By Maggy Contreras, July 7th 2021

Self Published Authors: Should you DIY your book cover?

The short answer is: no.

But why not DIY my own book cover, you may ask yourself. You wrote it, after all. Who knows your baby better than you?.

The amazing world of self-publishing

If you are reading this article, it is possible that you are a self-published author. And that is amazing! Good for you!

You are now entering the world of self-publishing which is completely different if compared to the traditional publishing world where you just need to write your amazing book and your publisher will take care of things such as editing, cover design, printing, marketing, and sales. Because that's what they do. They figure out everything for you.

In the self-publishing world, you are already doing almost everything by yourself, whether you are using an online publishing platform like Kindle Direct Publishing ,  Il mio libro (Italy) or getting external help to edit. It means you still have to think about the cover design, printing, and marketing depending on the platform or road you've chosen.

Well, let me tell you a little secret: you don't have to do it all by yourself. You can delegate.

A very visual era

Let's imagine you have already done most of the work: the writing. You poured your soul, sweat and tears into your book and now you have to let it go to spread its wings and compete against other wonderful books.

Unless you are an already self-published-super-famous author, even if your book is the greatest work of the century, if it presents itself with an ugly cover, well, the other beautiful-shiny-fancy books are just going to crush it. I'm sorry but that is the truth.

People already struggle to choose from two identical toothbrushes with slightly different shades of green. Because we are humans and we are not sure if we prefer minty green or deep green. So why not make other humans' lives easier by helping them choose your book over another?

We are living in a very visual era where every image and look counts. People do choose by the cover, so the least you can do for yourself and your book is to give it the cover it deserves. Otherwise, you are making a disservice to yourself and to all your hard work and passion.

Invest in a designer for your book cover

You can look at hiring a designer to make a book cover for you as an investment: like pouring money into your children's education fund so that when they get older and become doctors and financial brokers, they can financially maintain you. I'm kidding of course, your children can become whatever they want to be.

Jokes aside, your designer is your friend and here are 3 reasons why:

1. Designers know their stuff, and they will advise you accordingly.

Just like you knew how and when to write your book, the designer you hire will know the process of designing your book cover. You will not have to worry about preparing the artboard in the correct size or remembering to leave space for bleeding (not like blood bleeding, but for printing) or even if your workspace needs to be RGB or CMYK. And don't get me started on copyright issues for the images you use for your book cover. Your designer will know what to do, trust me on this one.

2. They are good listeners.

Designers are these half psychologist half unicorn, magical creatures. Their job is to listen and help you unravel your mind so that they can do their job efficiently. Have a nice chat with your designer, explain why you wrote your book, for whom you have written it, and everything in between. You can also have them read an extract or the whole book. If there is time, I can assure you they will. Even 2 or 3 times. That is when the magic happens: once they have everything they need, you can let your half unicorn designer run wild with their imagination and create something not only beautiful but effective and relevant. Believe me, they'll know how to visually express what you want to say.

3. They want your best.

A good designer would never ever hand you a half-cooked enchilada. Your final design will be ready to print (or to publish online). Every detail will be taken care of and nothing will be left to chance. They want you to love your cover, and cry of happiness and, most importantly, they want your book cover to work. That's what they do, they are problem solvers.

So now that you know what a designer can do for you and your paper child, let's have a quick chat about what a designer can't do for you.

☞ Designers are not mind-readers. You need to be clear and explain in actual words what you need, otherwise nothing good will come out of the collaboration.

Designers are not candy shops. You can't expect to slide into a designer's dm's and ask for that red and green book cover you saw on Pinterest.

This may come as a surprise but designers are humans as well, and as human beings they need human time to work, they won't be able to deliver your cover within a day or two, unless they say so. So think about that and set realistic deadlines.

I hope I gave you something to think about now that you are a self-published author on how to increase the possibilities of selling your book among other books. That's all for now!

Set sail!