When I first started self-publishing books, I think I made an unstated goal to myself: try to do it for as cheap as possible. It was a side-project for me after all. And in many ways, I succeeded in sticking to that unsaid goal. I designed two book covers for free using design sites like Canva. I formatted and designed both my ebook and paperback editions by myself in Google Docs. I edited my manuscripts and had a couple of generous friends look them over as well.
While the sentiment behind my frugal target made intuitive sense, (after all, the less money you spend, the less you have to take out of your profits) I’ve found that it doesn’t always work out as well as you hope. Putting formatting and self-editing troubles aside, I found that I didn’t get quite what I wanted out of my own book cover design.
In order to prepare for my first in-person author event at a local author fair, I decided to revisit my book covers to see if I could spruce them up a bit. This time, instead of a DIY book cover, I sought help from a graphic designer. The rest of this post will be dedicated to good and bad the bad about both making your own book cover and hiring someone else to do it for you.
DIY Book Cover Design
Pro – You are in control
One of the big draws with self-publishing, in general, is the idea of your having complete control over everything. No one is going to change your book cover to fit a certain market.
Pro – Cost
This was the most important reason for me to initially try and do-it-myself. I had experience making some custom graphics using software like Canva. There are so many free tools out there that give you some good design options.
Con – Lack of Skill or Options
I know some people are Photoshop pros, but that is not me. If you are the design novice camp, you are going to end up settling for less. You are stuck using free templates, graphics, photos, etc. If you have something really specific in mind, it might not happen.
Professional Book Cover Design
Pro – A Truly Custom Look
This is huge. Self-published titles continue to explode. With increased competition, there is an increased need to stand out from the crowd. A custom and unique book cover will do that for you.
Pro – Professional Touch
I’m so grateful to Chelsea, my book cover designer. She took my feedback and was able to turn it into great-looking covers. There were quite a few times when I wanted just a single color changed or a different font or a tiny design element moved. Instead of being limited by the template I was using, she could take care of every detail.
Con – Cost
I already touched on this a bit above, but, if you want a custom look and if you don’t have the design skill necessary, you’ll have to cough up some dough. Just know what your budget is and stick to it.
Before & After
Now for the best part: the reveals!
I’m so happy with how they both turned out. The biggest difference to me is how they reflect more of the content that you will find inside the books. They felt like vague and generic basketball books before.
What do you think? Do you like the updated books covers?