SFFMP 57: Cover Design That Sells Books with Sylvia Frost

Today we chatted with our first cover designer, Sylvia Frost. Not only does she have some tips for authors in regard to getting the cover of their dreams, but she’s done some analysis of the Top 100s in paranormal romance/urban fantasy, science fiction romance, epic fantasy, and science fiction.

Here are some of the topics we touched on during the show:

  • What mistakes do authors sometimes make in their communications with designers?
  • Is it important to look at the Top 100s for your subgenre and to emulate what popular books are doing? What about what traditional publishing is putting out?
  • What’s trending insofar as science fiction and fantasy covers go?
  • How much should you expect to pay for cover art (stock photos, versus custom illustrations, versus a photo shoot with models)?
  • Should the author name be larger than the title?
  • What are some tricks for thinking ahead and branding a series with common elements?
  • If you’re a new author, when should you contact a cover designer, and how long can you expect the process to take for various types of covers?
  • How faithful to the story/characters should a cover be?
  • Nods to other designers: Tom Edwards for spaceships/sci-fi and Gene Mollica for high-end custom illustrations with models + photo shoots.

Sylvia has a couple of blog posts you may want to check out too:

Also take a look at the files Sylvia and her brother put together about some of the common cover elements for best sellers in several categories on Amazon:

She’s still accepting new clients, and as a reminder, she offered our listeners 10% off, so say you heard about her here first when getting in touch! Here’s a look at her portfolio on her site.

Sylvia Frost also writes paranormal romance, so check out her books if you’re looking for a read. The first book in her Moonfate series is free right now, and you can see what she’s doing for covers!


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