Welcome to a new series, friends and familiars! The last one was so short the ending completely took me by surprise!
This one will be a little longer–and the timing is perfect, since my FREE guide Self-Publish Your Debut Novel like a Boss will be available soon! Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you want in on this freebie 😉
ANYWAY. Let’s dive into self-publishing your book baby!
What’s the first thing that will attract potential readers and long-term fans? Your book’s cover. So you need to make sure it’s stunning, draws people in with one glance, AND summarises your book accurately.
Note: I’ve tested all three options below, and therefore speak from experience. I mean my recommendation.
These are your options:
Self-publishing platforms like CreateSpace and KDP have cover creators. They are free and easy to use–
and I recommend you don’t use them.
While it’s great that they’re simple to use and won’t cost you a penny, your book cover will look like it, too. If you want your book to stand out in a positive way, you don’t want it to look like you put the cover together in five minutes before you had your first coffee.
Your book’s cover needs to be so visually attractive that people can’t help but pick it up. A cover that looks simple (and like you didn’t have time) won’t do that.
A cover created with a cover creator will stand out, but not in the way you want. Once you’ve seen a few you can easily tell the difference.
My experience: I wanted to give it a chance, so I tried it. Your options are limited, and none of the results look professional. I tried a few different things but didn’t end up with anything half-decent, so I moved on.
My books–your books–deserve better than ‘it’ll do.’
If you’re skilled with Photoshop or another image editing software, you may want to try designing it yourself! If that’s the route for you, make sure you get lots of feedback before you finalise your cover.
It’s always harder to work on a project you’re as close to as your own book. That’s why editing is so difficult, and it’s why creating your own cover might also be tricky.
Getting feedback from other people–preferably readers who love your genre–ensures you’ve considered every option before calling it done.
Take a look at some of the covers you adore and ask yourself if that’s a standard you can reach by yourself. If you can, go ahead. If you can’t, perhaps you should have someone else do it for you.
You might end up with something you like, but if it doesn’t hit the spot with your focus group of readers and bookworms it won’t do.
My experience: I have an Honours degree in Photography, so I’m not terrible with Photoshop. However, I felt too close to my books to create anything I really loved. The results were okay. But as I said above, ‘okay’ won’t do.
Also, I’m not trained as a cover designer. I know what amazing covers look like, but creating one myself? Completely different story.
I thought I’d be able to create something nice, but it’s not that simple.
hundreds thousands of artists who’ve made book cover design their business. Finding the right one for you can take a little while, but is worth your patience and investment.
I suggest you google ‘book cover designer’ and see what comes up. When I was still working on Rise of the Sparrows, I narrowed it down to three designers that way.
I left it for a weekend, and when I came back to it on Monday I was no longer sold on one of my three choices. I emailed my first choice (I loved their examples and testimonials) but they ended up being far more expensive than most cover designers.
I emailed my second choice, and now I’m a loyal customer.
The key to finding the right cover designer is checking out their covers (their website should have plenty of examples), reading their testimonials, and emailing them.
Ask them what their process is. Ask for a quote, too–it’d be a shame to fall in love with the right designer only to see they’re way out of your price range! Gauge their personality from their responses, and ask yourself whether this is someone you can work with.
Note: Some designers only create paperbacks, while others only do eBook covers. It’s rare, but worth finding out–there should be a section on their website listing their services.
Also, some designers give discounts to returning customers, or to sequels if they created the cover for the first book. Definitely worth finding out!
A lot of new writers don’t want to spend more money than necessary. But consider this:
A beautiful cover means more sales. It’s key to getting your book noticed; therefore, a fantastic cover is necessary.
I’ve sold quite a few copies because my readers loved the covers, and I’ll sell more as I continue to publish books. The ROI is worth it, friends.
The hard truth is that you won’t earn much from actual book sales; however, a stunning cover will help you sell more. More sales mean more readers mean more reviews mean more exposure mean–you get the idea.
I recommend you find a cover designer you like–someone who gets you and your vision for your books–and stick with them.
You can start by emailing Design for Writers. They’re my cover designers, and I can promise you that Andrew and Rebecca are good at this.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, just look at my covers in this post! I do believe they speak for themselves 😉
In two weeks, we’ll look at how to find the right editor for you and your book. In the meantime, you might also like:
Do you have any questions about your book cover? Or, if you’ve already published (GO YOU), how did you decide on the right option for you? Make a tea and let’s talk book covers!
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