A Self-Publishers Guide to a Decent Book Cover

| Posted in Publishing.

Book addictionSelf-publishing is not an easy task and requires a lot of time and patience. Anyone who decides to self-publish a book deserves a round of applause. The amount of work that goes into writing the book, working on the cover art, the publishing, distribution and marketing is enormous.

How many of you have actually bought a book because of the creative and attention-grabbing cover art? A very important aspect of books is their cover art, whether self-published or not. One of the main things that attract readers to books is the design of the cover.

For many self-published authors, there are two main options when it comes to creating the cover of their books. One option is to hire an experienced designer and the other, less expensive, option is to do it themselves. There are pros and cons to each, and deciding which direction to take depends on a number of issues, like time and finance.

Choosing a designer

If you see that you won’t be able to do the cover yourself, then you can work in collaboration with a designer. When choosing a designer it is important to go with someone who understands your work, fits in with the profile of the book and with whom you have a good working relationship. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right cover designer for you:

  • Check out their portfolio: Every reputable designer should have a portfolio of their work. Make a shortlist of the people whom you think might fit your style of writing and schedule meetings with them. This will allow you to see whom you click with and whose work blends with the vision for your book.
  • Establish a good working partnership: From the get-go, you and the designer need to have a plan on how you are going to go about working together. Be clear about what your vision is for the book and what your overall ideas are. You do not want a situation where there are misunderstandings half-way through the project. Remember though, as much as you want to make your vision as clear as possible, the designer also knows what they are doing so you should trust them.
  • Trust the designer: Allow the designer time to play around with some ideas. Give them time to take your ideas into consideration and just hope for the best.

A DIY cover

The costs of getting a professional designer may prove to be steep for some authors and so they might choose to design their own cover art. Here are some tips on how to make your own cover:

  • Test your creativity: Depending on the level of experience with all things design, this may prove to be a hard but self-satisfying task. For some authors, it is as easy as getting an image from the net and using simple graphic design tools to create a good cover. The key is to know your market and what will work in creating an eye-catching cover. Play around with fonts, colour and pictures.
  • Keep it simple: Pay careful attention to the general outline and wording. You may want to keep it simple and minimal, as being too extravagant on a low budget may just come back to bite you hard.

No one can deny the importance of a decent cover. Self-published authors have the freedom to be as creative and as raw as they wish on their cover. As long as the cover is gripping, engaging and eye-catching, the method chosen to make it will not matter to readers.


Written by Zimasa Mpemnyama

Image credit: Emily Carlin, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr


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