Savannah Cordova is responsible for Content Marketing at Reedsy where she is focused on helping Authors. She has contributed posts about writing and publishing to Writers Helping Writers, DIY MFA, IndieReader, and many more sites in the industry.
Congrats! You’ve finished your book, polished the writing, and you’re ready to get it into the hands of your adoring readers.
There’s just one last obstacle standing in your way — creating the perfect cover to, quite literally, bind it all together.
In the self-publishing world, you’ll often hear how important it is to hire a professional editor. Today, however, I’m here to convince you that hiring a professional cover designer is just as crucial to your book’s success, if not more so! Without further ado, here are three reasons why you shouldn’t tackle your cover on your own.
The cliché advice to not judge a book by its cover is rarely followed by readers. And to be honest, can you blame them? If a book’s cover looks sloppy and rushed, it’s human nature to assume the same about the contents within. Luckily, the reverse is also true: a clean, professional book cover will draw people in and give them an instantly positive impression of your writing.
So how do you come up with just the right cover for readers to judge? Though you, the author, know your book best, you should ultimately leave the execution to your designer. By all means, work collaboratively and give them some ideas for your final cover — if your talents stretch to art and photography, you could even provide some possible images for them to include — but it’s best to let a professional handle most of the details.
Remember that your cover should signal the genre of your book and offer some additional hints as to what it’s about, through everything from beautiful artwork to catchy taglines. Of course, as an author, you’ll likely be familiar with the general look of covers in your genre, but it’s the job of a professional cover artist to incorporate specific trends that will actually sell your book. They’ll know how to include the essential elements of your story on the cover without making it look too crowded, striking the perfect balance of genre-indicative and attractive.
With platforms like Amazon KDP, it’s easier than ever nowadays to write and publish an ebook. But as exciting as this is for self-publishing authors, it also means that competition is on the rise, with estimates stating that up to one million books are being self-published in the US each year.
As a result, you’ll need a cover that really stands out, even to people scrolling through pages upon pages of options. This cover doesn’t necessarily have to be brightly colored or experimental, but some eye-catching elements are vital to catching readers’ attention — especially if you’re writing in an extra-saturated genre like romance or thriller.
In terms of ebook cover effectiveness, you should also keep in mind that thumbnail images shown online are much smaller than the covers you’d see when browsing your local bookstore. This means your cover needs to work not just as a full-size image, but also in thumbnail form! Even if they can’t tell exactly what’s on the cover, people should be able to read the title and register the aesthetic at a glance.
A professional cover designer will understand how to do all this while sticking to the trends within your genre, and will be well-versed in the rules and guidelines of all the various self-publishing platforms to ensure you have no trouble when uploading.
A strong cover will also do wonders for your marketing campaigns — it doesn’t matter how great the copy in your listing is if the book itself looks unappealing. You want something that will halt even the most dedicated Instagrammer scrolling through their neverending feed and intrigue them enough to find out more.
A professional cover designer is your best bet for achieving this. After all, you wouldn’t expect a director to design billboards and posters to advertise their movies; why should this be any different for authors? From nailing the color and composition of your cover to designing suitable ads for the social platforms of your choice (this will cost extra, but it’s worth it), a designer can make your marketing journey go much more smoothly.
With all that in mind, hiring a cover designer ought to be a no-brainer when it comes to publishing your book. Whatever you decide to do, hopefully this post has given you a bit more insight re: just how much work goes into a strong cover — and even if you don’t hire a designer, remember to get friends’ feedback (and encouragement!) so at least you won’t be going it alone.