Wanted: A Book Cover Designer for “Tempo”

Update: the book is published, cover and all. Adam Hogan did the cover.

I am at that dangerous stage with my first book project, Tempo, where I am going around telling people the manuscript is “95% done,” but with the last 5% threatening to take 50% of the time by the time the it is actually done. But still, with cautious optimism, I can report that I really do think I’ll get the book out by November, as I’ve promised. Which brings me to the reason for this post: I need a cover design. If you are a book cover designer and want to take a shot at it, read on. If you are not, but happen to know good book cover designers, please help me out by emailing along a link to this post, reblogging it, and so forth. Designers with no book-cover experience, you can still bid, but I’ll probably favor people with experience unless they ALL price themselves out of my budget. All bids due by August 10, 2010

9 Simple Rules

  1. My maximum budget is $1000. And I’d rather spend MUCH less upfront. I intend this book to recover my cash investment and start making money as soon as possible.
  2. You can bid for the job by emailing me your bid with links to samples of your work. Do mention how you found out about this job. Read the rest of this list first though.
  3. MY WEIRD OFFER: You can choose to bid for some mix of a dollar amount under $1000, and a per-copy profit share up to $1 per copy, on copies sold in the first year, up to a maximum of 3000 copies. So if I sell 500 copies in Year 1, and you bid $500+$1/copy, you’ll make $1000. If it becomes a runaway hit,  you make a maximum of $3500.
  4. Calibration: I have approximately 500 people signed up for the book release announcement/beta lists already. And this blog has 2000+ RSS subscribers, growing steadily. You decide what that means.
  5. I would prefer bids from the United States to keep the logistics and communication simple, but will consider bids from other countries.
  6. If you have never done book design before, send links to samples of your most relevant work. Adjust your bid downwards accordingly
  7. This is just an informal, non-binding, request for quotes (RFQ). If I pick your bid, we’ll try to figure out a deal and a mutually acceptable creative brief. If we can’t, I’ll move on to my second choice. And so on.
  8. I know many readers of this blog are designers. If you choose to bid, please don’t be offended if I don’t end up picking you. I appreciate your loyalty to this site as a reader, but my priority is to get a great design.
  9. Even if you are a big fan of ribbonfarm, please don’t offer to do it for free (I’ve received such offers before, but I can’t accept free work when I make money myself)

So if you’re interested, please email me your bid (dollar amount plus profit-share proposal) and samples to your work. Mention how you found out about the job.

All bids due by August 10, 2010.

If I don’t get enough good bids through this post, I’ll end up looking at the normal channels.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Not intending criticism too harshly, but if the publishers said “sorry, we won’t publish you unless you’ve already got a body of published work”, you’d have a hell of a time getting published. So why not judge the work itself for you book cover regardless of whether the creator has done it previously?

    Alternatively, Worth1000 has “contests” to do exactly the sort of design you need done, to your own specs. Perhaps that would be a much better way to get a truly stunning design.

    • :) That’s exactly why I am self-publishing.

      Cover art is a fairly specialized skill, and I’ve sourced it before. It’s a case of “I don’t know what I don’t know,” so you have to rely on the designer to be aware of and take care of, things like bleeds, spine sizing, how different colors print on on-demand vs. offset equipment etc. (those are variables I *am* aware of, but there are certainly others I am not aware… hence the preference for people who’ve done it before). By contrast, writing is fairly easy to judge, there is very little “I don’t know what I don’t know” going on, outside of some narrowly technical bits like indexing a manuscript correctly.

      But I’ll check out Worth1000 if I don’t get enough good bids here (I have a handful so far), thanks. There’s also the market leader 99designs.com, but they seem to be about generic designs.


  2. good luck with the book

  3. Is the offer still open! would love to flow in creative aspects for this book cover!

    D let me know…

    Good Day

  4. what the hell, it’s a year later…more or less. You still looking?