Graphic Artist or Nah?

Tale of Two Covers

Tale of Two Covers

Recently, I’ve seen discussions on various social media outlets that pertain to book covers. The main debate is between hiring a graphic designer versus doing what you can on your own. The argument for the former is that a professional can make your cover compete with the books produced by major publishing houses, which in turn can boost sales. The counterargument is that the cost of hiring a graphic artist can be out of budget, therefore if your have the skillset you should create your own cover. I see both sides of the argument.

Research shows that people shop with their eyes. As such, your cover should look professional and not like a 5 year old drew it in art class (unless that is what you’re going for). Your cover should convey what your story is about without being over or underwhelming. However, not everyone has the dough to shell out for a professional. In the first rendition of my book, I went to Fiverr. The Fiverr result is above on the left (I got nothing but love for Fiverr, just not in the case of this cover). When I decided to rerelease the book, I went a different route, and forked over a few extra coins.

I’m still undecided about whether or not a better cover improves the chances of someone purchasing your book mainly because I think other factors contribute to sales as well (e.g. knowing your audience and connecting with them). Yet, if you have the skills to create your own cover, there’s nothing wrong with saving a few bucks and doing it yourself.

What are your thoughts? Should indie authors hire graphic artist to create their covers or should authors utilize their own skills? Leave your comments here or find me on social media!

7 thoughts on “Graphic Artist or Nah?

  1. I like seeing both your covers side by side, it’s easy for me to see which one was the “cheaper” version and which one I would actually pick up and read! As a reader, I tend to judge a book by a cover, especially when shopping online. Offline and in bookstores and libraries, the cover + the excerpt is more important. But, it’s funny that one of my favorite books has the most unappealing cover! I certainly agree that a high quality cover is worth it, especially if the majority of your marketing and promotion is online. I also have a tale of two covers, one was free, one was done by an expert. As you can imagine, I’ve happily retired the free cover for now!

    • I agree Angela. Someone on social media (G+ specifically) basically stated that it’s not even worth publishing your book until you get a decent looking cover. Waiting is hard to do because I know authors are anxious and excited to get their story on the market. Moreover, I think the importance of having a pre-established audience/platform is understated. You can have the best looking cover on the market but if no one knows who you are then it’s difficult to produce sales.

  2. Hi Angela,

    I personally will not pick up a book with a substandard cover and read it. Unless the author is already on my shortlist, my eyes move right along. And I don’t think I’m an outlier. I’m not judging the book by its cover, I’m judging the author. I’ve been working on my first novel for over two years. It’s almost ready for the proofreader / line editor. After that significant an investment of my time, if I couldn’t afford a decent cover, I’d wait until I could. Otherwise, I’m telling the reader that I either a) can’t tell a good cover from a bad one myself, b) didn’t spend much time writing the book so I’m just rushing it out the door, or c) that I don’t value my own time that much and don’t feel my work is worth investing in a decent cover. None of those impressions bode well for the reader, IMHO.


    • No worries Cliff. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I thought you may have meant me but I wasn’t entirely sure. 🙂 I think all of your reasons for investing in a decent cover are valid. People do shop with their eyes!

  3. I’ll chime in here. I think in some aspects, a graphic designer is needed and not. For instance, if you go onto my amazon page, you’d be surprised at which ones are done professionally (I’ll never use that person again) and which are done by me. But more importantly, I actually like to have a variety of covers to choose from and something that will actually not only catch the eye, but reveal a crucial part of the story. There are actually books that only use words on their cover which make for a provocative image and some that have pictures that are not in alignment with the story. Most erotica covers I completely ignore because they all seem like stock photos. For my series the writer, I wanted all the covers to be simple yet somewhat revealing. Most of them came out OK. But you are right in that a built-in audience for it already will do a great deal of good.

    • Thanks for chiming in Michael! Lol! I agree. I think having a platform and a pre-established audience is one of the most underrated, underestimated aspects of promoting whatever your product may be.

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