If you are anything like me, then you:
- A) Dream to see your book characters illustrated,
- B) Cannot draw a believable humanoid if your life depended on it.
Luckily, this is where my personal superhero, TheSwanMaindeN, comes in.
When you get an artist to illustrate your characters, you can take different routes. You could describe in detail what exactly you want to see, you could give them complete freedom, or you could go anywhere in between.
When I asked TheSwanMaideN to illustrate my book cover, I gave her a detailed description of what exactly needed to be there. However, when it came to Armida’s portrait, I decided to try something different and to give her only a vague idea about the character. “You are great at drawing hair,” I said, “and even better at drawing dresses. Go for it.”
This was one of my better decisions because – surprise, surprise! – it turns out her imagination is way better than mine. What I got was this:
So far I have covered the simpler, faster, and cheaper ways to get a beautiful ebook cover – a DIY or a premade cover. Unfortunately, for many authors these option’s don’t work. You may have something specific in mind for your cover, and no single stock image or a premade template captures it. In that case, you’ll need to work with a designer or an illustrator.
Designers work like this:
– You share your vision of what you’d like to see on the cover, including key elements and general mood
– The designer picks one or more stock photos, manipulates them to create the desired image, and adds a genre-appropriate font. Usually designers are subscribed to a stock image supplier and can download an unlimited number of photos at no additional cost for them
– There are several rounds of revisions, where you can give back your cover and request changes Continue reading
In the first part of this post, I covered the DIY methods of creating an ebook cover – using your own photo, creating a simple cover yourself, or buying a stock photo and adding text. If your are not confident in your designer skills, or you just want something more, you’ll need to hire extra help. The good news is, you can get a professionally designed ebook cover for as little as $30.
Photo vs. Illustration
One important decision you need to make is if you want a photo or an illustration on the cover. As I researched book covers, I saw many claims that photos sell better and that photos create more powerful images. Coincidentally, all of these claims were made by designers of photo-based covers.
I finished my book’s initial draft over a year ago, and since then, I’ve been preparing to self-publish. I’ve been commissioning editors and artists and reading a lot on ebook and paperback formatting. This is the first post in my Self-Publish Like a Pro series, in which I’m planning to share what I have learned along the way and hopefully help other indie authors.
Normally the publisher will take care of editors, formatting and book covers, and will cover all the expenses. Indie authors need to act as mini publishing houses. They need to assemble the best team of professionals, who would together deliver the highest-quality final product, all the while working on a (usually) very tight budget. Continue reading