Road to Self-Published – Part 2 – Careful Cover Construction

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” might be a popular saying, but in the publishing world, people do it all the time. This is a major reason it’s imperative to have a professional cover for your independently published book.

I envisioned the perfect cover when I first started writing this book. I could see it in my mind’s eye. The thing had mystery and clean lines. It was beautiful.

And describing it became difficult. What? Don’t you use words to describe all the time? Certainly, but even specific words create differing pictures in the minds of those who hear them. Yes, based on their own knowledge and perceptions, another person might visualize something that looks like nothing I imagined I described to a tee.

Whatever file you use for keeping notes on your projects needs to have a page for cover images. Mine is called “Covers I Like.” When something strikes you, click the copy button and paste it into your notes.

CoversILike

Researching your Genre

All this means is heading over to Amazon and typing in the keywords for your genre. For me, I typed “Biblical fiction.” That’s it, and I had 100 pages to thumb through.

Scroll through the pretty thumbnails. When you find one you like, click on it to make it bigger. If it still sings to you, copy that sucker into the aforementioned file.

After I had ten lovely covers, I ranked them in the order of appeal. I might suggest noting what you like about them if it is early and you don’t have an appointment scheduled with your cover designer in the near future.

Resources from other Independent Authors

I personally know two people who are qualified to design my covers. I’m not talking about a friend who thinks they’re a wiz with Photoshop. These people are professional designers with a portfolio of work samples.

If you do not have personal knowledge, this is when you should milk your network of writing friends for information. They will gladly refer people who have served them well in the past. And steer you clear of the ones who were less than desirable to work with.

Here is a list of links that might help with this process:

A Meeting of the Minds

Let’s face it, having control over what the cover on your book looks like is important. Authors want the cover to reflect the contents, and who knows the contents better than the person who poured their soul into them? And then pored over them through multiple drafts?

For me, I wanted the cover artist to consider my thoughts and ideas before jumping off on their own creative path. Maybe other writers are less controlling about the cover.

Cover artists are artists. The photographer/graphic designer that I used is deeply concerned about the originality and perception of his work. Which is great – until it interferes with my own ideals.

If you find your cover artist offering up samples that are nothing like you envisioned (and though you communicated to him), it might be time to find another artist. Don’t wait too late, though, or your project could be in jeopardy of releasing on schedule.

Don’t skimp on your cover. It will cost a few thousand pennies to get the collection of digital files you need for the different platforms. Pay the piper. Your sales will thank you.

Additional Resources:

Book Publishing Guide

What resources have you found for designing covers? Are there other steps in the process I’ve overlooked?

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