A better question might be, “should you design your own book cover?”
With the internet offering dozens of low cost or “free” book cover services, and access to tablet apps that let you easily combine photographs with text, it’s easy to see why many authors are jumping on the do-it-yourself (DIY) cover bandwagon. But is this a good or bad idea?
Let’s take a look at what I call the 5 myths of DIY book cover design.
Myth 1: “It’s too expensive to hire someone to design my book cover. I can do it myself and save that money.”
When my wife and I went to Home Depot recently, we both got excited about a landscaping project we had talked about for several years and decided to get started.
After multiple trips to the store, buying tools, gloves, weed blocking material, plants, rock and more, we got started on what we thought was a weekend project. Several weekends later and a few more trips to Home Depot we finished the project. Looking back we realized we should have simply hired a professional landscaper – it would have taken less time and would have looked much better.
While is possible for authors to figure out how to create their book cover on their own, the time spent learning to use design software and trying to create a cover design could be better spent working on the next book, or marketing a published book. And your book cover will look better when designed by a professional.
Myth 2: “I know what I want my cover to look like. Why bother working with a graphic designer?”
It is true that no one will ever know the characters and the plot of a book as well as the author who has spent countless hours on the book, but the reality is that many authors can’t step away from their book and think about it objectively.
Working with a graphic designer can give an author a new perspective and the benefit of sharing and discussing cover concept ideas before designing anything.
Myth 3: “The book cover design isn’t that important. My book concept is brilliant and it will go viral.”
In bookstores and online there is fierce competition among authors for a potential reader’s attention. And readers do judge books by their cover, or at the very least, they weigh the quality of the book cover especially when considering an author they have never heard of.
While some potential readers use online reviews as a rough guide to what they may consider buying, it is often the cover that first attracts their attention and leads them to reading a synopsis and making the decision to buy a book or not.
A book cover that is bland or less than professional will probably be skipped over.
Myth 4: “My family and friends say my book cover design is perfect.”
I hate to break this to you, but friends and family just can’t always be objective or brutally honest. A book cover needs to be attractive and must have a balance of design, typography and color. Friends and family may not be able to tell you exactly what is wrong with the cover or what you need to do to make the cover better.
Myth 5: “The cover is not that important. I just need to get my book out there and get going on my next book.”
When an author begins building their brand, using a DIY book cover can work against the author. Some readers will see a mediocre cover and automatically assume the book’s content must also be mediocre.
While it is true that a great book may reside behind a DIY cover, an author can build their brand faster and better with a professional and attractive book cover.