Ryan Schwarz

Ryan Schwarz - Designer

Tulsa, OK, USA

Cover designer for over 50 Amazon bestsellers. If you are an indie author writing SciFi, Fantasy, Post-Apoc, or Thrillers, I'm your guy.

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Overview

I'm a career marketing expert with a degree in graphic design and a love of teaching.

Why should that matter to you?

I've dedicated 25+ years to consumer marketing. Understanding the psychology of buying habits, how color affect buying moods, understanding the science of how an eye moves through a marketing piece, and ultimately how to sell a product. I've taken all of that experience and understanding of how to sell to a target audience and paired it with my passion for art, graphic design, and creating beautiful things.

I've designed over 500 incredible book covers for authors AND publishers looking to stand out of the crowd, including LMBPN Publishing, Aethon Books, bestselling authors like Craig Martelle, Erik Henry Vick, Michael Anderle, and U.S.A. Today Bestselling authors like Lisa Phillips. These covers are hand-crafted with extreme care, combining elements of their story and the genre itself to create something that fits so well in their potential reader's mind. How do I do this?

I spend nearly as much time researching your project as I do producing it.

That's right. My marketing background screams at me from the void, urging me to understand my target market before creating a piece of art for a client. Let's use an example to show you how I do that. This is fairly common, and will help you understand my process.

You come to me, requesting a cover commission for your new book. It's your first book, and you've been working on this for over a year. You are invested in the plot, the characters, and everything about the book is your pride and joy. There are four distinct characters, and you can't imagine a cover without all four present. They wear armor that glows different colors, like Voltron in concept. Their powers are reminiscent of their color (green is earth, red is fire, etc). This is so important, as is the bad guy who steals these powers and the world, which is very specific. There is also a child who is pivotal, like the Avatar series. I ask you to give me two genre categories, and your response is, "YA Superhero" and "YA SciFi Romance".

^^^By the way, you want all of the above represented on a cover.

Here's where I bring my experience to bear for you. As an author, you've become an expert on your world, the things in it, the plot that binds it, etc. However, visualizing that world for you is my job. My job is not to make you a cool poster or a battle scene / mural of your book.

My job is to get people - readers who love books similar to the one you've poured your soul into - to click on yours.

I promise you one thing - I will do my research. I will look into your book description, your blurb, your understanding of genre. I will force you to take a hard look at what you think your genres are. You may find that your genres are more along the lines of "Science Fiction Fantasy" and "YA Scifi" than the ones you provided to me. At that point, I'm going to have you select covers from the CURRENT top 50 of those genres that you love. Why?

I want to see what you like about covers that readers are currently buying.

I can't stress this enough.

What a reader is purchasing can depend on trends. Some genres are more stable than others. Urban Fantasy, for example, runs through many sub-genre trends (think Academy, Reaper, Shifter, etc) that trend upwards. Science fiction may be really in a trend that shows more of a female character than a ship battle, or could be into battle scenes instead of showing planetscapes. These things shift over time. If you want to sell, you need to hit what's hot.

I've worked with some of the top authors and publishers in many genres. I've created over fifty bestselling covers and even more "Top New Releases".

I understand the ins and outs of how to make your cover marketable and I love teaching those insights to my clients. Most of my work with my clients is from repeat business - authors that realize how easy I am to work with and keep coming back over and over again for more covers as their books continue to sell well.

Do you want to build a cover with me that can sell your book?
Do you want a laser focus - researched through marketing science - on your genre?

I can provide any or all of the following graphic elements for your book once final files are delivered. Options are available that include a variety of options. Only need an ebook? It's definitely cheaper that way. Need the whole package? I can build you everything you need for success.

Ebook cover in 3 sizes
1 KDP print-ready PDF
1 IngramSpark print-ready PDF
3D book mockup
Social media marketing banner image
Audiobook cover
Artwork-only file

Financially, expect my rates to be mid-level to average for high-end design. What you don't get with other designers is the marketing partnership that you'll receive with me. It's invaluable. My rates range from $650-$1550 per cover, depending on genre and the brief. Additional items listed above are ala carte' added to that cost.

I invoice 20% down to hold your booking spot, which is non-refundable. The balance is due the week we start your project. I'll keep in touch with you and the week prior, we will start talking genre and research. By the end of the 10-14 business days, you'll have an incredible and marketable cover in your hands.

I'd love to hear from you - please reach out and chat! If you need references, I can provide those as well!


Languages
English
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Dystopian
Epic Fantasy
Gaming & LitRPG
Horror
Post-Apocalyptic
Space Opera
Urban Fantasy

Awards

  • Best-sellers
  • Top new releases

Work experience

Owner

Self-employed
January, 2016 – Present (over 6 years)

Leveraging 20+ years of marketing and design experience, I create gorgeous covers for you that are laser pointed at your genre.

Marketing Manager

U.S. Cellular
October, 2012 – December, 2020 (about 8 years)

Manage multiple agencies for art direction, creative control, brand control, and presentative customer content for a fortune 500 company.

Director of Marketing & Design

ZOMM
January, 2009 – August, 2013 (over 4 years)

Full creative agency design and development of brand creative, advertising, packaging, web graphics and analytics.

Creative Design Manager

Group 360 Creative
January, 2003 – October, 2008 (over 5 years)

Design and asset management for Anheuser Busch Creative materials. Art direction, design, and material delivery for press.

Portfolio (28 selected works)

Junker Blues: Mars

Varnadore, Lon E.

Zephyr I

Hately, Warren

Lineage: The Long Way Home

Phoenix Hays, Alan H. Staples, Mr. Phoenix Hays

Ryan has 37 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Niel Christensen
Working with Ryan was awesome. He has a great process for planning what a cover will look like. It's rigorous and helps you strategize your cover for your market. Ryan is also just a great person to work with in general. The cover I got was high quality and Ryan was generous with helping tweak details where needed.

Niel Christensen, July 2022


Maria E Cantu Alegre
Great to work with and highly talented. Ryan will give you a great cover. I am exceedingly pleased with his work.

Maria E Cantu Alegre, April 2022


Dave Welch
This is one busy guy. And I see why. Ryan's work is so authentic. It says so much and in so many volumes. I'd definitely like to work with him again.

Dave Welch, February 2022


Lucas Stocks
There were a few hiccups along the way, but the design was really well done. He's definitely good at what he does. I already plan to use him for another cover redesign.

Lucas Stocks, September 2021

Ryan Schwarz
You're great - thanks Lucas. I really appreciate you!

Reply from Ryan Schwarz


Maria E Cantu Alegre
Once again this artist, Ryan, has exceeded my expectation. He has created a cover for my book that is beautiful, eye-catching, and centered around what is currently selling in my genre. I couldn't be more pleased with the quality of work, professionalism, and personalism used to complete this dream of mine. I am grateful and will plan to continue work with Ryan on future projects.

Maria E Cantu Alegre, August 2021

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