Frequently Asked Questions:
- What services do you offer? Pre-Made and Custom cover designs along with further marketing artwork such as Facebook banners, bookmark layouts and business card designs. If you’re looking for something particular, don’t hesitate to ask me!
- Do you make Custom Covers? Yes. For more details, please visit the Custom Cover page and the How it Works page.
- Is there a quality difference between Pre-Made and Custom Covers? No. None at all. The same dimensions are used for a pre-made cover and a 6×9 custom cover.
- Do you print books? No. We offer a design service only.
- How do we get started? (And what happens after that?) First step: Click on through to the How it Works page. That’ll give you a general over-view of the entire design process, which is a bit like a road map for what happens next!
Pre-Made Cover Questions:
- How do I know which ones are pre-made? Fastest way: click here, choose a category and have fun! But if you saw a cover that you’re already interested in, new pre-made designs are clearly labelled with a bar at the bottom. Some of the older ones do not have the bar (sorry!), but there is always a) a PayPal button at the bottom of the page if its for sale and b) the text “Author Name” in the artwork, signifying that it hasn’t yet found its story.
- Am I the only one that will have the pre-made cover that I purchased? Or do you sell them again? My Pre-made designs are sold exclusively to one customer. I never re-sell a design. However, I do rely often on stock photography, so there is a chance that another author or designer will use the same image with different effects, fonts, title, etc.
- Can I make changes to this pre-made? Sure, within reason. For more specifics about that, visit the Optional Revisions for Pre-Mades page.
- What if I haven’t decided on my title/pen name? Should I wait to buy the pre-made I like? Don’t wait! Just type “TBD” (or something similar) in the form and I’ll set it aside for you. Then, when you have your title and pen name details decided, contact me with that info and I’ll prepare your cover.
- I want a print cover, too, but I don’t have all the information, should I wait and order it later? Don’t wait! To get started with the print layout, I only need to know the trim size. (If it helps at all, the most popular sizes are 5.5×8.5”, 6×9” and 5×8”).
I know authors often want the ebook cover earlier than the print layout. So I’ve done my best to make the process simple and only require the trim size up front. Then we can update the other details (back cover copy, spine width, etc.) at a later date. Want to know more about that? Visit the print layout page.
- Can I order a Print Layout later? Absolutely. But if you don’t buy them as a bundle, there will be an additional fee. And please note, to proof the print layout design, I only need to know the trim size. So if you’re going to want to release a print version of your book, consider ordering them together as a bundle.
- Can I order a Banner later? Sure, but there may be an additional cost since it’s not part of the bundle ordered at the same time as the cover.
- I’m interested in a number of your premades for a series. Can we change the artwork so they are branded the same? This is possible at least 95% of the time (and I rounded down), but I don’t want to promise what I can’t deliver, so please go ahead and email me and let me know exactly which covers you’re interested in. Please keep in mind that certain revisions require an extra charge, though.
- I’d like to buy this pre-made, but this book is part of a series. Can we make a second/third/fourth/etc. cover that will match? Absolutely! In fact, I love getting to do this. The rest of the series will be created as Custom Covers and we will “extend” the pre-made cover into a series-wide design.
- If I buy the ebook cover only, I can convert it for a print layout myself, right? Well, um… I don’t know, can you? The ebook JPG and the print PDFs are designed together, but each meets different requirements (such as the printer’s guides). So, the only guarantee I give is that if you let me design the print cover, it will match your ebook cover and you won’t run into any print errors.
- I’ve changed my mind, can I swap the pre-made cover I already purchased for a different one? If the cover has been marked as “SOLD” on the site, then no.
- I just purchased premade “x”. The image is perfect for my story, but we’ll need to re-crop it, change the font, re-do all the colors and add some additional images to incorporate “y” and “z” elements of my story. Do you need any other information to get started on the art? Er… probably, but that’s really not the right question. The right questions are 1) Will these changes work with the art? and 2) What additional cost is necessary for these changes? Pre-mades are created as a unified design, purchased as a whole, including the layout, fonts and stock image. I do offer optional changes (see here for details) but those are an avenue for tweaking the cover. Taking a pre-made and completely re-creating the art is a different request entirely. If you want this level of customization, you will need to purchase a custom cover.
