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.
- 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!