, the scene should look like.
Be Open and Communicate
This is collaborative, so be open to input. Be open to changes. Let the cover artist do his or her job. They usually know more than us in terms of the design so let them give their expert advice. So with the first book cover, there were elements that I liked (the background behind the knight character) and elements that I didn’t (the solid block of gold at the top). This was also the point that I had to describe elements of the book, like the looks of the main character, the armor description, and so on. This was also the point I learned that there aren’t a lot of images of men or teenagers of color in fantasy/medieval settings. This proved difficult for the cover as the main character as dark skin. But fear not, my designer was able to come up with a cover that was great! So be open, trust your cover artist, and communicate!