Book Cover Info & FAQs

I am currently unavailable for book design services.

Are books judged by their covers? Most definitely!  A striking, eye-catching cover is important to your book’s overall success. A good book cover design using graphics, interesting color combinations, fonts and effects that stand out will all contribute to an attractive cover that will grab the prospective customer’s attention. It will make them wonder what you book is about and move from the cover to your blurb or back cover copy, where your writing will pull them in. That’s why you should be selective when choosing your designer. A professionally designed cover can make a big difference in sales. It can create an author or series brand and encourage impulse buys. A cover can be simple or complex but it must evoke questions in the reader’s mind or create emotions when they look at it. Oftentimes, a simple cover is better. Take a look at some of the best sellers from the major publishing companies – the cover is simple but enticing. A well designed cover draws the reader in and the blurb (ebook) and back cover copy (print) is what sells it. A poorly designed cover looks unprofessional, amateurish and can turn off a reader before they even get to the book description. Many readers associate a poorly designed cover with bad writing. You might be the best writer in the world, but if the reader can’t get past the cover, they’ll never know what they’re missing! That’s why it’s important to hire a designer you can trust to portray your book in the best light, even if their ideas are different from your initial cover idea. In today’s marketplace a professionally designed cover has become essential if you want your book to be taken seriously by readers.

More For Your Money: Don’t let cost fool you. There are people putting up fly by night book cover design sites like crazy right now because they’re trying to cash in on the self-publishing craze. They’re even taking variations on the URL’s of established designers, which creates a lot of confusion in the marketplace (it happened to me with my old domain). I keep up with industry trends and right now you can find custom eBook covers for $5. Just remember this – you get what you pay for. You don’t want your cover to look cheap and unprofessional or something that is straight out of a design app that everyone uses. Is that really how you want to portray the book that you’ve spent months writing? If you put that much energy into your book, then pay for an outstanding cover to give your book the best opportunity it can have in a marketplace that is saturated with nearly 4 million newly published books every year.

Money spent on a quality book cover quickly pays for itself. The investment will be well worth it in the long run. I believe in getting the most bang for your buck so I offer a lot of options in my packages that other designers often charge for. I believe in doing a great job, offering amazing customer service and giving a lot at a reasonable price and often go beyond what is listed in each custom package. I know that some authors may balk at my prices due to the influx of cheap covers in the marketplace and that’s okay. My time has value and if an author doesn’t see that, then they probably shouldn’t work with me. That’s why you have to look at the quality of the covers, the experience of the designer, and what’s included in each package so you can compare apples to apples when you’re looking for a book cover designer. I offer many affordable options from professionally pre-designed book covers to a graduating price scale for custom covers based on the elements and time involved. If you compare my pricing with other businesses you’ll see that my prices are within the market prices and often lower than many other designers. I’ve made my prices as affordable as possible for the time I put into your eBook cover. Some companies use simple templates that are very plain for a cover while using readily available software to let you customize it. I customize your cover to your book based on your theme, characters, or non-fiction topic. But most importantly, I create your cover based on your vision of how you imagine your cover will look. I discuss your book with you, get to know your characters or topic and pick your brain so that I can create something that truly reflects your vision of your book’s cover. I ask your likes, your dislikes and will consider them when designing. I also will tell you if what you’re envisioning for your cover will work or if you’re trying to incorporate too many elements from your book into the cover.

You want the cover to look fantastic – not a busy mixture of images that, when reduced to thumbnails on retailer sites, look cluttered or difficult to read. I’ll guide you as much as I can and I feel it’s my responsibility as a designer to point out if something you want isn’t working and to tell you why it doesn’t work.  I go the extra mile because I’m also in your shoes. I do my own covers but if I were to hire a designer, I know exactly what I’d expect of them and that’s what I offer to you. When you self-publish, your book never goes out of print, so it’s worth every penny to make it outstanding from the start. I also offer professional editing services to make your book shine.

How to Purchase a Cover: If you see a pre-designed cover that you think fits your book, just click on the image from the main page to go to add to the individual cover’s page. You’ll need to complete the book info form on the right side of the individual cover page click submit and you’ll add it to the cart on the next page. For custom covers, click on the example image to go to the main page. The book info form is beneath the example cover picture and you can submit the form and add the cover to the cart from that page. You can also add any of the covers from the “Add to Cart” buttons on the lists of covers, but you’ll need to go to the individual pages to submit the forms.

