Hey again everybody!
Sorry for the lack of updates–lots going on before I get to go into my well-deserved Spring Break next week! Assignments, trying to get enough sleep, classes… You know, the usual. Plus, I’ll admit, I haven’t gotten much done or been terribly motivated, but I guess that happens every once in awhile. 🙂 I haven’t written anything since Valentine’s, but I have HIGH HOPES to get to at least 50k words by the time I go back to school, so I’ll let you all know how that goes. In the mean time, you get this!
The Cover Conundrum
I love that word, don’t you? Conundrum. It just isn’t thrown around as much as it should be. And okay, maybe it’s not a conundrum just yet–more of a nagging consideration.
What do I do about a cover for my book?
Everyone knows, or should know, that the cover is extremely important when it comes to books. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may be all well and good, but the fact is that before you ever decide to read a book, you have to pick it out–and that will happen, more likely than not, because the cover stands out. I know that the cover is what I look at when I’m browsing in a bookstore, the library, or in the Kindle store looking for a new read. Sometimes the book doesn’t live up to the cover, which is always disappointing, but hey–I picked it out and started reading it.
Which is half the battle, right? If your cover looks like something you threw together in five minutes on Paint, it doesn’t matter if it’s the new Great American Novel, the chances of anyone reading it–unless you’re paying them or it’s their job–are pretty dang low.
For instance, I am far less likely to (see: never going to) read this first book, with a quite frankly creepy, terrifying, and all-around unappealing, cover, than I am to read the second, with a gorgeous and intriguing cover. (In fact, I already bought the second to read!)
On a related note, did you actually know that “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen went through several different covers before finding the one that turned it into the phenomenon it was? It’s true! Sure it was a great book, but it wasn’t until they found the right cover, the one that made people reach for it, that everyone finally realized it. Just proof of how important your presentation really is.
So! Now that I’ve over-iterated my conundrum, let me actually talk about it–I’m not sure what to do about my own cover. The fact is I’m a terribly poor college student with no disposable income and no job. That will change at least a little bit when I get home in the spring, but not a whole lot. But I want to give my book the best kind of fighting chance it should get. So…
Do I buy a cover from an expert? Or do I try to blunder along on my own?
I already have a mock-up idea of what I would like, and have taken some steps to making a cover of my own, with the help of a few graphics artists I know. That’s free, with the exception of paying a small fee to the owner of the stock photos. (Negligible.) But none of us is a professional, and in the end I feel like it would still look like someone without formal training threw some images together and used the ‘Blur’ tool. (Don’t judge.)
On the other hand, I could pay from $300 to $500 to someone, but get a really nice cover. (Although it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows–apparently if you sell more than a certain number (250,000) of copies, you have to pay for the Shutterstock picture royalties ($100 per image.))
That’s a decent chunk of change for someone like me, especially since I will already have to pay to have someone format the book, but it’s FAR less than some people I know have spent on getting their own books published. (Amounts of money the sum of which I have never laid eyes on.)
BUT THE COVERS ARE SO PRETTY.
I have my eye on Awesome Book Covers by Damonza. The sample covers section has some truly beautiful works, and there’s even pre-designed covers you can buy that are much cheaper (and include minor edits.) While the cost makes me wince, there’s no denying that a cover can make or break you.
So what do you think?
Have you made your own cover or commissioned one? Which would you do, if it came down to it? Are there other cover designers out there that you like better, or are cheaper to hire? I could use any and all advice!