Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dear O'Abby: Do I really need to pay THAT much for a cover designer?

 Dear O'Abby,

I'm about to self-publish my first novel and have been looking at hiring a designer to do my book cover.  I was shocked to discover how much this costs!  I've been tootling around on InDesign and Photoshop for years and years, and I'm pretty sure I can make something just as good as most of these designers can at a fraction of the cost.

Do I really need to hire a cover designer?

Sincerely,

Un-covered.


Dear Un-covered,

The short answer is no, you don't have to hire a designer.  If you know what you are doing and have access to the tools you need to design your own covers, go for it.  

But designing book covers for books that sell is not as easy as throwing together a couple of free stock images and some text.  Your book jacket is probably the most important piece of marketing collateral you are going to create, so it's important that is will do the work you need it to do.

I know everyone says don't judge a book by its cover, but in reality, everyone does judge a book by its cover - at least initially.  The cover is the first thing people see and especially nowadays, when books are being sold online more than ever before, the cover needs to be able to be scaled down to a thumbnail and still be eye-catching.  

Different genres have different styles for their covers in terms of both the imagery and the fonts used.  Before you start making anything, take a look at the covers of other books like yours and see what you like and don't like about each of them. Look at the kinds of images the designers have chosen and where the text is placed in relation to the images.  Look at the fonts and the size of the fonts.  Being able to read the title of a book and the author name is important, even when the cover has been scaled down in a carousel on a website or in a social media post.

With all that in mind, you might decide the cost of a cover designer is actually worthwhile.  Too many great books don't get picked up off shelves or clicked on in online stores because the covers aren't appealing or representative of what is inside the covers.  Even if you think you have the skill to make an eye-catching, appealing, commercial cover, I think it's a lot harder than you probably think.

If you do decide to go it alone, share your design ideas with readers before going ahead and publishing it.  Share it with people who have read your book and with those who have not,  Make sure the cover tells your ideal reader exactly why this the book they need to pick up above all other books.

Good luck!

X O'Abby

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