The choice between hiring someone to design your book’s cover or doing it yourself weighs heavy…
On all indie author’s budgets. Some covers can be as cheap as $20 and expensive as $400 if you hire someone to design it for you.
Or it can be $0 if you design it yourself… all you need is time… you have plenty of that, right?
Though design is an acquired skill and you must hone it to get the desired results or end up with something that doesn’t give any returns.
As with all skills they require time to practice and with the many hats that you already wear it is easy to understand why one would hire a professional cover designer for their books.
But why even have a cover designed?
Let me ask you this… if you had a choice between these books which one would you choose?
Your eye is probably going towards the one with the pretty pictures, right?
Humans like eye candy. They love seeing and enjoying little bits of art no matter where it is displayed.
A book cover is one way of attracting a potential reader.
If you go with a simple text cover that you designed in a word processing application then it will probably 9 times out of 10 be passed over in favor for a book with a well designed cover.
What if you don’t have the budget to get someone to design it for you?
Just remember that in exchange you have to spend time to learn how to design your own covers.
If you have access to canva.com then you can design it yourself.
Most of the stuff on canva is free. You might need to snag a few free images off of Pixabay to use in your cover. Please do remember to credit the source of the image.
Take a look at the genre that your book is in and get an idea of what’s on those covers. Take note of the colors too. Colors in every genre matter and will help your book get noticed if you follow the trend.
I’ll note that every genre / category follows trends and you need to be aware of those trends too. You don’t want to create a cover that’s too dated.
As you can see below that canva has a wide array of book cover templates so hopefully you can find one that’ll match your genre or come close to fitting in with the rest of the covers.
Pre-mades are another option…
Yup, if you have a few bucks to spare then you can purchase pre-made book covers for as low as $10 from some designers.
Scour Facebook and Instagram for book cover designer groups because sometimes they’ll have pre-made cover sales and you might be able to snag a great deal.
It’s your choice…
If you’re tight on time then save up to hire a professional cover designer off of fiverr or buy a premade book cover for your story.
Otherwise, buckle up and get to honing your book cover design skills.
Who knows you might be the next best designer out there 😉
Radio Silence, what is it and how will it save you?
Okay this post could not have come at a better time than now.
No, before you get upset hear me out.
There’s been a lot of stuff going on in the Social Media sphere and emotions are running high.
When exposed to too much toxicity then your mind starts to get overloaded and then you start to physically get sick.
So, you need to stop because, you need to take care of yourself too. Spending too much time on social media or other online social outlet like YouTube for news, etc, etc, can stress you out.
And when you’re stressed out then the people around you feel stressed out.
This is why setting a day out of the week or a certain time during the day / night to not be online but instead disconnect.
To take this time to reconnect with family, a hobby, sport, or meditation will be good for you to unwind.
I am told by friends, whom I’ve suggested Radio Silence, that it has made them feel better.
Not only do they feel better but their family and friends feel more connected with them.
Spouses, I’ve heard, actually love the idea knowing that their loved one will commit a day of the week or time of day to putting down their electronic devices to spend time with them and the wee ones (if they have them.)
Disconnecting from the internet can be a blissful vacation for your mind.
When you come back you’ll find out that you truly needed that break, feeling refreshed and ready to take on that task that you put on hold.
Now, time to take action and schedule your radio silence.
Look at your calendar and determine what day of the week or time of day you can commit to disconnecting from the online world.
Now, go ahead and schedule it as a reoccuring meeting that way you can’t skimp out on it. No, excuses. Your time to unplug is valuable.
Your significant other will thank you and your kids will love you until the ends of time for it.
There are two kinds of people when promo art is brought up…
The ones that scream and kick and don’t want to do it…
… And the ones that smile with glee and spend hours making several of them.
Which camp do you fall into?
Me? I’m the one that LOVES making graphics but that’s only because I have templates and know what to do for promotional graphics.
Now perhaps you may not like creating your own graphic arts. Maybe it’s too hard or you think it’s a waste of time.
But Do You Want To Be Seen?
Did you know that even a little bit of promo art can give your story a boost among the sea of stories out there?
With the two online tools that we talked about last week there’s no excuse, really, that would prevent you from creating at least one graphic for your story.
