Freelance book cover design

I originally started writing books and creating art to enable me to quit my day job. I have always wanted to be able to travel wherever I want, whenever I want. That's impossible if you have to turn up to work every day at nine. Instead I have always wanted to be able to work from my laptop, which can go anywhere in the world with me, rather than some physical location chosen by my employer.

With this goal in mind, I have - over a period of several years - taught myself all the skills necessary to publish my own books, including being able to create book covers. I’ve learned how to compose the art, what elements work and what elements don’t, and how different rules apply to different genres. I have also learned a number of different software suites, such as GIMP, Blender, and many others. My covers have gotten better and better until it seems to me that they are approaching a professional standard.

One of My Covers

Read Death Sense:

The cities are first to fall, huge urban centers like San Francisco descending into chaos in just a few days. As each of the last bastions of society crumble, people must more and more confront the possibility that they – and other small groups in the hinterlands around the globe – are the last humans in the world. Death Sense is a novel about the constant battle against the end of the world brought on a tide of zombies, but there is also space for human relationships. People who would never otherwise meet are forced together, and their feelings are felt intensely, sometimes hate and sometimes love.

The book is also available at Kobo and at Smashwords.

Creating beautiful covers for books and ebooks is a marketable skill – I have suddenly realized – and so today I am bringing my skills to market. I am putting my design gifts out there, so that other people’s works of fiction can look as good as mine. Not to at least try to make this work would be like ignoring a potential source of income that might get me a little closer to the magical moment when all I need to make a living is my laptop.

The only thing I can't do is take photos, but my collaborator, Barbara Stanzl, is a photographer. You can see her work at KookyPhotography.  

The first step in becoming a freelance book cover designer is trying to work out where exactly the market is where people with these skills are hired. According to my preliminary research there are numerous sites where freelancers offer their skills to prospective customers. Just to name a few, these sites include:
99 Designs
Envato Studio

I never do anything by half, so I immediately resolved to join every last one of these sites, and whichever other ones I came across. From my research, it seemed like Upwork was among the market leaders, so I started with them.

 They say that admission to their site is competitive, as there are limited spaces for freelancers on Upwork. They advise to take your time to complete the profile information. After you submit your application, they say they notify you of their decision within 24 hours. But I was accepted instantly on submitting my information. Then, the first thing I saw was a warning that bidding for a job costs $0.15. There was also no way that I could see to upload a portfolio, so I moved on, very unimpressed.

Next I went to Fiverr, another supposed market leader in the freelancing sector. Fiverr was more involved, but at least it makes you upload a portfolio as standard.

Next was Freelancer, which asked me if I intend to use Freelancer for personal use. Using Freelancer for cases other than business may be subject to additional VAT. I was a little confused by this, and I couldn’t find any book cover projects posted, so I moved on.

Peopleperhour came next, and the sign up started out easily. You add a portfolio as one of the first stages, which is great.Unfortunately, you don't immediately get the okay to join the site, which makes this one the worst of the four sites I tried today based on first impressions.

So far, it has all been a little dispiriting and technical, but I'm sure I'll warm to this process if anyone approaches me to hire me. There are also many more sites to try, and I might yet find one that excites me more than the four bland ones I joined today. Hopefully, eventually, all I will have to do is sit back and wait for the jobs designing other people’s covers to start rolling in.

To end, just a reminder that the best way to support this blog is to buy one of my books. Simply go over to Amazon, or Kobo and get one.