I used to be a graphic designer, so when I decided to self-publish my novel Nyx, I thought I’d be able to design my own cover and save a few bucks. Unfortunately, my skills were rustier than I’d hoped, and the best I could do was this:
It’s not completely horrible, but to me it screamed CHEAP and SELF-PUBLISHED.
Realizing that when on amazon, I absolutely judge books by their cover, I decided to get the best cover I could. There are tons of designers and artists who offered a cover for a few hundred dollars, but none of them produced anything that I would pick up in a bookstore. Several were clearly excellent artists, but their covers looked like typical fantasy books: knights with swords, old wizards, busty elf maidens, etc. Great art, but not what I wanted for Nyx.
I finally found the Book Designers, who had impressive covers that, well, looked like real books. I gave them some examples of covers I liked:
and asked them to stay away from more-typical fantasy covers, like this:
I’m not saying these books have bad covers—it’s just not what I wanted.
(there was a wee misunderstanding about my initials, but they quickly fixed that)
We ended up with this:
See the difference, compared to what I did? I’m a huge fan of what they’ve done, and the feedback from people has been overwhelmingly positive. (whew!)
Now, there’s no way for me to test whether the $1500 I spent on the cover was worth it. In fact, I’ve had a few people on reddit give me grief for spending so much, and for all I know, they’re right. But based on the research I did, I feel I got the value I wanted.
And after I spent two years writing and editing this thing, I decided it was absolutely worth the money to have it look as good as possible.
We’ll see if I still think so a couple years from now, but right now, I’m satisfied.