I have been reading a lot in the indie circle lately on the topic of book covers. I've came across some blogs on the subject and there's an entire post on CreateSpace where authors ask strangers to rate their covers.
In my opinion the cover sells the book and to start the process by simply adding clip art with colorful font is a mistake. This is especially important for indie authors; because there's no big publishing marketing machine hired to do the task for you therefore the job should take much consideration.
I've seen some really bad covers out there, I mean really bad. Come on, you have too. A bad cover is a dead giveaway for an indie book. This is the one aspect where it is wise to spend money if you can.
When hiring an artist to create your cover you should do the following.
1. Ask to see samples of their work.
2.Communicate your vision. When I began the process of creating my cover for "The chick friends rules! Freshman year"; I had one vision, I wanted it to look like scribbles on note book paper.
3.Have a focus group of your target audience critique your cover. If they don't like it, the book won't sell and you should start over.
4.Ask your artist to create 2 covers.
5.Wait for the "wedding dress" affect. Ladies, remember when you bought your wedding dress and you cried when you found "the dress". That's exactly how you should feel when you see your cover; emotional. (For men just think the car you loved most)
This is where an author has to be a cut throat business person; I know it's especially hard for women to do because we're trained not to hurt anyone's feelings. But when your neighbors friend who's an artist agrees to do your cover for $50 bucks and you hate it you have to fire them. This is your career! Sometimes the thought of spending extra money on a new artist or starting again in square one is depressing but after spending all that time writing your novel doesn't it deserve premium packaging?
I've included some photos to share my book cover process.
What an amazing difference.
My artist was able to take my vision or lack of vision to create something truly amazing.
But my work wasn't done. I had a back up book cover.
I tried to upload it to show you guys but I got an error. Bummer. It was simply "notebook paper" look with the name of the book written in "typewriter" font in red.
Anyway. I had two book cover to choose from. I sent both covers with my daughter who at the time was a junior in high school and asked her to show the covers to at least 25 of her classmates. She tallied the votes and the busy colorful cover was favored by an overwhelming margin.
How do I know my cover works? Because teen readers compliment me on my "cool" covers all the time. I've had some criticism from adults who hate my covers but adults aren't my target audience teens between the ages of 13-17 are, so as long as they love it, its mission accomplished.
Please share your "cover" stories by leaving a comment.