Thank you to Sue Vincent, for the kind invitation to submit a guest post for your blog. I appreciate this opportunity.
Cover me, I’m going in!
Should an author make their own book covers? This has been a hot topic of blog conversation lately in some of the blogs I follow. While I paid close attention to everything being said by bloggers/authors who are far more successful than I in selling their wares, I do have a couple thoughts on the topic.
One blogger emphatically states that an author should never create their own covers. In his professional opinion, the cover sells the book. He feels that regardless of how talented one is with programs designed to help one create a cover, a professional cover artist should always be hired to ensure your message will be heard loud and clear.
Another blogger/author has been posting detailed accounts of how she does create the covers for her successful books. The processes are remarkable and fascinating. She has stated that she looks forward to coming up with her next amazing work of art.
Obviously, this is a personal choice. While there are many talented artisans whom you can hire to create a cover for your book, perhaps you may have what it takes to create your own cover. You’ll never know unless you try.
Personally, I have created all the covers for the eight books I have self-published over the past few years. The main reason being, is that I can afford my rates! Another reason is that I convinced myself I could handle the project. Each of the covers sports the visuals I saw as best representing the contents. In one case, it was the photo I eventually used for the cover art that inspired the creation of the book itself.
Granted, the books I have written and published, thus far, are poetic in nature and/or inspirational. I mention this because the blogger/authors I spoke of earlier, write and publish novels in differing genres. I point this out because I have always felt that books of my genres could handle more esoteric cover art. As such, I enjoy the process creating the covers because it’s a way to be visually creative in addition to being word creative.
The first four books, Choose, the 2-step plan, Perspective, it’s all about replacing one thought with another, A Haiku Perspective 2015 and PhoKu – Visual Perspective Haiku had their covers created via the Cover Creator templates on Create Space. Meaning that I chose the designs and uploaded the photographs I felt best represented the messages of the text. I liked the way they all turned out and probably would have continued to follow that same process, had I not run into an issue.
I was working on the cover for Angel Messages – A Wing and A Prayer, when I couldn’t get the look I wanted. I called the customer service people at Create Space and we had a great chat. The young man told me that there were several ways people created their own covers and uploaded the finished product to the Cover Creator section. I never realized that one of those options allowed this to be done. What took place next tried my patience but paid off handsomely.
On my computer, I have a program called Micro Soft Publisher and this is what I used to create the Angel Messages cover. First, I staged a photo using a cloth placemat, a woven basket turned on its side and a pair of golden wings that had fallen off an Angel statue. After loading that photo into the Publisher file, I added text, playing around with colors and sizes. What happened next was a gift from the Universe!
Okay, it was a gift from Chris Graham (the story reading ape), a fine professional book cover designer. I had sent him the jpg of the cover so he’d have it for my pending release and he offered some suggestions. It took me a few tries to get things lined up but once I did, he gave it his blessing! Yes, what he suggested did make it a better cover. On a side note here, that was not my original cover idea. I began with a blue cover, then went to a hot pink cover and eventually decided to go with the final design, which is the only design I let anyone see.
The next book, BooKu, Halloween haiku, is the cover photo that inspired a book. The cover is an untreated picture of what our front yard looked like one Halloween after my sister decorated for the season. The tree next to the driveway is that brilliant orange in October every year. While looking through various photos of my sister’s handiwork, I thought that rather than send my folks copies of pictures, I would create verse and put them in a book that they could look at from time to time. Once again, I used Publisher to create the final product.
A Haiku Perspective 2016 has a cover of the close-up of sunflowers on display at a farmer’s market.
Once I got to Go You, some encouragement when you need it, I was no longer able to find what I was looking for merely using Publisher. What I wanted was to write inside the letters of Go You. That’s right, put color inside the white letters. This required yet another staged photograph and a bit of arts and crafts help. I went into my Micro Soft Office program, and found a font that gave me space in which to write. Then I added a drop shadow and edged the letters in black. Then I printed out several sizes of the words GO and YOU, chose the one I liked and grabbed my fine line markers. I wrote a variety of words inside each of the letters and used tiny scissors to cut out the letters. Taking a bamboo placemat, I affixed the letters using Glue Dots and took a picture.
This time, I also used the free online version of Pic Monkey to add additional text to the cover. The result was popping color and a big smile on my face. Also, I could upload the final product as a jpg file without having to use Publisher.
So, I started this post mentioning the on-going discussions about whether to hire someone to make your book covers or do it yourself. What conclusion did I reach? First, I learned a lot by making my own covers. I have come a long way from Choose to Go You. Also, I decided to never say never about the creative process. They say it takes a village to raise a child and I see each of my books and my children. Therefore, the advice and suggestions from the learned to the opinionated have value. I may not listen (go figure) but I DO listen.
In the end, do whatever works for you at the time. You can create something, ask for suggestions, opinions and guidance from those people you respect. It never hurts to have a second set of eyes to see what you cannot. If you are more inclined to do it yourself, then have a great time! Be creative and GO YOU!!
Click on the links in the text to go to Annette’s books on Amazon.
Find and Follow Annette
Annette Rochelle Aben says that she “was born writing” first published while a sophomore in high school, she has been writing all her life. In many of her books, she combines her passion for haiku with her love of photography.
Annette is a professional broadcast veteran, having trained in radio and television at Specs Howard School of Media Arts, Inc. in Southfield, MI. She created the The Perspectivepower Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio and the popular network The Magic Happens. Annette is currently working on several new projects for release later this year.
Read more about Annette
in her author spotlight with The Story Read Ape HERE
From time to time, everyone can use some encouragement to keep going. What we don’t always have is someone right there to give us the words we may need to hear. This book has page after page of thoughts you can say to yourself or someone else. Each statement is designed to remind you of how much you really DO have going for you. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! YOU MAKE GREAT CHOICES! YOU ARE LOVED! GO YOU!!