What is Self-Publishing?

According to Wikipedia, a definition of Self-Publishing is: Self-publishing is the publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. The term usually refers to written media, such as books and magazines, either as an ebook or as a physical copy using POD (print on demand) technology.

Basically, you do everything yourself; the writing, editing, proofreading, marketing, and yes, sorting out your book cover.

Alternatively, traditionally published authors write the book and then the publishers take care of everything else. The pros of this is that you can concentrate on the writing and not have to worry about anything else.

The downside is, you don’t have hardly any say/control in things like the front cover.

Is it really ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover?’

What do people think?

I ran a poll on my twitter, to ask how important is a book cover when readers make the choice whether to read certain books or not.

Below is the result of that poll.

Did it surprise you?

Being completely honest, I do personally judge a book by its cover, in 2 ways.

Firstly, if it looks professional and secondly if it looks like ‘my thing’.

What’s telling if you completely ignore the importance of a great book cover, you could be ignoring around 40% of your potential readers judging by this poll, so it is definitely something to focus on if you go down the self-publishing route.

What makes a good book cover design?

It has to look professional.

I hear a lot that if a front cover looks shoddy, then the interior is likely to be shoddy too.

Don’t get it confused with looking simple. You can have brilliantly simple but professional front covers, but you can tell when the author has literally just placed the first picture they can find with a basic font and then expect people to flock to their book like they don’t have millions of other choices.

It has to ‘fit’ the genre it is in.

What do I mean by this? Well, if you are writing a dark, serial killer type book, the front cover shouldn’t be bright pink with romantic swirly font all over it. It will confuse your readers and they will move on to the next book.

What makes a bad book cover design?

Plain and boring, unless that IS the plan.

I’ve seen certain book covers (that were traditionally published) that appeared plain, but it was deliberate and they were bestsellers. However, you know that everything was thought out meticulously.

I’m talking about just selecting a black background, adding red font with ‘The Alley Killer’ or something. (Literally just made that up!)

This is just not acceptable nowadays. There is so much software out there, or people willing to do it for a fair price.

Not very appealing is it?

How do I make a self-published book cover?

Canva is a great place to do it yourself if you are creative.

Or you can ask somebody on Fiverr and just type in book cover design and contact the designers.

Where can I get a book cover designer?

One of the first places we got our front covers from was from a company called 99 designs.

This is where we found our graphic designer Woot Han.

He designed the following books for us:

Or, you can choose people like Stuart Bache who is widely known as the best in the business for self-published and traditionally published authors.

He has designed the front covers or authors like Mark Dawson, Simon McCleave, and Adam Croft.

Pre-made book covers, any good?

I’ve yet to try these myself, and I’m on the fence about them. Yes, they would be so much better than designing them yourself if your skills don’t extend to graphic design however, I always think it’s better to have some kind of say in the outcome.

What color book cover sells best?

All depends on your genre.

Crime, thriller, mystery all tend to be dark colours

Romance, comedy, cozy tend to be brighter colours.

Happy writing!

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