My Self Publishing Journey: Getting a Professional Cover

One piece of advice I’ve read in more than one place is that it’s important to have a professional looking cover if you’re going to self-publish.  A good cover tells the prospective buyer at first glance that you’re taking the production of your book seriously. Obviously, it’s no guarantee that the contents will be appealing, but it does give a certain amount of reassurance. It serves to draw the reader closer, makes it more likely that they’ll click onward to read the book’s description.

It’s quite possible to design a cover that will do fairly well in the online marketplace yourself. I know people who have done it. I also know people who have failed.  Since I also planned to do a POD release, I made the decision to hire a professional designer. I didn’t want to take the time just now to learn how to do it properly.

I looked at the portfolios of about half a dozen artists. I loved the cover Rae Monet did for VEILED MIRROR which is coming out next month, but in the end I decided to go with Kim Killion at  Hot Damn Designs.

I’ve never hired someone to make an image in my head real before, so the process of working with an artist was also a learning experience, though fortunately, not a painful one. Kim had me fill out a questionaire and then based on my answers came up with a cover. (None of these images may be used without written permission from the artist and the author.)

I made suggestions for changes to the background and the title. Kim came back with an updated cover.

This is where I almost faltered.  This cover was close, and I almost accepted it.  But Kim hadn’t said anything about how many iterations were too many, and I remembered that I was paying for this service. So I clarified what I wanted and asked for changes.

I’m so glad I did, because Kim came back with a cover I love.

This experience has taught me a few things.

  • It’s good to have clear guidelines so you know what to expect before you start.
  • Ask (politely) for what you want. Ask more than once if you have to.
  • Know what you want.
  • Give your artist links to pictures that will help guide her.
  • Give your artist plenty of time to get the work done.
  • Get your cover done early. It’s great advertising, and great motivation for you!



Filed under writing

16 responses to “My Self Publishing Journey: Getting a Professional Cover

  1. Frankie, love following your journey. Love the cover.

  2. Beautiful cover! The model is Billy Freda in case you didn’t know. A friend of mine. 🙂

  3. Beautiful cover, Frankie! You chose a great one. Kim Killion is a great cover designer.

  4. Caroline Mickelson

    Wonderful! That cover is top notch and very attractive. It absolutely says ‘pick me up’.

  5. Wow! So much hunk-ittude! Awesome cover and advice. Also, welcome to wordpress!

  6. You were so right to ask for a final round of changes… the final product is fabulous!! Thanks for blogging about the process, too. So few authors talk about the details that go into making a quality product. I wish there had been more information about this when we were both in the thinking/ planning stages of this journey.

    • I wish there had been more information about this when we were both in the thinking/ planning stages of this journey.
      Roxy, me too! That’s why I’m doing this. I hope it demystifies the process an makes it less intimidating.

  7. Pingback: Covers: Know What You Want, and Ask For It | Frankie's Soapbox

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