In both visual art and writing, some things just turn out better than others. When hiring an artist to do a book cover, you can get any range of quality and can be either disappointed or extremely pleased with the results. After working as a professional artist for the past 6 years and having designed over 300 book covers, I have learned a bit about what kind of clients, emails, and descriptions get the best work out of me. I can’t say what works for all artists, but there are certain things that clients can do to get my best work. Here is a list of 6 things you can do to get the best work out of your designer!

Be excited about your own book.

Pride in your work is highly contagious and when my clients are excited about what they are doing, it makes me want to do my best for them. It becomes more than just a job when you show love for your own work. As an artist, I completely understand it and it becomes a joy to work with you!

Be open.

A lot of authors believe that the cover artwork needs to be 100% faithful to the book. While it is really exciting to see a scene you wrote depicted precisely on the cover, most of your readers don’t care or won’t notice. The purpose of the cover is first and foremost to draw potential readers to your book. On Amazon, this becomes difficult because the cover is displayed as a tiny image on most pages. Bogging down your artist with too many specifics from the story will distract them from making an interesting and attention-grabbing composition.

Talk about the ‘feel’ of the book. 

Instead of specific details, get the mood of the book across to the artist. We are making a visual representation of the book, and the best way to do so isn’t using details but feelings. Use lots of adjectives describing the book. Words like dark, bright, ominous, dreary, creepy, evil, happy, mystical, etc. Are a great way of getting the point across.

Build a relationship.

I like to talk to my clients whenever possible via Skype or phone calls, especially for the initial introduction. This might just be me since a lot of artists (and writers) are very shy, but I have found that it is great to get to know my clients and it makes me feel part of the project. It is also a great way to explain your book to the artist in a way that an email does not.

Be Positive when possible

Even though we may be professional artists, we are still artists. If you don’t like the piece, you certainly need to say so but if you mostly like the piece and just want a few changes, make sure to say so.

When making changes, make sure they are right.

Most artists put a lot of thought into the work. Before asking for a change, it might be good to ask why the artist made the decision they did. Remember that although you have many changes you might want, you may not always be correct. Too many alterations can turn a great piece of art into an average one.