One of the very best parts of the self-publishing process is that you get to choose your own cover. Revolutionary, I know!
In the traditional publishing process authors almost never have approval over their cover, and it’s even somewhat rare to have meaningful consultation. For some authors it can feel like “consultation” is limited to telling the editor how much you love your cover. I was fortunate enough to really love my covers for the Jacob Wonderbar series, but just about every other author I know has gone through cover hell with a publisher.
Here’s how I went about choosing my cover:
Choosing a designer
This one was pretty easy – over drinks my friend Mari Sheibley mentioned she was working on a cover for a university press, and I asked her if she’d do mine. She is a fabulously talented graphic designer, the brains behind early Foursquare badges and other influential Internet design.
She said yes, and a few weeks later I had concepts.
It had to look good as a thumbnail
This is kind of a no-brainer in this day and age. I knew I wanted my title and my name to be readable even if the cover was just a thumbnail so it would pop as people are browsing on Amazon and B&N.
I also knew for branding purposes and general favorite color reasons I wanted to go with an orange color palette. Those were my only two requirements. I left the rest up to Mari.
Envisioning how it would look in an e-bookstore
Mari naturally came up with several different awesome cover concepts, which made it really difficult to choose. I polled my friends and there were two main contenders, but people were pretty evenly split on which one they preferred. I kept waffling back and forth.
But then my friend Sharon Vaknin sent me an e-mail that blew my mind. It included these two attachments:
See what she did there? By simply pasting the cover concepts in competitive search results it was totally apparent which one popped more. I went with the one that featured more orange.
Do. This. If you’re deciding between two or more covers make sure you know how it will look among other similar books on Amazon and BN.com and Goodreads and everywhere else books appear online. It’s wonderfully clarifying.
And there you have it! Fellow self-publishers, how did you go about choosing your cover? Any tricks of the trade?
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For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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