Bargain self publish book covers.


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!

A great story but is it a great cover?

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?

Excellent novel made into a classic Tarantino movie, but is it a great cover?

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!

Thanks Nathan Shumate…

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.

Cut Limbo the cover

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.

About Peter

British born Peter L Masters has been a writer for many years and Cut Limbo is his first published novel. Back in the late 70's and early 80's he was the singer/songwriter for cult punk band Spasmodic Caress. The controversial "Hit the Dead" track was released by 4AD in 1980 and decades later re-released by US punk band The Spits. Subsequent tracks such as "Waiting" "SPG" and "Ambition" are now on YouTube. The inspiration for Cut Limbo comes from a combination of experiences gained whilst travelling and living in Europe and Asia, a love of the punk rock era and everything it stood for, and a passion for books and movies. Cut Limbo was originally written by Peter as a screenplay and inspired by classic movies such as Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Jackie Brown and Get Shorty. (A big thanks to Quentin Tarantino and Elmore Leonard) The story of what went on at Schipol airport, Amsterdam, just had to be told.
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2 Responses to Bargain self publish book covers.

  1. Andrew Walsh says:

    I just published a book on the Kindle platform and did make my own cover using GIMP. It wasn’t pretty, but I think it served my purpose. For my next release I’ll definitely want to work with a professional, tough.

    • Peter says:

      Hi Andrew, thanks for your comments and good to meet you. I looked into various ideas and also tried my own design which wasn’t pretty and looked 100% amateurish. I felt Cut Limbo deserved more, why spend 10 years on a 105,000 word novel and ruin it with a trashy cover? I the idea of getting a designer to help seemed just way beyond my budget but after a little research I was delighted to get exactly what I wanted for less than £10.00. The basic idea was mine and the cover isn’t so complex but it worked for me. What’s your book and how’s it all going? Best regards Peter

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