Initially I hired out cover design to a friend that did work similar to book design. The first covers he made for The Digital Sea and The Godhead Machine were passable, but not exciting at all. After he made those, I asked him to do the cover for my YA dystopia novel called Gamers. Unfortunately, we didn't see eye-to-eye on the design process. He hadn't read the book and didn't understand the YA market, so I fired him. In the meantime, my wife had purchased Photoshop with the idea that eventually she could make covers. Once I fired the other guy, I asked her to go for it (she'd done a short story cover by this time, which was a good starter cover). We'd walked the bookstores and studied covers for a while so we know want we wanted.
The only problem was that we were about to leave for a few weeks and the book had been waiting for two months for the cover, so in a forty hour period, she made the cover to Gamers from scratch. It's still one of my favorites. After that, I realized she could do it and, except for my anthology series and a few early short stories, she's been doing all my covers. She's also gone back and redone the covers to The Digital Sea and The Godhead Machine. I couldn't be happier, plus the savings on an in-house cover designer is huge.
Having said that, we both know that for a different type of book, like a fantasy series, we might have to hire a designer who can create art from scratch, which we know will be more money, but a cover really has to match the feel of the book.
And is price a factor? Not if you get the right cover. The thing to remember is that the book will be owned by you for your lifetime plus seventy years. Even a $500 cover will pay for itself over that time period.
To see more Carpenter book cover revisions, click here. You can check out all of Tom's books on Amazon or visit his website for other bookstores.
Amazon Links to Works Featured Here:
The Digital Sea
The Godhead Machine