Why Should I Get a Cover?
The old adage says we must not judge a book by its cover. However, anyone who has taken even one marketing course knows that’s complete bunk. We judge on first impressions all the time. It’s no wonder that corporations spend billions coming up with just the right packaging for their products. They have to fight for the eyeballs of customers.
And so do you, dear author.
Self-publishing is a huge industry right now and, as such, there are loads of resources for you to pull from to help sell your book. And one of the easiest ways to make that happen is with a good cover.
Unless you have a degree in graphic design, odds are, you aren’t going to be able to make one yourself with MS Paint. Seriously, take look around ACX.com and you’ll find them. They’re ghastly.
When Should I Get a Cover?
As soon as you can in the process. Admittedly, you’ll want the novel to be nearly done before you start committing yourself to a cover, but you can start looking early on.
As an audiobook narrator, I would highly recommend getting the cover before you start shopping it around ACX or other narrator-hiring venues. A professional cover tells us you are serious enough about your book to spend money on making it look good. After the pay rate, it’s probably the first thing we look at.
From Where Should I Get a Cover
A quick Google search on “book covers for sale” gets you a lot of results, right off the bat. All of these sites feature one-off covers, so that when you buy it, it’s off the market and no one else can use it.
Prices vary by cover, but start at $69. They feature a lot of artists and a huge selection. They also have a preview tool so you can get an idea of what you’re cover will look like with your name and title.
The Book Cover Designer
This site also provides a variety of prices, but start at $35. One of the nicer features on this site was that the author’s works are cross-linked, so you can see more by the same person. Some of the artists even have links to their pages so you can work directly with them.
Use a template and design your own cover with Canva. I just started to play with it, but it appears to be free (for what I used it for). There appears to be a wide variety of templates to start from. If you’re working on a budget, this may be the place to go, if you’re OK with someone else possibly having the same cover as you.
If you’re one of those people that insists on hiring a cabinet maker instead of buying whatever’s on sale at Home Depot, then you can go the route of hiring an artist to make custom art for your book(s). While it’s going to cost you more, but you’re going to get exactly what you want and in any size and shape.
Some of the aforementioned sites will link you to the artists personal page. Also check out DeviantArt to find an artist you like. You can check with other self-published authors to see who they used, if you like their covers.
If You Insist On Doing Your Own Cover
If you’re going this route, take heed: Do not use artwork that you do not own. Just because it’s posted on the Internet, does not give you license to use it. If the artist has posted it as Public Domain or has used one of the sharable Creative Commons licenses, you can use it.
If it’s photo you’ve taken yourself, you’re good, assuming the participants in the photo have all given their consent to be used for promotional work.