“If you have already passed that hurdle of having a customer be attracted to the cover, and then they pick up the book,” said Patricia Bostelman, vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble, “an enormous battle has been won.”
–New York Times
When have you ever bought a book with an awful cover from an author you’ve never heard of? I know I haven’t. If a good title is a magnet to book buyers, a good cover is the superconducting particle accelerator. It collides books with buyers. In seconds, you attract a reader’s attention away from the competition. It buys you first impressions and second chances. Covers form instant opinions in a single snapshot. They have the power to shape the perception of the story and the strength of your writing. In the mind of a book buyer, covers mean quality. The better the cover, the higher the quality.
So let me get straight to the point: Never, EVER design your own book cover. I don’t care how good you think you are, you’re going to end up with something so ugly it’d make a train take a dirt road.
Of course, hiring a designer costs money, but you should see it as the single best financial investment you can make in marketing your book on Amazon. Depending on the complexity of the cover and the depth of the designer’s experience it can cost as little as three hundred dollars to as high as a couple of thousand.
Sell Your Books on Amazon
Let’s talk about budget for a second because I know even $300-$500 can be an obstacle for a lot of writers. You are reading my blog because you want to know how to sell your books on Amazon. Well, just like you can’t make the dough rise in the oven without turning on the heat, you can’t make it rise on Amazon without opening your wallet.
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A cover that costs $300 may be a lot of money for a struggling writer, but if it helps you generate even a measly $1,000 a month ($12,000 a year), that “cost” sounds more like an investment to me. If you could turn $300 into a $12,000 annuity, you’d be a fool not to beg, borrow, or steal the money.
How To Choose A Book Designer
You want a professional book designer like Carl Graves, who does a lot of work for best selling authors like J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler. You can find him here. Of course, he’s not the only one—there are many, but their cost goes into the high hundreds or low thousands depending on what you need. How to find them? Look for covers you love from Kindle-only books. It’s a mark of an indie author who isn’t backed by legacy publisher. Meaning, they hired a freelance book cover designer they’d be happy to refer to you. Follow the author’s blogs (if they have one) to see how to contact them.
The best way to find experienced book designers in a more affordable category is to go through one of your local book printing companies. They hire dependable graphic designers who work on a ton of self-published books. You can also get referrals from other self-published authors in forums or blogs like writersdigest.com.
It’s always best to choose a seasoned, professional book designer but any capable graphic designer can do the job. For affordable but experienced designers (try to get somebody with three to five years of design experience) do a search on guru.com or elance.com. For the absolute cheapest alternative, go here . You set a price you’re willing to pay and 99designs set up a contest among the designers willing to work on your project (the higher the price, the more likely you’ll get a lot of designers). This is a great way to get multiple book covers to choose from. There are some truly amateur designers on this site, so buyer beware.