Let’s Get you Covered! Series:
Number 5’s the charm! (Hopefully)
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the last post of our Let’s Get You Covered! series. We’ve gone through some interesting material in this series and have taken a look at all the options for covers Indies have available, how to approach them and what are the most convenient for the do-it-yourself-ers out there.
As promised, today we tackle an alternative (and greatly exploited) approach that is both affordable and valuable: Pre-made covers.
Many indie authors take this approach because is the only way to have the professional expertise of the artist, without having to pay top dollar for it. But like with everything, there are pros and cons to be considered before making your choice.
Let’s examine them: Pre-made Covers
Type 3.5: Premade Covers
Pre-mades are the popular, not-so-snobby cousins to the Photo/Illustration Covers. They are virtually inexpensive (doesn’t mean FREE!) and they are already geared to look professional and to have that visual appeal we are all looking for. Pre-made Covers are done by professionals most of the times, who have already purchased the stock photos and fonts, and who are normally willing to forfeit the copyright to the final image once the price is met. Also, many cover designers only sell their designs once, so you won’t run into the trouble of having your cover used by somebody else.
Here are the basics:
Pros: Stunning Imagery. Professional and attractive results. Affordable Pricing.
Cons: No customization allowed. Uses Stock Photos (may result in a repeated image).
—- Premade Photo covers:
A good pre-made cover can give you the best of both worlds. It can be beautiful and not dig into your meager indie author funds. Pre-made covers normally go from around $30 up to $100 depending on the level of difficulty, genre and amount of images in the project. If you are choosing a cover with only a silhouette or a single image and background, they are more likely to cost less.
If on the other side, you want the cover with the astronaut, on Mars, with the moon peeking from beneath a mountain, chances are it’s not going to be as cheap. Like with everything else, when you purchase a pre-made you are getting what you pay for, so set up a budget for yourself and investigate from there.
For now, let’s take a look at some of the things you should keep in mind when you are browsing for pre-mades:
Know what type of cover you need: This one is a basic, but it’s still good to keep it in mind. As you know, available publishing formats for indies are ebook and paperback, and the covers for these two formats are different. For an ebook, you only need the front cover, but a paperback will require a full-wrap design. That is: front, back (with blurb or your choice of back matter) and spine. These type of covers are normally more expensive because they require more material so be ready for a higher price tag. Still, it’s far less that you would pay for a custom-made.
Beware of stocky images: As we discussed in post #4, Stock photos can be tricky, and are prone to repetition. This is something designers of pre-mades cannot avoid, so if you find another cover that has the same image as yours, is nobody’s fault. To prevent this, try to choose non-genre related images. For instance, if you are writing Romance, you have the temptation of choosing the cover with the embracing couple. That’s fine, but remember that that is the first instinct of every other Romance writer, so the risk of the same image being chosen is high. Instead, choose a neutral image that it’s not so obvious. Play with your title and content. Experiment. If your novel is a Cowboy romance, a girl with a horse can be a very good choice. If you are writing regency, a lady dressed in regency garb can work just as well. Think outside the box and try to come up with something that identifies only you and your book (remember Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey), that way, you are less likely to run into trouble.
—– Pre-made Illustration Cover:
Pre-made Illustration Covers are far more complicated. A good illustration takes a long time to complete, so artists are not that willing to sell themselves cheap. These are more expensive and also scarce, and it’s doubtful that you will find a design that fits your book to the T, because they are very generic. Mainly this type of pre-made covers feature castles, dragons, swords, and space landscapes like planets and spaceships. While the advantage of the photo pre-made is availability, illustration pre-mades are few and far between. My advice would be, in case your cover calls for an illustration, go for custom. Yes, you are going to be spending some more, but it’s better than paying up to $400 dollars at times for something that won’t work well with your branding and you will maybe have to change later on.
Today’s resources are some sites of pre-made covers for you to take a look at. Check them out, draw your own conclusions and then come back here and tell me about your process! It’s been great writing this series and I hope you all enjoyed it!