Professional book cover design

Posted by Simon Alison

What is the difference between professional book cover design and cheap gigs like Fiverr?

After working for such a long time in professional book cover design, I’m often surprised at how many authors will go cheap on covers. A book is a huge amount of work. So to risk it being poorly represented on the sales page, seems to be the worst decision you can make.  But with a number of very cheap cover designers out there, what’s the difference?


A professional cover designer owns a large library of fonts. These are bought in over the years, and the value of a professional cover designer’s font library runs to thousands of dollars. I personally own over five thousand fonts, bought at personal cost, so I have a vast bank to access when I need.

This is particularly important for book covers, because you’ll notice most bestsellers have very engaging and recognisable fonts. No matter how good your designer, you can’t get a good cover without a good font. Some are free, most are not. So using a bargain cover designer is akin to hiring a wedding photographer who turns up with his iPhone.


Professional software for designing is expensive. I pay subscription and software costs for a number of packages. This means my book covers are compiled properly for where they need to be displayed – whether this is print or online. Designing on cheap software might produce a cover that looks good in a browser, but comes out strangely in print, or vice versa.

See my blog on Choosing between CreateSpace and IngramSparks for more on print choices.

Image libraries

I pay subscription to several large image libraries and I know them inside out. This means I can offer my authors a very good range of images, for a fraction of the cost of a professional photo-shoot.

Twenty-years experience

People charging tiny sums for design services don’t stay around too long. They either go out of business, or start charging more, because they realise the tools and subscriptions needed to make professional book cover designs. It turns out, there is a price you can put on experience, and it isn’t $5.


"Simon understood my thriller book cover design brief, and gave me a cover which has increased sales."

Susanna Quinn

"I gave Simon a tough brief, and his design just took my breath away. This cover looks so much better than other Regency Romance out there. The understated corset on the front is just the right amount of provocative, whilst still being elegant and refined. Simon was a true professional from start to finish. His prices were excellent value, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him."

A. Broughton