It’s no secret in the literary world that a bad cover will turn a massive amount of your potential audience away. A good cover, on the other hand, one that can dazzle or amaze readers, will make it so they just HAVE to click on it . . . or, better yet, buy it.
But . . . the need for a stupendous cover comes with a problem. Or, should I say, a price tag? Like, a major price tag. Potentially. And you’ve probably just spent your money on the editing, proofreading, maybe even the formatting. You don’t want to put out hundreds more for a cover, no matter how awesome.
So, how do you find a good cover to sell your book without breaking the bank?
Research. Research the cover design artists of your favorite books. Maybe you’ll find they’re freelancers who charge a bit less.
Try Fiverr. There are many, many cover designers on Fiverr, some who are great, some who are not. Do your research carefully on there and ALWAYS ask for a mock-up before you place your order. On the bright side, Fiverr sellers usually charge significantly less than other freelancers.
Have images ready to go. You may be working with a cover designer who will charge LESS if you have stock images ready to be edited. However, this will come with the additional licensing cost when you purchase the stock images – AND you need to be very sure that you’re choosing the best images for your cover.
Know your genre. Very, very well. You can’t do enough scouring of Amazon and Goodreads for books in your genre, taking note of styles, trends, and colors used for covers in your genre. Let’s look at some examples.
Hopefully you can see the similarities in these two historical fantasy covers. They both features blues, highlighted with other colors (bluish/grey or gold, respectively), centered, pronounced text, a landscape, and an object, presumably one that is pertinent to each story (I’ve only read one of the two books).
These two historical fiction samples are good examples of the pronounced text and natural colors (subdued compared to fantasy) that seem common in the genre. When bold colors are used, red is apparently common based on the brief research I did (the coat and train in the first example and the text in the second).
Also, when doing your own research, don’t go for the most general term possible (i.e. fantasy or sci-fi). Dig into your sub-genre (i.e. portal fantasy or space opera). If you’re writing an apocalyptic EMP thriller, you’ll find your highly specialized genre ALSO has very specific cover design trends. Don’t copy somebody else’s cover – make it yours, make it reflect the soul of your story – but don’t reinvent the wheel, either.
Remember: Your cover must capture the emotions of potential readers. It is your very first hook.
Let’s chat! What is your all-time favorite book cover and why? What advice would you give for designing your very best cover?