Guest Post by Karen Baney
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m an indie author and as such, I have had to learn a lot of things through trial by fire. My first covers were a little scary. While I paid an artist for the artwork, I tried to do the layout and design on my own. I mean, I know how to use Photoshop, so I could do this and save some money, right?
Wrong. Sort of. My covers weren’t so bad that no one picked up my books at all. But, they could have been better. At some level, I knew that.
So, in early 2012, I contacted a graphic designer and had him re-design the cover layouts. Wow! I wish I would have done that before launching any of my books. He created a unified, branded design for me that we’ll use on all my books going forward. When a reader sees the black bar at the bottom of a book cover with the center circle, I want them to think “Karen Baney.”
Why is good cover design important?
• Cover art is everywhere – on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, your website, attached to guest posts, included in interviews, and more. It sets the tone for your brand—what readers will remember and identify about you as an author.
• Cover art establishes a first impression, so make it a good one – Whether positive or negative, cover art establishes a reader’s first thought about a book. They make assumptions about the quality of the writing, style of the writing, genre, setting, etc. all from the cover art.
• Fonts, color, and style help the reader guess the genre – There’s nothing like setting a cover in front of some friends, family, and beta readers and just asking the question: What does this cover tell you about the book? One of the initial concepts of my cover redesign had a font that came off as action/adventure. I asked for a font that communicated romance better and my designer delivered.
Be careful when making or paying for a cover design.
Here are a few tips:
• Don’t use a cover generator – Your cover should be 100% unique to you and your book. If you use a cover generator (software or template online), how does that say this book is by you?
• Think about how the cover will look as a thumbnail image on a website – The first obstacle to getting a reader to buy your book once they are on a website (i.e. Amazon) is how the cover looks as an itty bitty thumbnail. Some covers look fantastic full size but terrible at a small size.
• Keep it simple – Don’t go for an overly complex layout and design especially if you try to do this on your own. Less is more.
• Find an experienced graphic designer – In order to put your best foot forward, go with a professional. And don’t over pay. A complete cover (artwork, layout, design) should cost you between $250 – $500 and it should include both the ebook version and print versions.
Remember, your cover communicates a ton about your book. Make sure it fits your genre, draws readers to your book, and puts your best foot forward.
A Hope Revealed (Prescott Pioneers #4)
Pain. Disappointment. Fear.
Life turned out differently than Mary Colter expected. With her abusive husband either missing or dead, and the ranch gone, she is left to raise her two children on her own. When a neighbor takes compassion on her, she finds her hope ignited—perhaps she can start over on her brother-in-law’s ranch in Arizona.
Warren Cahill is confronted with one problem after another in his new role as foreman of Colter Ranch. Missing cattle and hot-headed cowhands take most of his attention. When Mary arrives at the ranch, tensions rise and he finds himself in the middle of it.
Will Mary’s hope for a life free from abuse finally be realized? Can Warren move beyond his past to embrace a new hope?
Karen Baney is a best-selling self-published author with 5 fiction titles currently available, including her new release, Prescott Pioneers #4 – A Hope Revealed.
She also works as a Software Engineer and enjoys traveling the state of Arizona with her husband, exploring museums and the picturesque landscapes the state has to offer.
Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing. Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs. She also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University.
Karen Baney says
Thanks so much for hosting me Valerie. I hope your readers find these tips helpful!
I hope so, too. Thanks for your post, Karen 🙂