Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Writing 101: Doing It Yourself

Some of my Twitter followers may know that I have only recently emerged from a battle, me against my newest book cover. And in addition to getting a few (invisible) scars, I learned an important lesson about doing it yourself. Even when you have to step outside of your own skill set, sometimes -- most of the time -- you have to do it yourself first. It's a lot easier to move forward from there. 

The Starting Point

It all started when I had to hire someone to do my book cover. I don't have a standard person that I use, mostly because I want every cover to look really different (because they're different books). So I used the site that I like to hire an artist. And I hated the cover. Things got a whole lot worse from there. 

I tried to get some edits on that first cover and it just would not work out, so I purchased cover services from a different artist altogether.

The second cover was even worse than the first, and trust me that's a strong statement. By this point, I was frustrated...and quickly becoming desperate. So, yes. I went to yet a third artist. I really did. I was very clear about that I wanted. I explained myself thoroughly. 

I hated that cover even more than any of the others. That was the low point. Just picture me, staring at my computer screen at these three awful covers. Thinking I might never be able to publish my book. 

It was right around that time that I realized that three artists can't possibly be completely wrong. Even with my all-around terrible luck, there is no way that I just happened to stumble upon three totally incompetent graphic designers. The fault was mine. 

And the problem of my book cover was mine to fix. So I had to screw my courage to the sticking place, and make my own cover mockup. It should have done it in the first place. I didn't because I'm not artistic, and I'm not very visual. I thought I could use the power of my words to convey the image I wanted to see for my cover, but I was wrong.

Sometimes...most of the time, you're going to be doing it yourself when you're an indie author. That's what I learned. Did you learn a similar lesson? Share your story in the comments!

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  1. I'm both a writer and a graphic designer, and I still had trouble coming up with a good cover.
    My first cover was really simple and nice, but not that exciting and didn't look like a fantasy book at all (it was just a logo with a title). For the ebook, though, it worked just fine. But once I began getting printed copies made, I realized that I needed to actually put my ideal cover together, which involved some sort of photography on my part. Thankfully, a friend directed me to free stock photos, where I could grab a photo of a white horse. And then, I enlisted my roommate to pose as the girl on the cover (she has red hair, and I really wanted to use someone with red hair). But we were never home at the same time when the lighting was good, so I ended up being on the cover myself, and having someone else take the photo.
    (The cover I'm talking about is on my website)

  2. Sounds like a real DIY effort, Roya! Thanks for sharing.