Why authors should create their own book covers

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You’ve written your story, it’s been through endless drafts, edited and perfectly polished. It’s ready to upload to Amazon  or a similar platform. Then you realise there are thousands of new titles uploaded every week.

What can you do to make your book stand out?

Design a good cover.

Statistics show that a well designed book cover is crucial for success. Yet, self-published authors don’t have the resources of established publishers with their teams of graphic designers and marketers.

You do have one advantage, though, and that’s control over your design. Big publishers don’t negotiate on cover design. And if you don’t like it, there is nothing you can do to about it.

An author knows their product intimately and is the one best suited to design the cover art.

But beware: it’s tempting to think a little tinkering with software programs like Paint or Microsoft Word will produce professional results.

It won’t.

You don’t want your book cover to look tacky, unprofessional or cheap as this will deter even the most loyal reader.

Instead, consider learning a few design principles. Waiting a month or two before uploading to Amazon won’t make much difference to your sales. But a good book cover will.

Luckily, you’ll find a wealth of design knowledge online. Watch YouTube videos, read blog posts, follow tutorials and soon you’ll be confident enough to create your own book cover.

Tips to get you started:

  • Sketch ideas for the cover. Where do you want the title to sit? How big will your name be in relation to the images? What about the spine?
  • Take some photographs
  • Download a trial version of Photoshop, or use Gimp (which is free) and then tinker with blending modes, filters and typography
  • Download and experiment with different fonts
  • Combine your own images with free or small fee paying services like Big Stock
  • Experiment with alternative covers
  • Ask for feedback on all your designs
  • Take elements from a variety of published books and create a variation on their cover design
  • Play around with colors
  • Join Lynda.com and explore numerous videos on book design

Remember, a good cover leads to sales success.

Your book deserves it.

Author: Sue Bell
Sue Bell is an entertainment writer and author of Backpacked: A mostly true story, Beat Street and When Dreamworks came to Stanley.

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