Self Pub Book Covers – A Review

Every book needs a great cover. It’s one of the most important decisions you will make, and indie authors have a fair number of options available. The process for my current book, Rise of the Draman, took an unexpected turn and I ended up using a pre-made cover from SelfPubBookCovers. Let me tell you how I got there and offer a review of their services.

The covers for all seven of my previous books have been designed by the same graphic artist. I assumed she would also take care of number eight and began the process. It became clear after a little back and forth that we were not on the same page! The problem this time was the nature of my book – a medieval-ish fantasy tale requiring a dragon on the cover. This was not her forte, as she mostly deals with modifying photographs or pre-existing artwork. She gave it the old college try, but in the end I had to admit defeat and look elsewhere.

I searched through a passel of websites offering both pre-made and custom covers. Some were very limited in scope (romance books only, for example), others lacked quality, and prices were all over the map. After a while I narrowed my search to those specializing in fantasy, and while this helped, most of them were too expensive or I didn’t care for their blood-thirsty, demon-eyed, dragon-on-the-rampage images.

The first one I contacted offered both pre-made and custom covers at a somewhat reasonable starting price, so I made an initial inquiry. While it wasn’t quite bait and switch, they quickly discouraged a pre-made and pushed for a custom job beginning at $900.00. Sorry, this indie author doesn’t have that kind of money!

In the past, I had looked at SelfPubBookCovers.com, and decided to give them another try. They claim to be the “world’s leading marketplace for high-quality, affordably priced, pre-made book covers”, with 30,000 to choose from. Once you create a user name and password, you can save your favorites as you search – essential, given the number of covers available. After much debate, I made my selection and then the fun began. The one I wanted required a modification. Here is their process:

  1. Please send us the file name of the cover you are interested in, along with a sentence explaining the modification you are looking for.2. We will contact the artist to see if it can be done for our minimum fee of $50 (which is in addition to the cover purchase price).

    3. We will get back to you with a confirmation. At that time we will ask you to purchase the cover and for you to take care of the modification fee.

    4. You will see the modification, and will have 2 rounds of comments/adjustments. If additional changes (more than 2) are requested, there is a $25 per round fee.

    If this is acceptable, please send us the book cover file name and how you would like it modified.

    NOTE: Please DO NOT buy the cover you are interested in having modified until we confirm that the modification can be made.

Seem clunky to you? It did to me, as I was used to dealing directly with the artist myself via email. I also did not like having to pay before seeing the end result, but I understand why it’s necessary. In the end it worked out fine, and the next time it won’t seem quite as daunting. The modification I needed was very simple – exchange the silhouette of a little girl to a boy. After one more minor adjustment, their work was done, AND they kept their promise of a 5-day turnaround (including Christmas day) – impressive!

SMALL-72dpi-1500x2000

Afterwards, you are free to log in and use their software to add the book title, author name, tag line, etc. This can be done any time following delivery of the finished file, though you are limited as to color, font, and placement. Remember – once you make the purchase, that cover will never be sold to anyone else in the future – it’s YOURS.

So what about the cost? Was it truly affordable? Yes. Most of the covers run around a hundred dollars without modifications. Mine was priced at $78.00 + the $50.00 modification fee, for a total of $128.00. For an indie author on a tight budget, this was a terrific bargain.

Will I use their service again? Yes, I expect to at some point. Would I recommend it to anyone else? Again, yes. Even if you are not concerned about cost, they have some wonderful covers available. Give SelfPubBookCovers a try!

Note – if you have found a pre-made cover shop you like, let me know in the comments!

Expectant Moon Gets a Makeover

The importance of a great cover cannot be overstated. It’s crucial to grab a potential reader’s attention while also giving them a general idea of what kind of book they are looking at. Great, now you’re halfway there! The second step is to provide an enticing book description, which, if done correctly, peaks their interest and convinces them to purchase. I’m going to save step two for another post and focus on the cover today.

One of the challenges an indie author faces is the overwhelming body of knowledge needed to successfully publish a book. Assuming you have a great story and the manuscript has been written well and edited properly, you’re still left with all the marketing issues – including the items mentioned above. I was arrogant enough to believe I knew better than my graphic artist what a great book cover should look like. Consequently my choices have been underwhelming, affecting sales and my brand. (Yes, my other books need new covers too, but I can’t afford to change them all right now.)

Well, this old dog really CAN learn new tricks! At times it’s difficult for me to admit I was wrong, swallow my pride, and let the “experts” guide me. Perhaps you share the same struggle and know what I mean. Anyway, with Traitor’s Moon nearing completion, I was determined to find an AWESOME cover for it. The original plan was to model it after Expectant Moon’s with slight changes. Now, I’m very fond of the present artwork and wouldn’t normally spend the money to replace it so soon, but I’d made too many mistakes and it had to go.

After eating a generous portion of humble pie, I contacted my graphic artist with a request to start from scratch and design the whole series, which will include at least three books. This time, I gave her the freedom to do it properly and ignore my input if it got in her way. The difference between the old and new is quite striking and early feedback is convinced I’ve got a winner. Tell me what you think!

New Cover:

Expectant Moon - SM Final

Old Cover:

ExpectantMoon - Small sz