…That’s Not a DIY Monstrosity
You really can judge a book by its cover (despite what grandma told you). Especially a very bad cover designed by a first time indie writer/publisher who just won’t let go.
The key to successful indie publishing is knowing exactly when to handoff to an expert. So, after you’ve spent months (or years) writing your book, don’t be afraid to invest in a professionally designed cover.
A Good Book Cover Creates Curiosity
It’s important for potential readers to be curious about your book. Curious enough to click and read your reviews and download a preview. THEN curious enough to pay you some cash to find out what happens next in your story.
It’s a very crowded marketplace for new writers, and unless your new title has some phenomenal reviews and recommendations, you need to make sure your eBook stands out on the digital eBookshelf on Amazon, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble and all the rest…
…for all the RIGHT reasons.
You don’t want to end up in someones list of laughingly bad book covers. Like this…
So, you’ve finally written your book. If you’re smart, you’ve also had it professionally edited. You’ve also hired someone to design your books layout or bought a pre-formatted template.
It’s all systems go….BUT you’ve got to resist the urge to create your own cover.
If you’re publishing on Kindle, you’ll discover they have a cover creator. Don’t use it unless you want your book to look like all the others made with it.
Make Your Cover Unique
Your next step is to hire a professional graphic designer that specialises in eBook cover design. In a moment I’ll show you the method I use to find and hire great designers on Fiverr.com (tip it will cost much more than $5).
They exist, trust me.
You’d be surprised what you can get for less then a $150 investment.
Check the Genres
Every genre has its own cover design conventions. If you’ve written a sexy romance story and have a cover that looks like sci-fi all you’re going to do is turn off potential readers.
You’ll see common design tropes that pop up again and again. Can’t get to a bookshop? Just browse books on amazon.com or Apple iBookstore for inspiration.
Create a Fiverr Design Contest
The big myth of Fiverr.com is you’ll only get rubbish for 5 bucks.Yes, there are hundreds of less then able ‘designers’ on Fiverr churning out template covers for $5. If you’re not prepared to invest more than $5 on your cover…well don’t be surprised at what you get.
There’s a much smarter way to get quality work using Fiverr.
I’ve used this process over and over and have got some great eBook covers for under $150. (BTW…If you think that’s a lot consider that you can pay hundreds if you outsource on sites like 99designs.com.
You can pay 4 figures if you engage an art agency. So, $100 – $150 range is great value for a great design.
The ‘Design Contest’ Method
Here’s my method.
ONE: Search and Discover
Find 5 cover designers that impress you. Make sure they are working in your genre. (if your book is romance, find someone with a track record creating romance covers etc). If you want custom illustrations, the same principle applies.
TWO: Launch Your Contest
Hire 5 designers to create a quick $5 spec cover for you. This will just be a ‘proposal’ cover. You should communicate clearly that you’re only after a sketch and the winner will work with you on quotation for a bigger budget. You’ve just create a design contest for $25. In a week or so you’ll get 5 good spec designs to choose from for what you probably spent on lunch yesterday. Make sure you brief the designer on what the book is about, your target audience, genre. Include some of your favourite covers if you want to create something similar for your book. The key to getting a good cover is having some idea what you’d like while being flexible. You could exclude one designer from the briefing just to see what they come up. You may be surprised.
THREE: Define Your Project
When all the designs are in, pick a winner. This is the fun bit. Get your friends involved. Setup a poll in Facebook. Make a decision. Before you pick a winner, get a full quote from the designer. Make sure to include everything you need. Your list might be like this:
- High resolution master files (Photoshop & Indesign) – you may want to modify your cover in the future so ALWAYS get the masters.
- Kindle cover version.
- 3D Version for websites and promotional material.
- Number of revisions included.
- Illustrations (colour or black and white?).
- Any stock photography.
- Any special fonts.
This is important as it sets out exactly the expectations you have about what you are going to get for your money. Set the guidelines BEFORE you agree to the quote.
What you get is a good freelance designer who will work with you to the budget you agreed on.
Exploding the Myth of Fiverr
Fiverr get’s a bad rap, because people don’t like paying more than $5. You need to understand that Fiverr is a great resource to find talented designers. BUT you’ve got to be prepared to pay more than $5 if you want a truly unique cover for your book.
If you create your own design contest, you’ll flush out some great Fiverr designers that will work you to give you exactly what you want.
Don’t believe me? Here’s exhibit A. It’s the cover we produced for author Mary Egan and her book Tale of a Barefoot Tomboy. We ran a Fiverr design contest with some very talented illustrators and this was the result. Yes, it cost much more than $5, but a lot less than $200. And it sells the book beautifully.
Have a listen to my interview with Mary on the eBook Revolution Podcast.
So, what would you rather do? Spend a week (or more) wasting time trying to design a cover yourself?
If you are serious about independent publishing, you’ll resist the urge to DIY and understand that a good cover is an investment in your book and your brand as a writer.
The key to high quality independent publishing is understanding what your strengths and weaknesses are and outsourcing the key components of a quality product which are; Editing, Layout and Cover Design. Recognise that your strength is writing, get good help with the rest and you’ll create a fantastic book.
Now promise me you will not design your own book cover. The only exception to the rule is if you actually ARE a graphic designer. Then, knock yourself out 😉
If you’d like some help with your cover design, please get in touch here.
What’s your experience using Fiverr.com? Please leave a comment below.