Custom Cover Questions:
- How do I get started on a custom cover design? Well, you contact me, of course! Go to this page and click the “Get Started” button. Also on the page is information about pricing as well as deposit invoices and other important details. The other key page to visit for your design is the How it Works page. There you’ll find a general over-view of the entire design process, which is a bit like a road map for what happens next.
- How early do I need to schedule for a custom design? Please notify me at least three to five weeks in advance. I can’t guarantee there will be an open slot in my schedule within that timeframe, but I’ll try to fit you in! If you unexpectedly need artwork fast, I do offer rush orders for an additional fee.
- Can I order a Print Layout later? Absolutely. But if you don’t buy them together, there will be an additional fee. And please note, to get started with the print layout, I only need to know 1) the trim size and 2) what print company you’re using. So if you’re going to want to release a print version of your book, consider ordering them together as a bundle.
- Do you offer designs that don’t use stock photography? What about free-hand or digital illustration? The short answer is no, not really, especially if you’re looking for a free-hand illustration. For digital illustration, it depends a lot on what you’re interested in. I do rely on stock photography or vectors for the starting point of the artwork. Please feel free to email me a brief description of what you’ve envisioned for the cover and I can tell you if it falls within my skill set or not.
- I’d like to purchase an Economy Custom Cover, but where should I buy the stock from? Please feel free to purchase your image from any stock site. But if you’re looking for a place to start, I typically rely on Depositphotos or Shutterstock, though iStock is also a very popular option.
- Where do I look at stock for a Pro Custom Cover? Well, first, you don’t have to chose stock if you’re ordering a Pro Custom Cover. But if you’d like to, I maintain a subscription with Depositphotos. If you really want a stock photo from another stock site (iStock, CanStock, Fotolia, etc.), then an additional fee will be added to your invoice to cover the price of the stock.
- This image is perfect, except x/y/z just needs to be Photoshopped. You can do that for me, right? The answer actually depends a lot on what “it” is. Do you want to change hair/clothing/eye color? We can probably do that, just send me the link to the image so I can take a look and give a definite answer.
For more extensive changes, I’ll need to see the image and details on what changes you’d like before I can give any kind of guess. Typically extensive changes will require at least one upgrade to a PRO cover, so please expect additional cost as well.
- Can I change my title? This depends heavily on where we are in the process and how different the new title is. If we’re still at least 5 business days before your scheduled week, just email me ASAP. On the other hand, if we’re in the middle of the project, or we’ve already finalized the files, then it’s best to simply send me an email with the details. At that point, I’ll evaluate the change and send you a quote and time-frame.
- Can I change my pen name on a project that we’ve already completed? Probably. Please go ahead and email me the details and I’ll give you a quote.
- It’s Monday, why haven’t I received my proof yet? There might be a few reasons, actually. First, I am working in Eastern Standard Time, so if you’re an international customer, my Monday afternoon may be off by several hours (or even an entire day). Second, proofs are typically sent out in the afternoon, so if it’s still early in the day, please be patient, I’m probably working on it right now. Finally, if you don’t receive your proof by Monday evening, (after normal 8-5 working hours, EST), please check-in with me. Occasionally emails do get lost in cyberspace.
- We’re working on a custom cover and I plan to be out of town during the week we’ve scheduled. Will this be a problem? Unfortunately, it probably will be a problem. Please tell me as soon as possible if you are planning to be gone, particularly if your plans change unexpectedly. If you’ll only be gone on the Monday or Friday of that week, we may be able to work around that. However, I always want to be able to do my absolute best on your cover, so I strongly suggest that we agree on a week during which you will be available and able to focus on the art with me for the entire time.
- My scheduled week is over, can I still get more proofs? If your week is almost over, and you don’t think we’ll be finished by Friday, you can request a 3 business day extension. However, there are some important caveats. First, I only give extensions to those who have been diligently working with me throughout the week, so if it is Wednesday evening and you haven’t responded in any way to your first proof, don’t expect an extension. Second, I offer extensions as a means to help finalize your art. If you’re expecting brand new mockups and extensive revisions to a current version of the design, you’ll need to purchase an additional week (be warned: I may not have another opening for several weeks).
Print Layout Questions:
- Do you offer print layouts/paperback designs/full wraps for POD? Yes. Sure do. For more details, click over to this page.
- What size are the print layouts? I will format your cover to fit any common trim size offered at CreateSpace and LightningSource (IngramSpark). So just let me know your chosen trim size and I’ll go from there.
