My experience with the design company.
Normally, I design my book covers myself. But, I had seen millions of ads for a design company called Getcovers, and their covers were totally decent. So were their prices, so I decided to go ahead and hire them for a cover for a novelette I plan to release on OBOOKO. Here is the finished cover. It took them two days to finish the order.
First thing, they had me hit a stock photo/illustration site to choose a central image. On the site, I made a vision board that had a bunch of pictures of glass bottles, terrariums, crystals, and the like. Then I grabbed my daughter, who is wise beyond her years, and asked her which of the pictures she thought was the most impressive. She did not choose this image, but she chose one by the same artist that was part of the same collection. I told her that this picture was my choice and she said this one was better because it was more purple and less orange. Normally, buying a license for an image like this goes from $1.50 - $20.00 depending on what your plan is. You can buy plans that let you download hundreds of files per month and then the price for a single image drops. However, I am not going to use hundreds of files in a month. Using the sort of plans I usually buy, an image like this one would cost approximately $13.00.
Then I sent the designer this image with a note attached as to what sort of thing I wanted. My description was that I wanted the title in black flourishing text with the image in the middle and my name on the bottom. I wanted a gold geometric border and possibly grey smudges in the background. It was going to be a hopeful romance. I wished them luck.
Let's cut it apart and talk about it.
If I bought a license for the geometric border, it would be part of a geometric bundle with a bunch of different shapes in it. It wouldn't matter that it came with a collection of other design assets, I would probably never have a use for the other shapes. The bundle would cost another $13.00.
There are three fonts. The one used for my author name and the subtitle would not have cost anything extra. Those fonts are free for everyone to use. However, the font used for the title is a little more complicated. This font effect could be achieved in two different ways. Either it's a cheap font that has had those flourishes added, or it's a font that just looks like that. If it's the font, no one gives that kind of font away for free. Free font letters don't get in each other's faces like that. Each letter keeps to itself. If I had to buy the fancy font (that I would only have been able to use once), that's another $13.00. If the flourishes are added, then they are part of a flourish pack that again costs me another $13.00. OR the graphic designer was a careful girl (they had a girl's name) who knows how to make up symmetrical swishes like this on the fly, then they may have been free.
If I was a betting girl, and maybe I am, my bet is that it is a cheap font that has stolen flourishes from a more expensive font pack they had on hand. I really like it. I certainly would never have thought to mash up a serif font with a flourish. One of the benefits of working with a company like this is that they can reuse certain design assets, so it costs them a lot less to produce something like this than it would cost me.
Lastly, I asked for grey smudges and they gave me pink. The pink is better. Those would have been free.
So, if I made this exact cover, it would have cost me $33.00 (approximately).
With taxes and everything, working with Getcovers, I got it for $13.00 (and change).
That is exceptional.
The most they probably had to shell out for use of the image was probably $1.40 and the rest of the stuff would have been assets they had lying around. Given the instructions I gave, it probably took the designer ten minutes to put this together. Maybe less. All the same, I really like it.
I'd hire them again.
As for the novelette, it's not ready yet. Later.
About the author
I write novels like I am part-printer, part book factory, and a little girl running away with a balloon. I'm here as an experiment and I'm unsure if this is a place where I can fit in. We'll see.