Book Titles and Cover Images for the Inspirationally Impaired
As of this writing, my current manuscript, or work-in-progress (WIP), has been the recipient of three titles and various book cover mock-ups. This project is far more involved than my first book because I knew the title even before I typed the first word, and had inspiration and vision for the cover design. It also helped that I partnered with a talented graphic artist who shared my vision.
This time around, after spending nearly two months in the weeds, sans creative partner, I know my limits. While I have finally settled on a title (a good one that sits well in my gut), I still have no cover. Or vision. Or inspiration for a vision. The image that's currently on my socials and website is not the final title or cover, FYI. From the chaos of the amateur design, and all the design rules I surely violated, I'm sure you figured it out. There was glitter involved, I confess.
If there is such a thing as a flat thinker, I am her. I am an author, a word painter, not a graphic artist. This is quite a conundrum for an indie author and owner of a small publishing company. I don't have the slightest idea how to design a print or eBook cover. I know the basics, from a business perspective, but to actually design something that entices or sells? Ha! No. From my years in marketing, I know what a good design looks like, so at least there's that.
Book covers do a lot of heavy lifting. How does one choose the appropriate graphics/photos for a cover? I've read all the articles on the importance of a book cover reflecting the story inside, with an emphasis on theme, colors that evoke emotion, and caution to never mislead a reader regarding genre. One article discussed eBook covers and how they should stand out in thumbnail form, which is what a shopper sees while browsing online. All this valuable learning made it undeniably clear that I need a professional designer who knows all of these things and more. If sales are on the line, I can't afford not to hire someone.
Upwork and Fiverr are the two most referenced freelance platforms that I've come across, so I decided to give it a try. I browsed through the various cover designers, read their reviews, and finally decided to take a chance on a Fiverr freelancer. As I happily chose my package (basic to start) and paid the small fee for services, I felt immediately relieved. Finally, a real professional is at the helm! No more badgering my husband, family, and friends with random images and the angsty, "What do you thing of this one?"
I fell back to earth and hit the pavement head first. One of the requirements is that I search the listed stock photo websites and choose an image for the designer to work with. Me. Choose. An. Image. Whaaaa? That's not how any of this works. Except it is. I wanted a professional to do all the things. All. The. Things.
I was forced to think about my story, the characters, significant scenes that move the plot forward...and contemplate the title. Again. I'm solid on the title, but the image search was painful. I finally found a few that resonate, and I hope the professional does something magical that I love. A few more days and I'll know for certain whether this freelance experience is the answer to my author prayers.
Stay tuned, dear readers!