I think I could be forgiven for not being an expert on either cover or interior design. After all, I studied neither in college. So I hope I’ll be forgiven by anyone thinking I have expertise in these subjects.

Still, in a world where employers regularly place ads seeking a Copywriter/Graphic Designer, I should know at least a little. Although I’ve never used InDesign, I have seen it. And that should count for something, right?

In all seriousness, your book’s cover is absolutely critical. We’ve all heard the cliché that a picture is worth a thousand words. And while I might not exactly agree with that sentiment, I acknowledge that everyone does—at least to some degree—judge a book by its cover.

 

Choosing A Cover Designer

So how do you choose a designer for that all-important cover? Well, you can take recommendations, you can do a random search…or you can combine those approaches by doing what I did. As a member in good standing of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI), I accessed their database of design professionals.

Of course, once you start researching cover designers, you find a wide range of both talent and prices. My designer for my first few novels was a guy who proved perfect for someone like myself looking to purchase in bulk. He was pretty good, and the price was reasonable.

When I prepared to launch Whizzers last year, I knew I wanted to take things to a whole other level. Whizzers really is the best thing I’ve ever done, and I needed my cover to reflect as much. The designer I chose for the cover was at the top end of my budget, but her portfolio is stellar. She surpassed my expectations: I was thrilled with the result, and many readers have commented on it.

 

But What About Interior Design?

If there’s one area where you can probably cheap out a bit, it’s interior design. I don’t know if I’d recommend doing it yourself—I certainly don’t have the skill set to do an excellent job on such a project—but choosing the most expensive option isn’t a necessity here.

There’s something to be said for having the old expectations surpassed, though. I gave my cover designer the assignment of designing the interior as well, and while she certainly charged more than what I’ve paid elsewhere, she again gave me a pleasant surprise: the “flying man” image from the cover serves as an intro to each chapter, which I neither requested nor imagined. The result, which you can see above, is both classy and highly appropriate. I love it.

Ultimately, I guess it all comes down to you. How much can you afford to pay, and how good does it have to be for your audience? For myself, I feel like my readers deserve the best, and I’ve done everything I can to give it to them. That includes the best cover and interior design I could find.

20/20

2020 Vs. 20/20: What We Saw Then, What We See Now

Grinding through the first few months of 2021, I presume nearly everyone wants to shut the door on 2020. After all, the tragic COVID-19 pandemic and—at least in the United States—chaotic election drama left millions exhausted, overwhelmed, and just plain traumatized....

Five Mistakes New Authors Make

Every author starts as a newbie, even if they held a job as a writer in some other capacity. The publishing business can be incredibly daunting for a newcomer: many authors work alone without much feedback, so their mistakes, while understandable, are also far too...
punches

Roll With The Punches, Baby!

Today is just one of those Mondays. I got a letter from the IRS that said they "believe there's a miscalculation" in my return. So that big $300 refund I was planning on receiving? Fuhgeddaboutit. But hey, at least I don't owe them anything, and they're not auditing...
insomnia

New “Writer Problems” Series, Topic #1: Insomnia

A few weeks ago, my wife and I got a limited time offer subscription to HBO Max. I decided to avail myself of the opportunity to rewatch the 2003 Robin Williams/Al Pacino vehicle Insomnia, which I’d originally seen in the theatre when it came out. Williams plays an...
manuscript

Top Five Things to Check Before You Turn Your Manuscript Over

This week's blog post is for my writer friends. Everyone has a checklist of things they know they need to consider before publishing. When it comes time to turn that manuscript into a book, it's all too easy to get caught up in marketing considerations or thoughts of...
remember 80s

Remember The 80s? Placing Scenes in History in My Upcoming Novel

Remember the 80s? How about the 70s, or even the 60s? Of course, I know the old expression: if you remember the 60s, you weren't there. But in my house, it was different. I was born in the 60s, but in my house it was pretty much like the 50s. No discussion of the war...
epic launch

An Epic Launch

Today, the SEO overlords may punish me for posting something overly short. But that's okay. Because I had an epic launch this weekend. "Epic launch" is a phrase I've had in my head for a few weeks now. You see, as the publication date for Whizzers drew closer and...
humor

When Your Sense of Humor Is One Part Vonnegut, Two Parts Hunter S. Thompson

Sometimes you have to really switch things up. Even shake them up. Such is the case with artists of all types, and I’m the kind of novelist who needs to shake things up from book to book. I've never written a series, and I don't think I could unless my life depended...

Miles of Files: Where Did It Come From?

I wrote my third novel between about 2007 and 2015. I can’t say it took a full eight years to write – I got stuck in the final third for a couple years – but it was an ambitious project. I’d gone from a third person novel to a first person novel, and now I was going...
litfic

Leaving the Litfic Category Behind?

Today’s blog is NOT an advertisement for products or services I offer. However, I do want to extend an invitation to join my email newsletter list to get content that’s (mostly) not available elsewhere.One thing about the author life that never fails to entertain is...