Office Hours:

I work Monday – Friday. Because I’m also an author, I design custom eBook covers for other authors when I’m not under deadline for my own books. If you see that I’m “unavailable” for custom design work, that means that I’m working on my own projects. As soon as I’ve completed my project I will change the notice at the top of the page to “Available” again. I do add to my pre-designed stock regularly even if I’m not doing custom work. I don’t have specific hours during the week but work whenever I can be at the computer around kids schedules and caring for the horses (friend me on Facebook to see pics). However, I don’t work on the weekends because it’s reserved for my family.

Don’t Disappear: I work fast. Please don’t order and then not respond to my emails or disappear half-way through the project. It bother’s me when I’ve been paid to do a job and then am unable to complete that job because I don’t hear back from you. I also like to get the final product to you sooner rather than later. 🙂

Regarding Print Books: I am no longer offering print book packages due to the time involved and my own schedule. 

Get it before it’s gone: If you like a pre-designed cover I would highly recommend that you get it when you see it. Recently I’ve had several people who wanted covers that they’d seen on my site but were no longer there because they’d been sold. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything I could do to help them. I won’t duplicate a cover that’s already been sold because someone else liked it but didn’t buy it when it was available. That’s not fair to the author who did buy it.

HOLDS:  There are many times when an author buys a cover before their book is finished or before they’ve decided on a title. I have no problem holding a cover for someone for a reasonable amount of time. Recently, I realized that I’ve been holding some pre-designed covers for authors for three years. After writing to them several times with no response, I decided to change my policy on holding covers. I will hold them for three months. After that length of time, if the author has made no attempt to redeem the cover by having it customized with their title and name then I will put the cover for sale again. I will not give refunds on covers not redeemed within the three months. Not fair? Maybe not. But is it fair to me for authors to buy a cover, not redeem it and just leave me hanging, wondering what’s going on with the purchase? No, it’s not. It’s unprofessional, causes me unnecessary worry and stress, and my time is as valuable as yours. So the solution is this: if you’re not going to be able to customized the predesigned cover within three months, please don’t buy it. 🙂 Thanks for understanding my position on this.

Regarding images: Unlike some designers, I do not use free stock photos. I have paid for every stock photo that I use in custom covers and pre-designed cover designs. I purchased the images from  Many designers do not include the cost of graphics in the design price. I include them but I have to place a limit on them because I can’t keep my prices low if I have to pay $50 – $100 per picture. In the future, I may have to exclude the cost of the photos from the total design cost. We’ll see how it goes. Many of the stock photo companies allow unlimited usage of their royalty-free images up to 250,000 / 499,999 / unlimited copies. At some stock sites, if you would like to use the cover/images in unlimited quantities, an enhanced license will be required. I use because they don’t limit the number of sales. Book covers are included in their standard license and an extended license isn’t required. However, if you want me to use photos from you will need to buy the pictures and send them to me and you need to know that they limit usage to 499,999 copies for book covers. So if your sales go above that amount, you’ll need to purchase the extended license from them at that time for an additional fee set by I am also unable to give clients the original photos that I purchased for their covers due to the Terms of Service at the stock photo company websites. If you want to have the unaltered picture on your end, you would need to buy it and send it to me prior to my designing the cover. When you hire me as a designer, you’re hiring me to create a new design that includes your name and the title of your book on that design with photos that reflect the book’s subject matter. No refunds will be given just because you want me to give you the original photos when I will have to refuse that request.  

Exclusivity: All pre-designed and custom covers are uniquely my designs. I do use stock photos so I can’t guarantee that you’ll never see an element used in your cover on another book cover, however, you’ll never see the elements combined as I’ve designed them. This only applies to covers that include more than one element. If you choose to only have one stock image then you may see that image on someone else’s book. If you want to ensure that your cover is a complete original, then purchase a package that combines more than one photo or you can check with illustrators to purchase a one of a kind graphic instead of using stock images. These normally run in the hundreds of dollars and I can’t include them in my prices.

Cover Credits: I do request that I am given cover art credit and that the photographer of the images that I use is given copyright credit in the front matter of your ebook or print book. I will send you the copyright information to be used in the front matter of your book when I send the final files. I reserve the right to keep a copy of the final customized cover on my website in the portfolio section that showcases my designs and for marketing purposes. I will link to your website from your cover and any showcased interior pages if you provide me with your website url. If you have any questions about this, please email me.