Colors attract the eyes. Bright ones or stuff with stuff going on will always attract the eyes. Give your audience something interesting to look at…
Then… hit ’em with your story.
Take the following for instance… which one catches your eye?
You’re probably looking at the one with the mermaid tail, aren’t you?
No, worries. But do you now see my point?
Reward your audience with something to look at and then they’ll pay attention to what you have written in the photo.
Remember to make your text easy to read.
Do a squint test.
Basically, if you can’t read it when you’re squinting then it’s too hard to read.
You need to simplify the text and colors.
Recognition for you
Authors that I have helped create graphics for in the past have reported that they’ve seen an uptick in recognition for their titles.
Go ahead and give it a shot. It’s super easy to create a graphic in Canva.
Take your new graphics out for a spin for at least a month then report back here.
Where to use promotional art?
Oops. Silly me. I forgot to tell you where you would use these… didn’t I?
Well, most of the time authors use these promotion graphics in author takeovers, digital book fairs, Instagram, Pinterest, twitter and their Facebook feed.
Try them and you’ll start to see an improvement. It might take a bit of time but you will see an improvement.
One more thing…
Don’t put Apple, Amazon or Kindle branding into the graphics. Apparently these corporations have been doing a smack down on authors who have been using Apple / Amazon branding without permission.
I’m talking about these images:
The images / logos that I have posted above are to keep you informed and are not to be used within any promotion graphic / art / ad.
If your book is available on Amazon then you can say in text available on Amazon.com (yes, you have to capitalize the ‘A’ in Amazon) but do not use their images / logo in your promo art without their permission.
What is thing that you speak of that is called promo art?
Promo Art is short for promotional art or also know as promotional graphics.
It’s what is used for ads that you see on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Instagram and more.
Have you ever been on a website and saw those ads? That my friend is a form of promo art.
Though I’m not asking you to go out and make a whole bunch of ads.
This post is to focus on author promotional art and making graphics that would resonate with your audience.
So where do you go to make promotional graphics? How do you do it?
Do you need photoshop or other expensive software to do it?
Nope. You don’t need that stuff.
Would you believe me if I told you that you can do it for F-R-E-E.
Got your attention? Good.
There are two really good online tools that YOU can use to make promotional art / graphics.
The first one is the one that I use on a daily basis. I used the free version for two years before switching to their paid version.
But you don’t need to pay them to create awesome graphics. In fact with the free version you can make “templates” to use over and over for future promotional graphics. You just need a few tips and tricks.
So what is the first online app that I’m talking about?
Yup, you heard me right. Canva.com is a wonderful online tool that lets you create fast promotional art / graphics for your social media groups and feeds.
It’s super simple to hop in and choose a template they have available and then customize to your hearts content.
Sure some of the stuff is only available for paid subscribers but don’t let that stop you from creating awesome work.
How did I work around the limitations of the free version for Canva?
First for images I hit up pixabay.com and downloaded the ones that worked for the theme that I was wanting to use. Then I would upload the image to Canva and drop it into the template.
Second for special little doo-dahs you can use the free competitor of Photoshop which is GIMP. In there you can create custom graphics that you can save as PNG then upload them to Canva.
After you’ve finished making your art you can always make a copy of it to use for a new piece. This is what I do for my book promotion pieces that I created in Canva.
One version serves as a template that I can copy and reuse over and over by only needing to update the pictures and text. Pretty cool, eh?
What about the other online too?
The second online tool for creating promotional art / graphics is Bookbrush.
Bookbrush is fairly new to the scene but is absolutely perfect for authors who want to make graphics highlighting their books.
The free version of this app is easy to use and has enough stuff to keep you going for at least a few month… maybe a year.
However, I feel like if you’re going to use this tool then you might want to consider purchasing a subscription to get the full use of this awesome application.
For the auto mockup is an awesome feature that is only available to paid subscribers. You get a taste of it when you sign up and they give you a freebie to try it out.
Sneaky, I would have to say but at least you can find out if you like those extra features before you plunk down your hard earned cash for it.
So, which tool should you use to create promotional art / graphics?
If you only want to focus on book promotional art / graphics then I would say Bookbrush hands down. But don’t forget that Canva can help you create other graphics that you need for social media such as group and email banners.
With that said, go ahead and give both of those a shot. You never know… you might become a fan of both Bookbrush and Canva!