OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
The design and production of a professional book cover is a critical part of the self-publishing process.
I absolutely believe that using a professional cover designer is critical to enable your book to stand out in the market, but I also realize that this can be expensive for people.
In this guest blog post GX of Graphicz X Designs talks about what makes a successful book cover and explains some of the options for authors on a budget. I really like the idea of ‘ready to go' ebook cover designs, so I hope you find this post interesting.
Congratulations! You’ve written your book and, following the advice given by successful self-publishers like Joanna, you’ve made sure it’s
a) the best book you could have written
b) free of typos and grammatical howlers
c) properly formatted to display correctly on e-readers.
You’re ready to publish…
But wait, your book’s still naked – you can’t possibly send it out into the world without something eye-catching to wear!
“Word of mouth” and great reviews will ultimately boost your book’s sales, but …
… the single most important thing to get your book noticed by potential readers is an eye-catching cover
And remember, you’re not just competing for recognition with all the other indie authors out there, you’re also up against traditionally published authors who may have the benefit of their publisher’s in-house art department behind them.
But what if you can’t afford to commission a custom cover from an illustrator or graphic designer?
It’s Catch 22, because you can’t afford not to have a great cover for your book. Is DIY your only option?
First, let’s take a look at why your book cover is so important – and what makes for an attractive (and therefore effective) book cover.
A book cover has a number of functions, but ultimately the most important one is to persuade a casual browser to read the book. The cover may be a work of art in its own right, it may be a realistic, it may be completely abstract. Whatever the image, its purpose is to “sell” the book.
A book cover has to be “attractive” – literally: it has to attract a potential reader… it’s basically a “teaser” for the whole book, serving the same function as a billboard for a new movie or TV show.
It can capture something of the specifics of the story, it’s genre and tone and can even incorporate ideas or images from the book – but the single most important thing it has to do is make a potential reader go, “That's interesting” or “That's intriguing” and convert a browser into a buyer.
And if all that wasn’t difficult enough, you have to remember that your ebook cover (unlike a print book displayed on a table in a bookstore) has to work at about postage stamp size on a laptop or e-reader screen. Clarity is all-important, especially for the title and author name, which are easily lost otherwise.
So now you know why you’ll be letting your book down if you don’t send it out into the world properly dressed, but what if you still can’t afford a custom cover?
Well, there is always DIY – but if you’re not a confident and competent artist or graphic designer you may end up with one of the covers that make me cringe (and sometimes cry!) when I see them online.
And creating a cover takes time, time maybe better spent on writing another potential bestseller…
There is a third, economical and effective option that not many authors seem to be aware of: the “Ready-to-go” ebook cover (also known as “Pre-made” or “Pre-designed”).
So what exactly is a “Ready-to-go” book cover – and what are the benefits?
Most importantly, it's a way to get a professionally designed, high quality ebook cover at a fraction of the cost of a custom designed cover.
There’s no difference in image or design quality between the custom covers we design at Graphicz X Designs and the ready-to-go ebook covers: whichever cover you buy, it will be an exclusive, one-off design – your cover, your copyright. No one else gets to use it.
Ready-to-go ebook covers are less expensive than custom covers for a number of reasons: they may incorporate fewer images or be a simpler, more abstract design, but the main reason is the amount of time we spend with an author on the consultation process when we design a custom cover from scatch.
With ready-to-go ebook covers, once you’ve made your selection from our website, all our graphic designer has to do is add your name and your book title and you’re “ready-to-go”!
Ready-to-go covers can be effective even if they have not been designed specifically for one particular novel or author: if a ready-to-go cover is attractive and suggests the genre and tone of your book, be it romance, fantasy, thriller etc., then it can work really well.
And for some authors, and you may be one of them, it may even be preferable to choose a ready-to-go ebook cover, especially if you have only a vague idea of the sort of cover you want.
I think that selecting a pre-made from a wide selection of possible covers is often easier than having a custom cover designed. Many people don’t know exactly what will suit them until they see a cover and connect with it. And if you, the author, connect with it, then your readers probably will too.
The beauty of ready-to-go book covers is that what you see is what you get.
But what if you see exactly the right cover for your book, but you feel it’s missing something essential?
No problem! For a small additional fee, the pre-made cover you fell in love with can be further customized with images, logos, different fonts etc. Anything you want!
So, if you’re looking for a professionally crafted but economical eye-catching cover for your ebook, check out ready-to-go ebook covers: on our website alone there are several hundred choices – looking good doesn’t have to cost a fortune!
Graphicz X Designs
Do you have any questions or comments about ebook covers? Please do leave them below.