Listing me as the Illustrator on retail websites: Please DO NOT list me as the illustrator when you put your book for sale on or any other retailer. I am the book cover designer, not the illustrator. When you do this it causes problems for me because now your books will show on MY author page, which is exclusively for books that I have written. In the past, I’ve asked authors to remove me as illustrator and they ignored me. In the future, if someone does this, I will report it to Amazon or other retailer to have the book removed. You can then relist it without me. Don’t cause problems for either of us by putting me in the listing for your book. The only thing I request is cover credit in the interior front matter of your manuscript, nothing else. Thank you for understanding about this.

Copyright: Melissa Alvarez and BookCovers.Us retains copyright to the final ebook or print cover design and has the right to use these designs in her marketing efforts to showcase the quality of her work. For covers, Melissa Alvarez nor the client/author owns copyright of  individual photographs or artwork included within the cover design. These individual elements remain copyrighted by the image’s creator, who is also normally given credit in the front matter of the author’s book. Melissa Alvarez nor BookCover.Us has any copyright to your written book.

Mock-up covers not chosen by clients: I reserve the right to sell any mock-up designs I’ve created for custom design packages as pre-designed ebook covers if they were not selected as the final cover file for a client’s book.

Purchasing pre-designed covers without text: I’ve had many people ask if I would sell them a pre-designed cover without the text on it.  I do not do this because then it is no longer my complete design.  I customize the cover for you with your book title and author name within the price of the cover even if it’s on sale.

Refunds: If you order a custom cover package from me and I haven’t started on your cover when you ask for the refund, then I’ll refund the full amount. If you order a custom cover package from me and I’ve already started working on your mock-up covers but haven’t gotten very far into the project, then I’ll retain 50% for the work I’ve already done and refund the rest. There are no other options for refunds. 

If I’ve spent hours and hours working on your project and you find fault with everything I send to you, then I will call and end to the project and retain 80% the total price for the time and energy that I’ve already put into your project and refund 20% back to you. I feel that my time has value and I’m not keen on working for free. 🙂 In the publishing industry no one likes a difficult author so if you’re coming into a cover design project with an attitude or inflated sense of entitlement, I’d rather not work with you and prefer that you don’t buy anything from my website.

No refunds will be given just because you want me to give you the original photos when I will have to refuse that request (see Regarding Images above).  I also reserve the right to refund clients if I have questions about the order and they never respond after multiple attempts on my part.

I do not give refunds on pre-designed covers so make sure you really want it before you buy it. If a pre-designed cover has been delivered with your author name and book title it is not refundable. You’ll already have the finished files and I can’t get them back and there’s nothing to stop you from using the cover if I refund you.

Pre-designed covers purchased but not used within a three month period will not be refunded and will be put back into the available cover stock after making every attempt to contact the author to get them to use the cover within the three-month time frame.  

Revisions: I will do 2 to 3 revisions on the Design Creative mockup that you choose based on the custom design package that you purchased. Predesigned covers are limited to 1 revision of the text only.

Miscellaneous: I do not start work on your project until it is paid in full. It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular client who has ordered multiple covers from me, a close friend, or even a relative. I’ve been burned too many times with promises of being paid which never happened or people changing their minds and then not paying me for time spend on their job. Thanks for understanding.

I no longer offer cover ideas unless a package has been purchased.

I currently do not offer formatting for ebook files nor do I plan to offer this service in the future. I suggest you check Mark’s List on Smashwords for a list of ebook formatters.

For all custom work: After you have purchased your package you will need to send me your cover ideas on the form during checkout so that I have a clear idea of what you envision and can create what you have in mind. The form also asks for a blurb about the book, and a description of characters that you want portrayed on the cover. If you’re providing me with images I’ll need all high resolution photos and text copy before starting work on your project. I do all custom design work in the order it is received to be fair to everyone. I also limit the number of projects I take on per month so that everyone gets their book covers back in a timely manner.

A website banner is 468 x 60 and includes elements of your book cover design, website and author name.

A publisher logo will help brand your publishing house or company in the mind of your customers. I develop the logo concept created specifically for your brand. One to three designs to choose from based on our discussions.

Are your pre-designed covers retired after being sold or do you sell more than one copy of each pre-designed covers? One cover for one book. If you buy a cover from me, that’s your cover for your book and it’s never re-sold to anyone else. I reserve the right to keep a copy of the final customized cover and sample interior pages on my website for design showcase purposes. I will link to your website from your cover or interior showcase samples.

