5 Myths about Custom Book Covers
Your cover is one of the most important factors in selling your book. People will judge your book by its cover, and sometimes that alone is the deciding factor in whether a reader clicks on the “buy now” button at the end of the day.
Now, there are several ways you can go about getting a book cover. Some writers prefer to pick up pre-made covers or design covers on tools like Canva or Bookbrush. But what about a truly custom cover?
Here are five of the most common myths about custom book covers, and the truth behind each.
You don’t need to get accepted to a big publishing house to have your own custom book cover. On the contrary, self-published authors have access to the same resources—and the same quality of resources—as big-name publishing houses. That means that you can get a top-notch cover, even if you’re self-publishing and this is your first book.
The same holds true for everything else in publishing—editors, book signings, etc. Never think that something is impossibly out of your reach simply because you decided to take it on yourself.
Let me put it this way: bad custom book covers are easy to design. For something that will turn a total stranger into a hardcore fan, you’ll need a little more work. That being said, you can’t expect to open Photoshop and design a cover worthy of a bookshop window. Your cousin who works as a graphic designer won’t be as great as you’d expect either. Book cover design has unique rules, fads, and faux pas that only an experienced cover designer can pick out.
Of course, cover designers do like to hear if you have something in mind. If you like designing covers, you can create your own and send it along as an example. You’ll be surprised at the quality of work a professional can do for it.
A custom cover from a high-tier designer can cost into the thousands, but don’t despair! Sites like 99designs can give you the same quality job for only a couple hundred dollars. Many independent artists (whom you can find on premade cover sites) are willing to work for less still and eager to take on new projects.
If you’re really broke, or trying publishing for the first time and not wanting to rake up too much in debt, there are artists on Fiverr who can perform decent work for under $50.
Note: Fiverr covers are fantastic on the go and awesome if you’re starting out, but you won’t get anything special. Most of these covers are thrown together quickly and will look generic or even forgettable. They’re just attractive enough to blend in on a storefront--which sometimes is all you need.
The best book covers are custom-made, but not all custom covers are the best. Make sure you review samples of an artist’s work before committing or putting in an offer. Fiverr in particular has a problem with cover artists using other book covers as examples of their own work. The best place to check is in the review section where authors will share the covers made for them.
Conversely, some premade covers are incredibly well done and attractive, and you could easily find one that fits your tastes and buy it at a much lower price than a custom cover would have been.
If you want to go places with your writing, you don’t need to buy a custom cover. What matters is that your cover is good—that it is attractive and eye-catching and that it communicates effectively to prospective readers what your book is about.
That might be a custom cover, but it could also be a premade cover or an altered template with a similar theme. Your cover does not need to be incredibly unique. It doesn’t need to tell half your story or distinguish itself from similar covers, at least not as much as you might think.
Whichever cover design you choose to pursue, make sure that it captures the feeling and mood of your book so that interested readers can know they’ve discovered a treat.
How do you get your book covers? Please share your process in the comments below or join my group for self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook for further discussion.