Are you a self published or soon to be self published author?
It’s tough getting a decent cover isn’t it? Spent hours on Photoshop and just ended up with trash? You are not alone, I promise you.
The POD, self publishing frenzy is throwing up some very interesting questions and today I’m hoping to address the “Can you judge a book by its cover?” question.
It seems that right now, as the publishing world is turned upside down and the whole publishing dynamic is changing, a lot of self publishers are rushing into the business with good intentions but they’re just not considering quality. I’m NOT talking about the actual novels or the quality of their stories, that’s a whole different subject, I’m talking about the covers of the books. Yes, self publish book covers.
Is it cruel to say that a really bad cover probably represents a really bad book? Some of my favorite books, by some of the best writers out there, have suffered from some pretty average covers.
Carl Hiassun is undoubtedly a very talent writer, his satirical capers are both topical and hilarious. If you’re the kind of reader that likes to read between the lines in any of his adult novels, you’ll find not only some great laughs and hilarious characters, but there’s also a lot of great political commentary. But his book covers aren’t always great!
If I didn’t know Carl Hiassun was such an entertaining writer this cover probably wouldn’t have drawn me to the book. It doesn’t say much, does it?
Elmore Leonard’s Rum Punch is a classic novel and Quentin Tarantino did a great job writing the screenplay and directing the excellent movie Jackie Brown, starring Samuel L Jackson, Pam Grier and Robert De Niro. Great stuff, but the Rum Punch cover’s not too exciting is it?
I know that neither Native Tongue or Rum Punch are exactly brand new publications, but these writers are both an inspiration to me and as far as I’m concerned, they’re good enough examples.
But, if the above professional covers seems a little average, look what I’ve found.
The revolution in self publishing has certainly produced some interesting new writers and, of course, along with them come some interesting new cover designs.
I read an article this week called “The best crap book covers” written by Alison Flood for The Guardian, it’s cruel, very cruel, but hilarious. I can only wonder what the stories are like? So, can you judge a book by its cover?
Alison’s article was inspired by Nathan Shumate’s brilliant (and again cruel) Lousy Book Covers. You should check it out!
Is it cruel to laugh at these clearly home made designs? Yes, of course, these people are clearly trying their very best and there’s no accounting for taste, right? Yet we still laugh.
Cost is clearly the reason behind the type of quality cover presented, rather than total insanity or basic literary masochism, and if you got to Nathan’s Lousy Book Covers you’ll see some real cut price beauties!
BUT, if you look in the right places and ask the right people, you might get some quality results.
Here’s the Cut Limbo cover. I wanted an eye catching design because I’m an unknown author, I also wanted to present the story as a quirky, violent crime thriller that possibly wasn’t too serious and clearly a suggested a ‘punk rock’ element. I think I got what I wanted.
I tried to produce the cover myself and wasted an entire Saturday and shed a lot of tears… the above professional cover cost me $15.00, that’s about £9.90. Good value, right?
If you want the contact details of my very talented friend, just share this post as a favour to me on Stumbleupon, Twitter, Goodreads or Google+ and I’ll Tweet or email you my friend’s contact details.