Ryan Schwarz

Ryan Schwarz - Designer

Tulsa, OK, USA

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller, and Horror Book Cover design specialist. 50+ bestselling covers designed!

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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 300 incredible book covers for authors AND publishers looking to stand out of the crowd, including LMBPN Publishing, Aethon Books, Craig Martelle and Michael Anderle. 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, telling 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 poster or a battle scene mural of your book.

My job is to get people who love books similar to this 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 timeline 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 theirs 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 $450-$850 per cover, depending on genre. Additional items listed above are alacarte 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 selected week, 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!

I'm currently available for bookings as soon as late October and November - let's get something done before the end of the year!

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 (almost 5 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 – Present (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 15 reviews

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

Ted Hale
Great support for a first time author and a fabulous artist.

Ted Hale, October 2020

Ryan Schwarz
Thanks Ted!!

Reply from Ryan Schwarz


Dan Kirshtein
Fantastic work and a great partner.

Dan Kirshtein, September 2020

Ryan Schwarz
Thank you, Dan!

Reply from Ryan Schwarz


George Valvis
Ryan is a great cover designer. He delivered what I asked and more.

George Valvis, September 2020

Ryan Schwarz
It was a pleasure!

Reply from Ryan Schwarz


AJ Wilt
Ryan helped me out in a real pinch and I can't recommend him highly enough. He was very professional yet light-hearted and his humor really helped me to laugh during a pretty frustrations time. I wouldn't hesitate to use him again!

AJ Wilt, August 2020

Ryan Schwarz
Thanks AJ! I really am hilarious. And humble.

Reply from Ryan Schwarz


Jeanette Hrvatin
I love the new cover! Ryan is easy to work with. He has great insight into what works in the marketplace, and uses his tested skills to create wonderful book covers. The collaboration was a positive experience and I would hire Ryan again.

Jeanette Hrvatin, August 2020

Ryan Schwarz
Aw, thank you!

Reply from Ryan Schwarz

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