Why creating your own covers might not be a good idea

Some authors have other talents. Some can sing, some are artisan chefs, and others are artists. Those that are artists have the talent and the know how to create stunning covers for their books and present their works as the treasures that they truly are. Their high gloss, well polished masterpieces add that certain je ne sais quoi that sets them apart. These authors are fortunate.

Some authors aren’t so lucky. Writing is their one gift and they try very hard to share it with the world. They also might be lacking in funds to buy the prettiest covers on the internet so they are forced to create their own covers, even though they aren’t the best artists. They know little about Photoshop, GIMP, Depositphotos, and all of the other important parts of creating their own covers. However, they certainly do know how to use Google and MS Paint, so they assume that they’re golden. What could be so bad about using some image they found online and hastily pasted into a randomly sized window? There is a LOT that can be bad about that.

As an author, you want to be taken seriously. You want the world to look at your book and say ‘Hey, that cover looks interesting;  I want to know more.’ We always hope that our readers will be drawn in by the summary, or the title, but everyone, and I do mean everyone, judges a book by its cover. In fact, many readers base a large part of their decision to read our books on what our covers look like.

Pre-made covers start at $30 and you can find some decent ones out there. But the better the cover, the more expensive it will be. What if you can’t find a pre-made cover that you like? Well, custom covers can run upwards of $500 if the artist has a lot of clients and does quality work. If you truly want a quality cover, and your book is really that important to you, SAVE YOUR MONEY. It will be a lot more rewarding to save your pennies for a good cover, trust me.

The other problem with using images from Google is that you are potentially using copyrighted images. That opens you and any one that shares your book cover up to lawsuits, which can give you a black mark with bloggers because they don’t want to get mixed up in all of that. I mean, if you can’t afford a cover artist, do you really think that you can afford a lawyer? As someone that has lawyer friends, trust me, you can’t.

Below, I have shared some bad books covers. Below that are some great book covers (with credits to the artists, of course.) I hope that this helps you.

And they just get worse from there. Of course, I assume that not all of these covers were made by the author them self, but you can see the issues. Now, something pretty to end the post:


(by Joleene Naylor)

(by Joleene Naylor)

(by Skylar Faith, truenotdreams Designs)

(by Skylar Faith, truenotdreams Designs)

The second set of images make use of stock images that were purchased and licensed correctly. They are so much cleaner and well structured. Those are the type of covers you want to use. They send the right message to your potential readers.

I hope that this post doesn’t come off as bitchy or rude. I am just trying to stress the importance of covers for authors. The “bad” covers were obtained from other websites that highlight bad book covers and were not at all a hunt and pick romp through Amazon for me.

About Maegan Provan

I am an indie author and proud of it. I try to update as much as humanly possible, but I'm a busy bee.

Posted on January 29, 2015, in book, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Creating covers is a talent I don’t possess. I’ve been lucky to have excellent cover artists – you, Tori, Skylar. You’re right that people judge a book by its cover. It’s human nature. A good cover might not get you a five-star review, but it will tempt people to read the blurb and possibly buy the book.

    • Of course. I saw a post on one of my Facebook groups the other day talking about how certain blog tours won’t post photos of book covers for fear of copyright issues. That coupled with the plethora of bad covers I’ve seen inspired this post. Not that it’s going to fix the world, but I hope that educates a few people.

  2. So I know it’s an older post but I just stumbled on it – thanks so much for the shout out 😉

    Have you ever checked out http://lousybookcovers.com/ ?

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