7 Questions With Book Cover Designer James M. Knight
James M. Knight can offer a range of design styles. Throughout his life as an artist and designer he has always liked to experiment with different styles, a fair few of which you can see on his website.
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What types of design do you offer and how can an author benefit from your skills?
I have a strong belief in not confining myself to one design, or illustration style – I would find that quite ‘limiting’ (a bit like tying one hand behind your back whilst trying to play a saxophone). The best thing for any author to say to me is ‘I quite like this style – can you help?’ or, I’m more than happy with ‘I have no idea what my cover should look like – help!’
It might also be the case that you know you want a certain object on your cover, but you don’t know how, where, what colour. I would always want my clients to talk to me about their book and what they ‘feel’ about it, and then I can go from there.
As well as book cover design I’m also able to offer in book illustrations.
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your journey as a graphic designer?
Don’t be afraid! It has taken me a long time to pluck up the courage to get on and do this! I am an author as well now and I am so happy that I am taking the plunge. Yes, it takes a while to get your name out there. It’s hard as the industry of both graphic design and authors is saturated. I woke up one day though and just thought – do it! It’s time. Now I just want to create, create, create!
How do you manage to juggle life and design?
This is an interesting question for me at the moment. Recently I adopted my 4 year old son. He is a lovely little boy and I love having him in my life but (and I’m sure all the parent s out their can sympathise) it’s really hard to juggle. If he has a good day it makes it so easy to juggle. If he has a bad day – my goodness! That’s when the caffeine induced evenings come in.
That said I have dedicated work time when he is at school and a super supportive extended family who love him to pieces. Spending time with my partner, son (and dog) are really important and it has taken some time to find the balance, but we are there and it works! I love my creative work – design and writing – and I would not have it any other way.
Once I agree a deadline with a client – I will stick to it!
What dictates the price of book cover design?
It depends how long it takes more than anything. A cover made up of stock images is quite quick to do, so they become cheaper. Original artwork is longer, generally. I don’t think I would charge as much as most – I hate ripping people off! I’ve looked at the prices out there and the cover that was produced and sometimes think – was that fair?
I build my daily life on fairness and honesty; I can’t stand dishonesty and I want to help authors. I’m one too and it is so hard to get sales, so you don’t need a designer ripping you off as well.
How many services can you offer authors and how do they differ?
I can do original artwork covers and stock image covers, this includes the spine and back cover for paperbacks. Also, I am able to create box set images as well. I can also do illustrations within books; I’ve even published my own children’s book – the first of 4 in a series.
Do you also recommend the authors you have worked with on social media or your website?
Definitely! This is a tough industry and part of any work I do for you would be to put the finished work on my social media and website, with a link to either your sales page, website or social media. This is a tough industry and we need to stick together. Advertising is really expensive so anything that gets us a bit of free promotion is really important.
How long does it normally take to deliver a finished book cover design?
This depends on 2 pretty important factors: how much work I have on and what you want me to produce. For example; I may have 1 or 2 book covers to do and all you want is an ebook cover, so that would be quicker than if all 3 clients wanted the paperback cover.
A general rule of thumb is about 2 weeks, but I’d be able to tell you how long I would take if and when you contacted me about your specific job. I’d hate to say one thing here and then something different when you contacted me.
Find James M. Knight on his website: www.jm-knight.co.uk
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