Indie Publishing and eBook Cover Design: Experimenting With Digital Design Tools (Updated)

As an avid reader, I have learned (the hard way) not to judge a book by its cover.

As an indie writer, I have learned (the hard way) not to overlook the importance of the cover design.

How do I apply both of these lessons to my self-published ebooks?

I treat the writing component of self-publishing like a job, and I treat the production of a cover and social media graphics like a hobby.

 

Revision as Work

Simply put: I need to set aside A LOT more time into revision and copyediting than I do designing the "perfect" cover image.

This is the only way to cultivate a longterm relationship with my readers. Too many typos will trip up and ultimately turn off even my most loyal of readers. The concept could be brilliant, but if little attention appears to have been paid to the flow of language, most readers will quickly move on to something else.

 

Cover Design as Recreation

When I do tackle the cover design, I approach it as a recreational art project that allows me to interpret my written narrative through a visual lens.

For me, this has meant experimenting with different mediums, color palettes, and artistic styles. I've found that during this creative exercise, I am sometimes hit with new ideas and language that serve to strengthen my story.

When I'm uncertain about the results of my experimentation, I turn to my social networks for feedback. Observing how people react to different cover designs is really exciting for me.

 

Polling Followers

In September, for example, I will be releasing a new short story, "Nothing Will Be Impossible," on Amazon.com, BN.com and Apple's iBookstore.

This past weekend, I spent some time sketching and mapping out cover designs on my iPad, using the Procreate app, 53's Paper app, and Adobe's Spark Post app. I ended up with three passable cover designs. Unable to decide which one I liked the best, I decided to put it up for a vote on Facebook and Instagram.

Here are the results from the experiment:

eBook Cover Design Poll Results

Do you concur? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section below.

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with Apple Pencil, Procreate, and Adobe Spark Post

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with Apple Pencil, Procreate, and Adobe Spark Post

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with Apple Pencil, Procreate, and Adobe Spark Post

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with Apple Pencil, Procreate, and Adobe Spark Post

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with 53's Paper app and Adobe Spark Post

Book cover illustration by Charlie Shifflett / Created with 53's Paper app and Adobe Spark Post