Self-Publishing Process - Part 3
Today I am sharing step 3 in my self-publishing series, which will be on the topic of cover design. If you haven’t read my first 2 posts on the writing and editing of the book, I would recommend checking them out first. Cover design is a very crucial step in the self-publishing process and, like editing, it is important to hire a professional. Editing will probably be your biggest investment and cover design will be in second place. In my personal opinion, these two are non-negotiable.
The cover art is the first thing a person is going to see when it comes to your book, whether it is in a bookstore or online, so you want to make a good impression. We all know the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we all know that pretty much everyone does just that. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been intrigued by a book title, pulled it off the self, and then immediately put it back without reading the blurb because the cover was ugly. A cover will speak for the book, so you want to make sure it’s saying the right thing. Cover designers know exactly how to do that.
So now that we know why professional design is important, let’s discuss where to find one. A quick Google search can bring up hundreds of options and it can get quite overwhelming, but there are other places to look. I personally found my cover designer for Silent Night on Pinterest. My biggest advice though is to research cover designers for some of your favourite indie books or other indie authors you follow because this helps to authenticate the credibility of the designer. You can also ask your friends how they liked working with the designer before making a final choice. There are also sites where you can find and commission artists like Fiverr and 99 Designs. I haven’t tried them, but I know people who have.
Choosing between all the different options is the hard part. You want a designer whose style you admire and who works often in the genre of your book. A designer who mostly works on romances might not have an easy time doing the cover of your sci-fi novel, for instance. Another thing to consider is the price point. Cover art can range from $100 to over $600, so you have to be aware of your own budget and whether a service is over or under priced. This knowledge comes with experience and lots of research. It’s also important to know what you’re paying for. Is it paperback design, ebook design or both? How many revisions do you get for free and what is the timeframe like? Be sure to ask your designer lots of questions before you seal the deal.
It is also important to have an idea of what you want for the cover before you start. Designers aren’t mind readers, so try to give them something to work with. It helps to have examples of covers and styles you like to send to them for reference. They usually ask for a book blurb as well, so they can get an idea of what the story is about, so have one ready, even if it’s not the final version you want on the back of the book.
Another thing to keep in mind is that even though this is step 3 in my series, you probably want to start researching and booking cover design earlier. My original cover designer closed her business with little notice and so I had to look for someone new for Solemn Vow and Summer’s Revenge back in January. I needed the finished cover for Summer's Revenge by April, but most of the designers I wanted to work with were booked full until June or October. Thankfully, one of them had a cancellation and was able to fit me in, but I was super stressed for a while. Designers fill up fast, so don’t leave this task to the last minute.
And I think that concludes my knowledge on the subject. Again, research is super important here. We’re writers, not designers, so it’s okay not to know much, but it can be detrimental to try and make your own.
I hope you guys have been liking this series so far. Please leave any comments or questions that you have. I would be more than happy to expand the conversation. The next post in the series will go live the first week of March.