#InkRipples — Who should design your book covers?

inkripplesblueandgreen-1This year I’ve decided to participate in the #InkRipples challenge, a quest to complete 12 themed blog posts throughout the year. Created by the lovely Katie L. Carroll, Kai Strand, and Mary Waibal, #InkRipples is a great way for writers to create a community conversation AND to make sure their blog is consistently updated. And January’s conversation is all about book covers.

I’ve actually been thinking a lot about book covers lately, partially because I’m excited to see the cover art my publisher chooses for Good Bye but more because I’ve decided to self publish most (potentially all) of my other work, starting with a novelette, and that means it’s my job to make sure I have the best cover art possible.

As an indie author I have two options: pay somebody to create a cover, or learn how to do it myself. But in my mind only one of these is really an option–paying for it.

Why do I think it’s so important to buy my cover art?

Good artwork doesn’t necessarily sell books. Cover artists know what the conventions are for each genre. They understand how important it is for their covers to look good in thumbnails. Most also have an extensive collection of stock photography or deep familiarity with at least one paid stock photo archive. This makes it easier for them to find the perfect imagery for your book.

Secondly, I’m not particularly interested in learning how to do graphic design. One of my goals for 2017 is to experiment more creatively, but I want to focus on hands on work–painting, creating wire jewelry, making props. I already spend most of my day on the computer and I don’t want to add to it.

If you’re actively interested in learning how to do graphic design or you’re already comfortable with it, making your own cover might be worthwhile–as long as you take the time to research the norms for covers in your genre.

Buying your book cover doesn’t have to be expensive

A completely customized cover can run you anywhere from $300 to $2500, but your book might not require a completely unique cover. Many websites such as GoOnWrite and The Cover Collection have large collections of premade covers that you can buy for less than $100. Cover artists also frequently offer multiple packages at different price points, and many will format your books too, allowing you to save money by bundling your services.

Writing a series? One way you may be able to save money is to create a cover template for the entire series and have your artist alter the template for every new book, adding new stock photography or taking old images away. If you already have character art for the cover artist to work with this can also bring your cost down.

That said, you shouldn’t be afraid of spending a lot of money on your book cover. If you have the budget for the very best artist, spend the money(just make sure you’re actually hiring the best). Your book will thank you.

Have you thought about doing your own book covers? What about buying premade covers? Let me know in the comments section below!

6 thoughts on “#InkRipples — Who should design your book covers?

  • I feel the same about graphic design as you. I don’t want to take the time to learn it and am willing to pay someone who already has the skills and tools. It just isn’t my forte.

    So glad you’re joining us this year for #InkRipples! Can’t wait to see your cover for Good Bye.

    • dlgunn

      Exactly! I have learned some super basic stuff–how to make blog graphics, fix colour on photos, that kind of thing–but learning much more is rather low on my priority list.

      And I’m really glad to be participating 🙂

  • I’ve always been artistically inclined, but I can barely use photoshop or Gimp to save my life, so I usually hire someone for my covers. The only exception is the story I put on Wattpad. I made that cover, but also used Canva to do it, so that made it easier.

  • dlgunn

    Canva is definitely much easier than Photoshop or Gimp, and is probably what I’ll use to do covers for short stories I’m planning to give my newsletter subscribers as freebies.

  • Great points. While I have paid for covers, and had others provided by the book companies I’ve contracted with, I have also dabbled at some of my own (I used Gimp)

    It does take a lot of time not only to find the pictures to use (I use Pixabay for their free for commercial use images), but to figure out the layout, the font, the sizing of everything. Then, there are all the effects you can do. Needless to say, I’ve only used two covers I’ve designed.

    So glad you’ve joined in the posts!! Hope that the cover for Good Bye is all you’ve dreamed of and more.

    • dlgunn

      Glad you liked the post! I’m kind of afraid to ask how many covers you experimented with making before your first successful one. It’s something I would kind of like to do, but frankly you really don’t need to add any stress to self publishing.

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