7 Questions With Book Cover Designer And Author Christa Yelich-Koth
Christa Yelich-Koth is the owner of CC Covers, a small cover design team intent on producing striking customized cover art created to make your book stand out. With personal communication, ease of access, and a quick turnaround time, CC Covers wants to make sure you have the best possible experience during the creative process involving the cover of your book.
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What mistakes do authors make when approaching you and what advice do you have for them in that sense?
The most common mistake I’ve found is when an author approaches CC Covers with an already preconceived notion of what they want for their cover, without thought of its fit for their book. Often they only think about what will represent the story, but the cover also needs to convey the correct genre, tone, and/or color scheme to match what it’s selling.
Though authors are encouraged to share their ideas, flexibility makes the process easier and more productive. For example, during the editing process, the author already has their story written. However, another perspective, that of the editor, could ultimately clarify, enhance, or illuminate facets of the story the author was unaware of. Similarly with cover art; the best cover artists help the author give readers an immediate feel for what their book is about in the simplest, easiest, most striking and beautiful way. That’s what I strive to do for each client.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”… but we all do. What are some attributes of an attractive cover?
Several attributes come to mind when producing a cover to attract a reader’s attention:
1) Contrasting colors
Many book covers have either muddled or a great many colors because they want to portray too much in a cover image. Because readers now-a-days spend such a very short amount of time viewing each cover, the art needs to stand out and make a bold statement. Contrasting colors can help to make the title and/or image grab someone’s attention, enticing a potential reader to stop for an extra second in order to take another look.
2) A single striking image and title
Often authors want to put everything on their cover in words because they are writers, and words are a comfortable medium for them. However, to quickly capture a reader’s attention, a few short, easy to understand words, along with a central image that conveys a basic concept are best. The reader’s imagination is invoked with very little work on their part. And the less work your audience has to complete to click on or pick up your book, the better chance they will do just that.
3) Professionalism (i.e. smooth transitions, artfully blended images and backgrounds, etc.)
While many books have interesting ideas or titles on their covers, readers may be reluctant to buy them because the images themselves don’t look clean, skillfully smoothed out, or professionally crafted. Oftentimes photos pasted on top of each other, fonts that don’t have a proper finish, and poorly blended backgrounds lend an air of amateurishness to the book. And it still rings true that if a cover looks unprofessional, the reader will most likely believe the writing isn’t up to par either.
How long does it normally take to deliver a finished book cover design?
Generally, the turnaround at CC Covers, is 2-3 weeks from the day we begin work on your cover. We start by sending a quick question sheet to learn a bit about your book, the characters, basic plot, any focal points inside the book, and then expand on those to create two mockups for you to choose from.
After the most desirable mockup is chosen, we spend the rest of the time finalizing details with the author and communicating back and forth until the final product is exactly what the book needs and the author loves.
What’s an approximate price authors would pay upon hiring your service?
Front cover (for ebooks only) runs $350. Full cover (front and back for print) runs $500. Extra special items or custom covers are an additional $100-$400 dollars. This can include things like custom art, adding specialty elements, or piecing together multiple photos to get a specific look. Price is discussed and explained to the client at time of hire.
Are there cover design trends depending on genre? Do shed a light for authors to knock on your door fully prepared?
Definitely. For example:
1) YA novels in fantasy and sci-fi (especially if they have romance) often have images of a teenager on the cover, either with wistful looks or in a more active vein, such as using a magical or supernatural power.
2) Sci-fi will have more space-related images, such as planets, starry skies, aliens, space ships, technological entities, etc.
3) Fantasy utilizes more magic or surrealism, from central images like castles, air ships, and dungeons to glittery surroundings, fairies, monsters, elves, etc.
4) Horror/mystery/thriller will be darker or starker with symbols of death. Often you’ll see a lot of very contrasting light and dark colors, splatters of blood, creepy creatures, and even creepier places, like haunted houses, graveyards, and morgues.
5) Romance will have either couples on the cover or softer images, like flowers, beaches, flowing clothing, wind, etc.
CC Covers makes it a point to incorporate what’s happening inside the book onto its cover while avoiding too many cliché options. At the same time we do stay updated on trends so that the books remain competitive in the market.
How does a designer look for clients?
We’ve worked very hard to build a professional portfolio and have found our clients often refer others to us. This is how we’ve encountered most of our clients, though we’ve also met other interested parties through conventions, conferences, and workshops.
What details should a new author offer you upon requesting a book cover design? Can you share more details to help new authors prepare for this experience?
CC Covers sends a form for a new author to fill out in order to discover basic information about their book, as well as to learn about their own ideas for the cover. We then apply those answers to the creative process in order to fashion the best type of cover image possible. We offer two mockups, and the author chooses their favorite, after which we continue to collaborate with the author to polish and refine it.
To prepare for this, think about several basic features appropriate to your book: genre, age range of the audience, central idea for the plot, personalities of main characters, and overall tone of the story. Do some research on other books in your category and get an idea of covers you like.
Also, be willing and open to listen to what we have to say. There may be a specific reason why we don’t want to put a 16-word subtitle on your book or have yellow and orange flowers scattered randomly on the front. An element of trust in your designer is important. Our suggestions are intended to help you have the most striking and eye-catching cover possible in order to help you sell your book. Ultimately, we have your best interests at heart.
Find Christa Yelich-Koth here
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