I want to post the mock up covers you sent me online and let people vote on which one I should choose, can I do that? No, you can’t. Not only does it make me look unprofessional as the designer but it will violate the content license agreements of the companies where I purchase photos. Once your cover is finalized you can show the world!

Where do I buy my ISBN? R.R.Bowker 

Do you do consulting for self-publishers? I do offer consulting services when I have the time. I charge $49 per half hour to offer you guidance. The best thing to do is make a big list of questions and have a pen and some paper ready so that we can go through them when we talk.

Do you do other design work? Right now I’m focusing on ebook cover design but if you like my work and have something else in mind like brochures or bookmarks just email me and we’ll discuss it. I can design pretty much anything.

Can I make my own banner or bookmarks with a cover that I purchased from you? Once you purchase the product you may use it for advertising via banners, bookmarks etc.

What type of payments do you accept? PayPal. You can also pay by check or credit card through PayPal. All echecks must clear before I begin work on your cover or customize the predesigned cover you purchased. If you pay by echeck I will place a “reserved” notice on the cover while we’re waiting for the echeck to clear.


For Print Packages if they’re offered for sale: 

I don’t always offer the print packages for sale. I only offer them if I don’t have a lot of other obligations because they are very time consuming. If they are available, there will be a package offering on the prices page of my website.

The print packages DO NOT include editing. I do not offer editing services due to my contractual obligations and stipulations with the publishers of my books. It is very important that the manuscript if fully edited before you send it to me and it must have basic formatting. It should be single spaced and formatted as you want it to read. That means if you want words italicized or bolded, they should already be that way in the manuscript when you send to me. Please do not send a manuscript formatted for publisher submission (for example: publishers want the manuscript to be double spaced with words that should be in italics are underlined and bolded and/or words set off with asterisks). I need the manuscript print ready. Please make sure you’ve gone through your manuscript thoroughly or hired an editor prior to sending it to me because I do charge extra if I have to redo the file because you found editorial problems that you want to change after I’ve sent you the final formatted files. 

If the author changes their mind about the size of the book (we’ll discuss it before I start to find the size that will maximize your profits and if you pick 5 x 8 and then after I’ve completed the files then you decide you want a 6 x 9 or some other size) and I have to recreate both the interior and cover files, then they will have to pay for a whole new set of files at my regular pricing or quoted price because I will have to remake the files at this new size. Please be SURE of the size book you want before we start.

Additional Print Charges:

If I made an error I fix it at no charge. But if I’ve finished the work for your project and sent you the PDF for proofing and you find editorial errors that have nothing to do with my work, or if you change your mind about a design element that you previously approved, and you want me to redo the file there will be additional charges because you’re making me do the work more than once. I charge a flat rate of $100 per instance to redo work. Here’s a list of some examples of work that will cost you additional fees.

  • The author changed their mind about a design element that was previously approved. Cost is $100 per element.
  • The author finds editorial errors in the text of the manuscript that they didn’t catch prior to sending me the text. This one costs $100 per 20 errors.
  • The author finds editorial errors in the text of the back cover that they didn’t catch prior to sending me the text. Cost is $100 to correct.
  • The author decides they want other changes not requested prior to the final files being made. Cost is $100 per change.
  • The author alters the final file and can’t fix it before submitting it to the printer but wants to keep this version because they made editorial changes in it. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what was done to the file.
  • The author sends me a previous version of the manuscript that contained errors instead of the final edited version. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what I have to do to fit the new manuscript into the formatted interior. If I have to redo the entire thing it will cost $359.
  • The author alters the final file again after I’ve fixed it for an additional charge and messes it up again. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what was done to the file.
  • If changes to the interior cause changes to the cover, then the cost to redo the cover is $559.

It is VERY important that you send me the FINAL EDITED VERSION of your manuscript and back cover copy before I start work so that you don’t run into additional expenses because you’re making me redo the work more than once. I purposefully set these additional fees high. Authors need to understand that I sit at my desk for hours upon hours working on their interior file and cover and if I’m going to have to redo work that I’ve already spend hours on because of something the author didn’t do correctly, then I need to be compensated for my time. The time spent on redoing a project because the author didn’t do their part or because they changed their mind after getting the printed book is time I could have spent on someone else’s project or making more pre-designed covers. My time is limited as it is so I charge a lot if I have to redo work. That’s why we go through several stages in the design process.