What I Learned About Designing A Cover For Self Published Writers
It was a painstaking process this business of changing my old book covers to brand spanking new ones. The idea came when I decided to re-brand my author image and go for something that, to me, represented my writing style, my books and me. The whole 're-branding' process took weeks of planning, procrastinating, self-doubt and trying to second guess everyone else's opinion. Impossible. So why bother?
In the end it came down to what made me feel good about me as the writer. All opinions are subjective. I realised I could neither win fans or (hopefully) lose any just because of a book cover. Could I?
Below are the old version to new version concepts as they will appear on Amazon. I love the covers, but in changing them, this is what I learned:
Have a professional design your book cover if you are not a graphic artist and are clueless. Lots of indie and self-published authors design their own book covers. Some are very good at it, some not so much. Have the courage to admit when you're out of your depth. Of the the things a self-published author needs to spend some cash on to make their books stand out - a book cover is probably one of them. Maybe third on the list after editing and proof-reading.
Spend time on the concept. Do you want readers to recognize a book as one written by you? If so decide on a theme for all your books going forward. I only thought of one book cover at a time. If I'd really thought it through, as a serious writer I wasn't going to stop at one book. So what did I want my book covers to say about me? Which takes us back to the idea of seriously thinking about author branding before you even publish your website!
As a relatively unknown author there was no point in doing a major cover reveal. I spent the last couple of years away from social media and allowing my identity to be lost amongst the million other authors in my genre. So if I did turn up on Twitter or Facebook saying, "Look at me. Look at what I did!" who would give a stuff? No one. I wish now that I had tried to engage readers with the process and sought ideas and opinions along the way. That would have made more sense because the people who were noticing my journey might have commented on it, sympathised and been more likely to read what was in the books in the first place!
The last thing I learned was, if you have an idea you feel strongly about then in the end you just have to go for it. Take a chance, take a risk and just do it. In the end writing is a lonely occupation and leaving your writing den in the early hours of the morning to see what the rest of the world is doing is not always healthy. What is healthy is having the courage of your convictions. Even if that means going ahead and designing a cover when all you can draw is a stick man then do it. All of the above are just opinion after all.
The New Covers:
All the new covers were designed by wonderfully kind and extremely talented Rima Salloum! Check her out :)