A Book Cover is Born

Official Unveiling

You are the first to see the cover design for my up-coming novel, Killer Serve, the second in the Tennis Team Mystery series.  Don’t you love it??

The novel will be available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon July 27, 2017, but in the meantime I’m celebrating this milestone.

Killer final cover .jpg

The cover for Killer Serve was created with the help of Fiverr.com after much trial and error––and blood sweat and tears. Here’s that story:

Make a good first impression

The conventional wisdom says a professional-looking book cover will attract more readers. There are publishing services out there who offer professional covers for a thousand dollars. I’d have to sell a lot of books to recoup that investment. One of my fellow writers has a friend who charges her $250. In my range, but she only draws by hand––not the style I wanted. So, after trying and failing to find a qualified, but inexpensive designer, I created the covers for my first three novels myself.

I love my home-grown covers. They’re colorful and unique. However, this time, I intended to step up the professional appearance of my new novel.

DIY is Time Consuming

My first three covers were created using Createspace and KDP templates, iStock photos, and PicMonkey. I had to learn everything from scratch: fonts styles, image size, overlays, perspective, pixels, photo shopping, etc. It took days and weeks. The process was fun and creative, but not flawless. This time I wanted to get it right and get Killer Serve into publication sooner. Hiring someone would save time. Right?

An Image Must Grab Attention

Inspiration for Killer Serve’s cover came to me very late. At first, I was at a loss and hoped a designer would have amazing powers of perception. I later realized inspiration cannot be delegated.

Starving Artists

I read great things about Fiverr.com and it sounded too good to be true. Graphic artists (and many other services) from all over the world vie for your project for as little as $5. Yes, $5. What a steal! Maybe it’s the exchange rate or life is cheaper in foreign countries. Or maybe bait and switch.

I felt magnanimous and considered several designers charging $25. Samples presented were great, so I posted my request for a book cover, giving a synopsis of my story. I’m quite sure no one read any of that. I did, however, get twenty some form-letter responses. (See below for how to post a project step by step.)

Forging ahead, I visited the websites of the willing designers and studied their sample projects and read reviews from buyers. I narrowed it down to a few and found one who was currently taking projects.

Germancreative accepted the project and sent me a link to a stock photo company, asking me to send her photos I liked. This took a huge amount of time for me.

I made the mistake of sending her photos of what I wanted IN the picture rather than starting with a background. She threw it all together and I hated the result. We emailed back and forth ten times, trying to save it. I gave up and tried to quit, accepting it as a failure. She insisted we get it right. I then found the correct background picture and we started from scratch.

Lese (Germancreative) is great at making images work once she knows the goal. I’m very pleased with the cover design for Killer Serve. What do you think?

Here’s how to use Fiverr.com

1) Register for free to find cover designers, plus logo designers, illustrators, voice overs, and more. Create your account and a password.
2) In the search box type “book cover” and scroll through the various sellers to get a feel for the work and pricing.
3) From along the top, click on “Buying” and “Post a Request.
4) Write a brief a description of what you want. I spent some time describing theme, mood, color and felt it was ignored at this point. The attachment option is, I believe, for images you may own.

5) Choose a category. From the drop down list, choose “Graphics and Design” and from sub categories to the right, “Book Covers and Packaging.”

6) Answer the next two questions-3 days and $25, and then post the request. Within hours you’ll get emails. Don’t take the first one, but go to each website and review their work, how long they’ve been designing, and how many positive reviews they have. Find a one offering unlimited revisions.

7) Review the offer from your favorite. Make sure you get the option of both a Kindle cover and a paperback cover, so you get the design for the back page. That’s what brought the price from $5 to $25. Accept the offer and follow the artist’s specific instructions, if any.

8) Now is the time to be specific about what you want on YOUR cover. Comb through the stock photos for several that are close to the mood and subject for your book. The designer can manipulate the photos to make them perfect. Don’t be shy about suggesting revisions. You won’t hurt the designer’s feelings.

9) Once you accept the design, the artist will send you several files to be downloaded when publishing your book. Make sure you ask for one that can be edited, so you can paste in your back cover information. Lese also included a 3-D picture of the book to be used for promo purposes.

For $25 you’ll get a great looking cover if you put some effort and thought into it, too. If you love your final design, you can tip the creator extra money to thank her.

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