So you've finished your novel and you have decided to publish it yourself. Well, to do that, you need a graphic artist (unless you are talented enough to do it yourself, and if you are - bravo!) For the rest of you, here's some help...
The first thing I want to say is that you don't just want to hire the first person who comes along. Here are my recommendations:
1. When you query a graphic/book cover artist, check out samples of their work and if they don't have any, request them. And here's why. Book covers can increase or decrease your sales so you want a cover that reflects the fantastic book you wrote.
2. One of the coolest things about self-publishing is that you are in control. Usually you don't even get a say with the cover of your book when it's being distributed by a publishing house so here's where you can get creative, and also - you can tell the artist that you like it, don't like, want this change and that change, etc. You CAN be picky, and you should. After all, this is your baby we're talking about, right!
For an idea of the process and how it works, let's use an example from my novel Black Diamond Death.
The first thing I did after choosing the person I wanted to design the cover was to tell her in a few sentences what the book was about and what I thought the cover should look like, and then I let her do her thing.
Here's the metamorphasis:
These were the first images that I got back, and I chose the first because I thought the background was lovely, and in my novel, it's a clear day when the skier is on the slopes and in the second and third photo, I thought it looked like she was caught in a tornado of some kind. I also didn't like the font or the colors, so I made some suggestions and actually sent her a few novels with fonts that I did like.
These next two were starting to look a lot more exciting to me. I liked the first one quite a bit, and I didn't like the second one at all - mostly because I thought it looked like he was in a cartoon. But, cool graphic. And then I decided, well - I didn't like the skier because my skier was a girl and this person looks like a dude.
So then, she sent me these two options for women skiers, and I loved the second one.
Now we had the new skier and the graphic artist was ready to make the final adjustments to the cover and add the tagline.
And I know I'm partial because it is my own book cover, but how amazing is my graphic artist? It doesn't get any better than this.