Have you found yourself browsing your Twitter or Facebook feed when some random person pops up with a comment – I’m a professional cover art designer. I do your cover for $25, and they usually put a Fvvr link in there? My first thought is usually – Ooohhhhh Reaalllly. $25? Professional only means that at some point, the individual was paid to do a cover or some graphic for someone. It doesn’t mean that they have a degree in graphic design, nor does it mean that they have any advanced imaging software better than GIMP. They may have splurged and purchased a couple of advanced font packages, but at no point does that make them a good cover designer, and you could probably do what they’re going to do for free, which is slap an image in a 6 by 9 digital canvas and add some text. That takes five minutes to create. In fact, you’ll spend more time looking for the perfect background image than actually putting it together, so just go ahead and take your $25 and order a pizza or put a frozen pizza in the oven. By the time your pizza arrives or your timer dings, you’ll be done with your cover.
Reasons Why I Won’t Hire that Cheap Cover Designer
I’ve had to fix their work before. If I was ever on the fence about hiring that $25 cover art designer, the day I started getting requests to fix their covers was the end of that. I’ve had them come to me blurry. I’ve had them presented to me where the male model’s dick was showing. I’ve seen them with text that was too small or crammed into a corner, and I have to sit and dissect that image in order to fix those mistakes. That assumes that the author liked the image as a whole. Most times, I’m just going to put a new, similar cover together and hand it back. Do I charge for that? Yes, I charge for it, and it’s typically the same amount they just paid that ‘professional’ cover designer. That means that the author just paid $50 for a cover. That’s still a good price, but the added time needed to fix it probably wasn’t in their agenda. I charge $75 for an original cover, and I do not have a graphics design degree, which means I’m very upfront about what I do. I can only cut things out and create collages, but I’ve very good at it. If they need specific poses, the clothing changed and custom created items in that cover, they need to go hire the $100 to $300 professional graphic designer, who has the software to create custom people and objects, which brings me to the reasons I can’t hire those $25 hacks.
1. There Is No Avia
Avia is between 5’3” and 5’6” and between 85 and 95 pounds with flaming red hair. She does not exist. She is a red-headed waif. There are no models that look like her, and there shouldn’t be. If you find a model that looks like Avia, she needs to get to an eating disorder rehabiliation clinic ASAP! This means that all the images of Avia on my covers are comprised of multiple people, and there’s usually five or six images involved. Those images have to be precisely cut out and recolored for skin uniformity and red hair. Just creating the Avia image for each cover can take hours, and I usually work on it over multiple days. Let’s say each Avia takes me 10 hours. $25/10 = $2.50 an hour, and that’s just for Avia.
2. There’s No Such Thing as a Black and Maroon Piper Seneca
Most airplanes are white with a few decorative stripes. It’s rare to find one in a solid color, much less the very specific colors of red and black. The good news is that I can locate Seneca images all day long, but the first Seneca I created on the AVIA II cover took me two months. I didn’t work on it daily for two months, so we’ll take it took me 40 hours. $25/40 = .63 cents an hour, and that’s just for the airplane. If we add the Avia creation time into that, we have 50 hours. $25/50 = .50 cents an hour.
3. I Expect Better than What I’ve Already Done
This means that the cover designer can look at the covers I’ve already done to get an idea of what I like, but they will not receive my templates. I won’t be sending over the Seneca or any Avia images. Now, you might be thinking – That’s an asshole thing to do. It is, but there’s a reason. I expect my cover designer to be able to create images that are better than the ones I’ve already done. I don’t need my images slapped onto a new cover. I can do that. What I need are new images that are cleaner and more uniform. This means that the cover designer must start from scratch, and they really need that software that allows them to create custom people and objects. That $25 cover designer most likely doesn’t have that software, because if they did, they’d be charging a lot more.
So, no, I won’t be hiring that $25 cover designer because I really need the graphic designer that charges between $100 and $300 or more, and since I don’t have that kind of cash on hand, I can’t even hire that person. I would be a charity case for a professional graphic designer, and they deserve to be paid and paid well for their services. This means that I will continue to do my own covers. I know what I want, and I am very picky.
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