Most authors, unless they are self-published, have no say in the design of what is arguably the single most important factor in drawing the notice of a browsing, potential reader to a book.
A well-designed cover piques a potential reader’s interest and can entice him/her to pick up the book or click on the image in order to read the blurb or a sample chapter. A poorly designed cover will do just the opposite.
Even if an author is allowed by the publisher to have some input into the cover-creation process, many times the finished product bears little to no resemblance to what the author had envisioned. The cover is what it is. The author’s approval is of little consequence. If she hates it, she has no choice but to grit her teeth, accept it and hope the marketing people responsible for the design know what they’re doing.
The cover for Skein of Fates, the first book in my new science fantasy series, has gone through several iterations. The final cover art is a result of a close collaboration between myself and the artist. I have the luxury of total control of the final product because I’m publishing under my own imprint—Norton Place Publishing, a company I own and run with my husband, fellow author Aaron Mason.The image does not illustrate a specific scene in the story but rather is meant to convey the overall mood of the book—the heroine is alone and cast adrift, separated by force from her former life. She has nothing but her wits and a single gun to protect her. At the same time, the image conveys that this story takes place on an alien planet, no matter that the heroine wears 19th century Old West-style mens’ clothing and is brandishing a six-shooter.
For indie authors, finding an artist who can take your idea for a cover and capture it in such a way that you say, “Yes! This is exactly how I imagined it in my mind!” shouldn’t be very hard. There are many, many talented artists out there. A lot of them charge very reasonable rates. Social media is a great resource for finding an artist that you love and can afford. Recommendations by fellow indie authors is another way.
Your book cover is too important. Don’t skimp on it!
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