10 Questions for my novel Cover Designer Crystal Roznik

1. Why do you think I need a great cover? I wrote a great book. Isn’t that enough?

A great book cover can convince people to spend money on you and your story. A great cover is the 1st and sometimes only chance that a person has to see inside your novel, especially with e-books. You want readers to understand your story and your genre as quickly as possible. A person browsing through e-books will spend something like 3 – 8 seconds looking at the cover before moving on.  A great conceptual book cover will make people linger a while longer, reading your description, the reviews of your book, and then clicking ‘BUY NOW’.

2. Could you show us some of your work?
Sure, I’ve designed both of Benjamin Wallace’s novels, plus working on his 3rd full length novel. In the meantime setting up a “look & feel” so that these books can become a series.

All the work I’ve done for Ben and just a smidgeon of the other work I’ve done in my career is at crystalroznik.com

3. Since you’re not doing these designs in crayon and macaroni, I’m guessing you’ve got a background in art and/or design. Could you tell us about your background?
I personally have been designing long before college, with crayons and macaroni, and my mom loved it. But I do have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communication Design from the University of North Texas (fancy). Communication Design is a broad term for everything graphic design, advertising, web design, art direction & publication design. I’ve been out of college and been designing professionally without macaroni for 4 years. I’ve designed in big agencies (yes kinda like Mad Men) everything from multi-page websites to holiday cards, company logos to packaging, and Olympic novelty pins to “Can you photoshop the boss’s head onto a llama?”.

4. How do you work with an author to create a book cover concept? Do you read the book?
Some clients already have a “vision”, which CAN help if they explain it so that I can see the “vision” too. Others don’t know what they are looking for so I’ve set up 10 simple questions to help all kinds of authors realize what they want and/or how to explain it to me so that I can make awesomeness.

I usually like to give the author 3 main options with several different color options (the colors let you see how this can work in a series if need be).
And no I don’t read your book. Sorry. I can read, but the stuff I read falls under 3 categories; blogs, cereal boxes & “101 Crochet Patterns” (and I still don’t finish them). One of the questions I ask is to give me a synopsis of your book. I do WANT to know what your book is about and what makes it unique.

Yes, I will buy your book. It’s my way of giving you a discount and boosting your rankings.

5. Let’s pretend I’m an author, what kind of information could I give you that would help lead to a great cover?
In my “10 questions for the Author” Questionnaire I ask 3 questions (besides the synopsis) that help me visualize your cover, and what you are expecting. I’m not going to use everything you say, but I will take the info you have provided and narrow in on what you are looking for.

• What are some other book covers you like in that genre/category? Other author’s books that you admire?

• Specific imagery from the book. (Are there islands, monkeys, mermaids, boats, bombs, vampires, dude with a cool scar, a robot with a creepy mustache, etc.)

• How do you picture the cover? Is there anything specific that you want on the cover? Do you already have a “vision”? Do you have any preconceived ideas?

6. Why couldn’t I just grab an image off the web and make my own cover? I’ve got PowerPoint on my computer, you know. I’m pretty handy in it. People at work love my pie charts and graphs. You should see the Q4 report I did last year. It had 94 builds!
Because it’s not your image. Grabbing an image off the web is dangerous, and you don’t know where it came from and you don’t know if that person will see it and get super-pissed, like that’s-copyrighted-gonna-sue-you pissed.

If you need an image, some covers don’t, they can come from several valid places like you (if you draw), stock imagery or me.

Also I don’t care how much of a PowerPoint blackbelt you are. You don’t want a pie chart for your cover, that’s boring, almost as boring as Q4 reports.

7. As an author, I’m curious, what kind of things could I ask for that would be unreasonable and completely annoy you?
• Using someone else’s image – I won’t use any image if I don’t know where it came from
• Wanting it tomorrow – I can do tomorrow, but it’ll cost you your full cooperation and a lot of money.
• Asking me to use one of these overused ugly ass fonts (copperplate, comic sans, hobo, impact, papyrus, curlz, & times new roman). There are many other overused fonts, but those are less annoying for a designer. Designers have thousands of fonts at our disposal, another reason to use a professional.

8. Let’s talk money. How much are we talking here?
$200 -$300 plus the price of images (if needed). This includes:
•    1st round is type. How do you want your name/title to look? (this is all black type on white background)
•    2nd round is your first look at the 3 options.
•    Rounds 3 and 4 are me and you finessing the cover together.
•    Then you get full resolution covers
•    The whole process takes roughly 2 weeks

9. Why shouldn’t I just get one of those crappy, pre-designed covers that are so cheap? Hint: The correct answer here involves some form of the phrase, because they’re crappy.
You want to stand out from the rest of the books on the digital shelf. You want your cover to tell your story not a cheap boring pre-designed story. And because they’re crappy.

10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
French fries and a chocolate shake.

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