Day 4 Challenge: Three Costly Mistakes Indie Authors Make with Their DIY Book Cover

sw_Editing_N10_20130809_230442No one is devoid of mistakes. They are there for certain reasons. As Henry C. Link, a famous psychologist from the 1800’s who was alienated from his Christian belief at one point in his faith, said humorously,

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.”

Flak that you get from your “rare” do-it-yourself (DIY) book cover should not hurt you. Theoretically speaking. In reality though, they do… like a two-edged knife that cuts through your heart. Ouch!

You may use those criticisms to be a Picasso at designing book covers. Why not? Many indie authors have become masterful not only at writing and publishing but also with cover creation.

Indie Author Priority: Writing or Cover Creation?

But, hey! Which one has more weight as gold? Which one would advance your publishing career?

Ummm, writing? Unless you’re a graphic artist who’s trying your hand at writing. But then, how can this topic be of use to you when you’re so much wiser?

Reality is, not all indie authors can afford the services of professional graphic designers. It is worth saying at this point though that indie authors have more options and opportunities now to get themselves a professionally designed book cover at a price range that’s within their reach. You’ll learn how in later sections.

While still striving or struggling to earn the money that would pay for these services, there’s no stopping you from creating your DIY book cover.

Unless your book sales sucks! And your book cover needs a quick fix to salvage whatever value your book has.

Certainly, $5 for a more captivating book cover wouldn’t hurt your pocket, would it?

So, go on. Make mistakes. Plenty. In time, they’ll pay off with superior work.

Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence. ~ Ovid

But first things first. You can’t be better at something when you don’t know which areas to fix or work on, don’t you think?

Indie Author Mistakes in Creating Book Covers

Here are three costly mistakes that indie authors make when creating their own book cover:

  • Going into battle without the proper orientation and appropriate gears.

file2711283980668How can you dive into book cover creation without, at the very least, knowing the basic principles that guide it? How can you lack an understanding or appreciation of the importance of a great book cover?

This is a major crime, don’t you think? Doing the motions without knowing why is a great disservice to yourself and an utter waste of your efforts on writing your book. How then can you expect a great job?

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. ~ Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  • Turning a deaf ear to feedback or the stats.

You ignore “criticisms” that are supposed to provide you a clearer direction. You don’t even want look at your statistics to get a picture of what’s going on.

Perhaps, you’re just scared of the facts. Or is it that you don’t know where to look, which is really a lame excuse, don’t you think?

  • Not going the extra mile.

You’re just complacent with what is – what you know and can do. Why not take time to study the booksellers section to figure out what bestsellers have that you can copy or emulate?

When your book cover is done, it’s as if the die is cast and there’s nothing you can do to turn the tide. You don’t go the extra mile to test if your book cover achieves the highest returns or if there’s an even better look and feel? Doing more enhancements or tweaks is just too much.

Indie Authors: What Now?

Governing these mistakes just seems to be the “who cares” or “I don’t care” attitude. The question is, can you really afford to not care?

  • If these mistakes are costing you something valuable – like your future? – don’t you think it’s time to take heed and make amends?
  • If you don’t think that you’re not up to the challenge of turning up a book cover that works, why not find someone who’s qualified than you?
  • If you’re intent on designing your own book cover because of the long-term benefits of control and savings, to name a few, why not learn the trade deliberately and religiously?
  • If you don’t have the financial resources to pay for the professional fees of a cover designer, how about trading or swapping services?
  • If you’re serious at succeeding in self-publishing, why not get the feedback of people who matter to you like your target readers? Why not learn from already existing book covers?

Important things to ponder on, huh?

So, tell. Which of these mistakes are yours?

Hopefully, not all; but if so, no worries.

Now, you know your important next steps.

Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later, a collection of mistakes is what is called experience. ~ Denis Waitley

As indie authors, are these mistakes true to you at one point in your attempts at creating your book cover?

How did you deal with them?

What other mistakes have you done that helped you be better with your DIY book cover?

Please chime in! This post would surely benefit from your valuable inputs. 🙂

MARIA SILVO ~ Entrepreneur  Ι  Children’s Book Author  Ι  Blogger


2 thoughts on “Day 4 Challenge: Three Costly Mistakes Indie Authors Make with Their DIY Book Cover

  1. Love your post. Right now, I’m not dealing so much in a bad concept as a tough book to describe with a single image. I’ve got a few authors that I love the covers on their books, and my own skills are woefully short of being able to create anything close to what they have. (Granted, they had traditional big 5 publishers handle the covers, but it provides a target to aspire to, right?) I’ve hit the wall twice for my first book, and so far, it’s fallen flat.

    Haven’t given up yet. Most of the feed back comes because the image I have to work with right now is a rendering, not a photograph, and so it’s stiff. Still hunting for a good photo that I can use and doesn’t cost the sky as well. Though, I also admit, I could be too wedded to the initial cover concept.


  2. Reblogged this on Brett P. S. and commented:
    I’d place a good amount of importance on feedback. People just seem to know when a cover needs something or when a chapter doesn’t read well and peers can do this much better than the artist. I can’t count how many times peer feedback has led me to a better looking design, whether a plot element in a story or a book cover…or anything else.


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