When I first started twittering, Robin’s blog (Intense Whisper) was one of the first I encountered. It wasn’t until many months later I realized she was also a designer. Today, we get the special benefit of tapping into some of her knowledge.
Thank you for the invitation for an interview Reena. As a reader I am always flattered when authors contact me. As an artist I am elated to share my marketing knowledge and design.
Tell us a little about Robin Ludwig Design (RLD).
We are a family owned design and printing service business. Everything we create is custom designed based on our clients design preferences and content. We offer many different printing services including: business cards, magnets, bookmarks, and postcards. We also create and manage websites and have recently began offering graphic and book cover design services.
How long have you been in the design business?
We have been in business since 2002. We started as a photo specialties business primarily doing photography retouching and restoration. Our business has since evolved to focus on advertising and promotional design services.
Indie authors are seeking RLD to design their cover art. Why do you think investing in attractive cover art is important for authors?
Perhaps the better question is, “Do readers buy books because of their covers?” Yes, they do. The professions of designer, marketer and advertiser exist for this reason. An appealing design will give the buyer more confidence in their purchase. An attractive cover is important because first impressions are important.
How might the cover art needs of debut authors differ from those of more established authors?
As many books are starting as ebooks, a new author may not need a print cover immediately. A new author may also be more flexible with their initial design as they do not have an established “look”. The first design should be memorable as it will usually be carried over into all of the author’s identity including the next book in many cases. Readers do notice when a look changes for better and for worse.
What other services do you offer writers?
We offer swag design and printing. We can also assist with website design including headers. We love to be a one-stop-shop for authors. Giving fast, reliable and hassle free service.
How might writers use those items in their marketing scheme?
Swag can be very beneficial to authors. At minimum, I think it is important for an author to have a professional online presence and business cards. Business cards should be distributed with books and to industry professionals. Bookmarks and magnets are often used because they will typically have better retention with readers. In all of these pieces a consistent design should be used for memorability.
Do you have any advice for authors in terms of searching for a designer?
• Make sure you understand the terms of the design you are purchasing.
• Ask if there is a time or impressions limit for use of the design. Most stock photography has impression limits and licensing restrictions; ask where the designer is obtaining the art.
• Ask when the first and follow up proofs will be sent as well as how long it will take to receive the finished design once approved. Some designers may need several weeks to produce a finished cover.
• View examples of other work the designer has done.
How can interested parties reach you?
EDIT: I had one more question I asked Robin after reading the initial interview and completely forgot to add it. Please forgive me.
The author has settled on a cover art designer. What information should the writer have available to make the process go smoother?
Include the basic description of what the book is about, the main characters and all design preferences including fonts and colors. Mention what you like in a design and what you do not like. Ask for the artist’s input on your concepts. Some ideas are great in concept but unrealistic to put on paper. If the book is in a series, be sure to let the designer know so that elements can be easily carried through from book to book. Sending examples of other cover designs you like is also helpful. If the book cover is for print, a designer will need a template from the printer with appropriate bleeds and spine sizes.