I have been doing a great amount of research about self-publishing. I mean, I have literally sat in front of the computer looking up what works and what does not for hours on end. I have come across many helpful blog posts and I try to let an author know when what they have written is helpful to me. Here are some of the main things I have come across that seem to be constant.

Write, write, write – Get your story out and a first draft finished

Edit – No matter how good you think you are, get your work edited

Cut – Don’t be afraid to let go of entire chapters or more if they don’t work

Market – Self-published authors are entrepreneurs first, authors second (darn)

Book Cover – Spend time working on the cover

I know there is so much more, but that is just off the top of my head. Today, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with a good artist friend of mine about my book cover (does not exist yet). My friend has never worked on book covers (that I know of) and does not have any first hand knowledge of self-publishing, but man, she had some great advice.

First – You, as the author, have to know what you want. If you don’t, then you are asking for trouble when working on a cover. You have to ensure that the cover conveys what is inside, but more importantly, that it has a personal meaning for you. You have to be attached to what the cover means. If you’re not emotional over it, ditch it.

Second – Make sure the artist is actually interested in the project. If you simply seek out any artist to design your cover, they likely will just treat it as just another commissioned work and not put forth all of their effort. Sure, you’ll get something, but it probably won’t be as good as it could have been,

Third – If the artist is not giving you advice and input, as well as seeking yours, back away. Think of it as a partnership, not a cold business deal. You put time and effort into writing your book, so make sure you have someone designing a cover that realizes that.

Fourth – THE COVER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING! No matter how eloquent and thought out your book is, if nobody picks it up or clicks on it, you aint got nothin! (Southern side)

I have spent hours in the local book stores and just as many online scanning book covers. I take note of what makes me reach my hand up. As a reader, choosing a book is a step-by-step process. The cover grabs you, you pick it up, you read the description, you put it back down or buy it. The decision to buy a book or not is usually made, for me, in less than fifteen seconds. The most important part of that is the cover because that’s what made me pick it up.

I’m chugging along with my first book, but I am scared to death of not having a great cover. I know exactly what I want. Now I just have to find someone that can become attached to it as much as I am. The cover I want is simple but attention grabbing. I made sure that I didn’t see anything else like it and that it meant something to me. You have to be comfortable with your cover artist so that they can translate what you want purely and naturally. If you’re not, then good luck.

Anyone that has any experience with this, PLEASE comment below.