- Can I order the ebook design now and then a Print Layout later? Sure, we can do this. But it is more cost-effective to buy them together. To get started with the print layout, I only need to know 1) the trim size and 2) what print company you’re using. I can tweak some of the other details later and deliver the print file when you have all of the necessary info. So if you’re going to want to release a print version of your book, consider ordering them together as a bundle.
- How do I find the final page number for the spine size? When you upload your formatted Word file (or PDF, etc.) to your chosen printing company, they will confirm the final page count. This is the number that I’ll need for the spine size.
- What if my final page count needs to be changed? First, if the change is by +/- 10 pages, don’t worry. On templates, the spine sizes are set by 10 page increments, so a few pages difference doesn’t change the artwork.
On the other hand, if the page count is a significant jump, then it depends on where we are in the design process. If I have not yet sent the finalized print file, then email me the new page count ASAP. However, if I’ve already sent you the print-ready PDF, a spine size change will require an additional fee.
- Do you need the ISBN for my barcode? It depends on your chosen publishing company.
For CreateSpace: No. CreateSpace will print the barcode on the back of the book for you. Still, if you do want me to add the barcode to the back of your print layout, email me your ISBN and the price (if you want it included).For LightningSource/IngramSpark: Yes. I will need your ISBN to download the correct version of your template. There are a few other details that are LI/IS specific, so please take a look at the Print Layouts page to learn more.
- I got an error when I uploaded the CS print-PDF you sent me to LS/IS (or another printer). What happened? Each printer has their own templates and requirements for upload. A print template designed for one printer is NOT a universal file. If you’d like to use more than one printer, please let me know. At that point, we can discuss pricing and I’ll adapt your current print layout for upload to the other print company.
- I received a print-ready PDF from you and there’s extra white space on the top and edges. Is that what I upload to CreateSpace? If you’re looking at an older print file, then yes. These white edges are no longer part of CS’s templates, however, print-ready PDFs that have the extra white space are still accepted. Simply use the “Upload a Print-Ready PDF” option on their site as normal.
- Will you read over the back cover text and tell me what you think? I’m not an editor, so it’s best for your book if you have someone else look at it. I can share names & info of a few editors if you want a professional opinion. If there’s a suggested tweak based on design concerns (typically deleting or adding a paragraph break for visual reasons), I will let you know.
- Does the price include the native files/working files/Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. files? No. There are several reasons for this, including licensing restrictions on stock, fonts and other resources.
- Can I see X/Y/Z change? But I do like it as-is, so we can always change it back later, right? Well, it seems like a yes or no question, but in practice, it’s not. We can probably change it back later, but on the other hand, I tweak the rest of the design to work with each change. Which means it’s very rare that a change (even something like a font color) is just a simple mouse-click from one color to another.
- Will you read the manuscript before designing the cover? Nope. I want an overview of your story, because it lets me focus on the key elements when I design your cover. Plus… you do want to work on it sometime in the next few months, right? Because my reading stack is twice my height (and that’s in a good week).
- I’ve already designed my cover in another program (Powerpoint, Word, etc.) and I just need you to prepare it for upload to Kindle/CreateSpace/another company. How much will that cost? At minimum it will be the price of an Economy Custom Cover. Powerpoint, Word and similar programs (or online services) do not output high enough quality files for me to be able to produce a high-res JPG or print-ready PDF. Instead, I’ll need you to send me your design (and any stock images) and then I can re-create it, tweaking the artwork so it is ready for use.
- I’m trying to convert the cover you made me to X/Y/Z (3D book art, a banner, etc.), but it isn’t coming out right. Can you tell me what’s wrong? First, you did read the Terms of Service, right? The design that I made for your project was intended only for it’s stated purpose. I can not guarantee that any changes made to your art by a third-party will come out at high-quality since I’m not involved in that process. Apart from that, since I don’t know what you’re actually doing to the artwork to get X/Y/Z problem, then I can’t explain why it’s not working. However, I offer a wide variety of services to help promote your book, and would be happy to create X/Y/Z product for you.
- The link you sent to my artwork is giving me a 404 / “not found” error. What happened to my artwork? Unfortunately, I can not leave your artwork “live” for download indefinitely. So all links have to expire eventually. If this happens, please email me and let me know. Then be sure to save your artwork in a really safe place!
If you have more questions, please shoot me an email & let me know what they are. I’d love to hear from you.