Saturday, May 31, 2014

Covers, because of course people judge a book by the cover

Okay, book is done and it's time to take all the finished pages and bundle it up into a pretty package for sale. Oh, you thought the countless hours spent writing and revising it into coherent and an intelligible story was all you needed to do? That's cute. 

Now, it's time for the cover, finding a good cover shouldn't be so hard. There are so many cover artists out there, but that's kind of the problem. Competition is fierce and covers are so important that it isn't a piece you can skimp on. Oh, you can do it yourself? That's cute, really. Go ahead and go for it, the books that aren't moving, from this post by Jami Gold (, 50% percent more of those authors with books selling had professional covers. You wanna kiss half of your readers goodbye before they even open your book? 

Remember that post I wrote about giving your readers what they want? Well, the cover gives that impression. Me, I write erotic romance and my covers have people almost nekkid and in a tight clinch. This is not a fade to black story the cover screams and if it did, people would probably feel robbed. The cover sets the whole tone, as someone in my writer's group has found. Her book is murder mystery, with a geriatric heroine so people are probably thinking cozy mystery. That's what the cover says and that's even what the blurb indicates but not even close. You open it up and it's a gritty, unflinching blood-soaked story. The word surprise keeps popping up in her reviews and that's not a good thing. Does she need a new title, cover and maybe even a more descriptive blurb? Maybe all of the above. Personally I don't think it's a bad cover, I was impressed actually as she did do it herself. But there's no punch to it, nothing that makes you stop and wonder what the story is about or indicates blood is spilled in the first few pages and just keeps running.  

It's understandable that people think covers should be easy, half the covers on books in the bookstore aren't that impressive. Yeah, but they're published and approved and that's approval that an indie doesn't have. Cover prices are all over the place, most premade covers running anywhere to $30 to as high as $150. You can change the font (sometimes) but too much specialization and the costs start adding up. Custom covers start at $100 and can go up $1200, ($1200??? Seriously?) yes, seriously. Most want to charge three hundred and that's for up to three stock photos and two or three back and forth fixing. 

I trawled the web for months, and I do mean months to find my cover artist. TOTALLY WORTH IT. She's super easy to work with, works quick and ridiculously under priced. Her name is Carrie and you can find her at CheekyCovers her premades are solid and even her custom pricing isn't crazy. Another cover artist is apparently the go to (this made my bull-headed ass run the other way) for indies. Her prices are good and her work is impressive but her custom covers seemed out of my range and I knew I wanted the knot on all my covers and a little something memorable. But from what I have heard she's a good option, EbookIndieCovers her premade selection is huge and is comprised of several different genres from romance to mystery to poetry.  AlchemyBookCovers and Design caught my eye not just because the covers are so cheap, (they start at $25!!!) there is an interesting style and depth that make them eye catching. I know nothing about delivery and working with the person but definitely worth a try, let me know how it works out. KitFosterDesign premade covers are 75 pounds and they blew me away, mystery, thrillers and suspense seem to be his specialty. He's out of  England and even his custom cover pricing seems reasonable, check him out but just remember there's an exchange rate and you might want to run it through the exchange calculator before you hit buy. The premades at Damonza run way higher than I was willing to even consider. HOWEVER, there are custom covers that don't look as good as the premades, they are $195 and custom covers run from $395 to $720 (ouch) but if the premades look so good, it definitely seems like it could very well be worth it. 99designs I feel has to get a mention but the prices start high and just keep going higher. Yes, they are all custom as the way it works is you buy at a price level (that starts at $299 and goes up to $1199) and then designers basically bid as submitting a cover but it just seems like a lot for a who knows what you will get. 

It's all perspective, there's no doubt about that but remember to weigh the cost versus the benefit. It can take a while to find the right artist but your cover is your first introduction to your story so make it a good one. Also, make sure you don't end up here Lousybookcovers I know someone who did and they were pretty torn up about it. Not the kind of advertising you want. 

Want to shout out your cover artist, feel free to comment. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you Fiona for the info on the importance of good book covers. I fear writers are putting themselves in the proverbial corner cow-towing to the last blown away cover. The reading public I knew and am, never judged a book that way, but we are teaching them. ah well. As always,you nailed it.(I'm so old we used to say, 'hit the nail on the head') anyway, you did it. I know you write stories about 'nekkid' people, but that's not all you do. You have a classy way of writing that comes through, no matter what the story. Keep it up girl. Keep writing in whatever genre you choose. The result will be stellar!