Self-publishing: the cover

At the end of September, I sent the last query letter to an agent, at the same time I started gathering information about the different steps required for self-publishing.

Even if I did not find an agent, I do not take as a sign that my book is not ready or good enough. Finding an agent is like a lottery, there are so many variations involved that success is not guarantee. And yes, my book does not belong to the categories, like crime, fantasy or love story, which are easy to sell. I am glad about that, there are already plenty of writers writing those stories, I want my story to be different.

Book cover

Working on the book cover was challenging. The main obstacle was my brain, which refused to put the book into a category. I guess this is something many writers have in common, haven’t we?

But having the category in mind really makes the choice of a book cover easier and I realized that when I received the first drafts. They were all interesting and I really loved one of them, but looking at it, I noticed that the cover did not convey the type of story the book was about. So, I had to think hard and really be honest with myself: which category would my book fall into? This would impact the background colour, for example.

As my novel is not about murders and blood, too dark a cover would give the wrong impression. The very balanced, delicate and light colours cover I loved so much, made me think about a romance or at least a book about a personal journey, where the character is central, the plot is slow and there are lots of pondering going on. That would also not work for my fast-paced story.

What else?

A couple of additional drafts later, I also had to take another tough decision: did I want a photo realistic cover or an abstract one? Which kind of readers would pick one or the other?

I looked at hundreds of photos, which I believe might be suited to my story. Only after spending a long time picking up a few, I realized that the copyright price to use them was not accessible to me. We are talking about 450 € for an old photo of Hong Kong, for example, which would have almost doubled the cost of the cover. I had to take a step back and just send a few pictures with no copyright to the designer for her to use as inspiration to create something new from the picture.

The outcome

What is positive in this process is that I have finally committed to a category, which is a key book data, required by all self-publishing platforms. So, I am two steps ahead with one process!

In the end there is no right or wrong decision, and what is important is to make up your mind and not second-guessing.

I am now waiting for the final draft, and I know that it will be a stunning cover!


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