I am probably the least experienced person to be covering this topic, but, I don’t care. Let’s just say, I did not have the best time getting my cover art worked out. Granted, I am satisfied with the finished product, but it’s not fantastic. (Not as great as I had pictured) But trust me, this is NOT the worst thing to come out of all of this. Let me try to help you to get the best cover art you possibly can.
- Cost really matters. I did my cover art on Fiverr.com, recommended to me by a member in a writing group. I never heard of this site before and I was curious. If you’re unfamiliar, Fiverr is a freelancing website full of artists that do “budgeted” work. In other words, they don’t work for some massive corporation, which honestly I really loved. I thought it would be cool to save some money AND help out independent artists. Win, win, right? Mmmm, not so much. While this site is cost effective, you really get what you pay for. And not in the good way. The first person I hired from Fiverr was only about $40 and her art work and other cover arts were really nice. I thought that $40 was a bargain for what I may get! I was so very wrong. I won’t go into detail, but I asked for a fairy on the cover, and she wasn’t sure what a fairy was. [insert Patrick Stewart face palm here]
- Be clear what you want. This was a huge mistake I made… but not really. After I got rid of the last person, I then hired another person on the same site, but with slightly higher prices (and better quality). Her requirements were to pick 3 pictures from Pexels.com of images you want to have in your cover. I had some idea of what I wanted it to look like, so I picked 3 images like she said and she made 3 mock-ups. None of them were very good. It took a long time to really get a product that I wanted. Here’s a good way to tell your artist what you’re looking for:
- Provide Samples. And LOTS of them! Best way I did this was too Google book covers in the genre I was writing in and saved 6 pictures. I recommend 6 at the very least when doing this. Also, add a couple that you really hate or dislike. This will help them better understand what to stay away from, too.
- Explain Why. With each picture you provide be as detailed as possible. Highlight what you like and what you don’t like and explain your reasons why. With the ones you don’t like, put what you don’t like about it specifically. The type, the colors, the background, ect. I seem to be strict about the type I like and don’t like.
- Type. This might just be me, but type is probably more important than anything else on your cover. The picture can be great all on it’s own, but if you have a really hard to read type face, or too many different kinds of fonts (3 should be the maximum) it can turn people away. Be clear what fonts you really like, and even what you like about them, and what fonts you want to stay clear of. Comic sans, I’m lookin’ at you.
- Why I didn’t want a big company to do my cover. As I explained a bit earlier, it came down to money. I had no idea the cost of self-publishing (still less than traditional, though). I put more money away for my editing than I did for the cover art. I think that was well worth the price too. But, I didn’t want to go to a big company because I cherish my book soooo much, I was afraid they would TELL me what should be on it. I wouldn’t have much of a say and little to no control of how it turned out. I’m now learning the hard way that they may have been the best choice for my first go around. They know the business really well, and what sells and what doesn’t. They will tell you exactly what size, what market, what colors are best for that market, ect. I had to just wing it, other wise. Needless to say, for my next book, I will be looking for a company and spending a lot more money to get exactly what I want.
I hope this helps you self-publishers like me. Don’t learn things the hard way like I did. I mean, you can if you want, but I was here to warn ya. ##
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