The Hand Off Newsletter

Basic knowledge you’ll need to consider for your first e- book cover

There’s an old saying which says, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ Now, we all like to think we don’t, but to be honest, most of us do. A beautiful cover is the first thing you notice about a book. It’s the thing which draws you in, entices you to read the book’s description, possibly crack it open and peek inside. Many would argue it’s the content that sells the book, and there’s a lot to that theory, but it’s the cover’s job to draw you in from the start. A wonderful friend of mine, Ms. Heather Slaughter of BookPressed™, once referred to the right book cover as wrapping for your present, and honestly, I can think of no better description. When I first decided to publish way back in 2014, I didn’t want to sink a small fortune into my little project. You know, just in case my book bombed. Indie authors come and go, but if a book isn’t going to sell, there’s no point in sinking your life’s savings into a cover. So I went the cheap, err, frugal route and made my own cover. I knew a few things about cover design, but precious little. One of which was, I needed a royalty-free image for the cover. So, I found a beautiful picture of a creepy, gothic doorway. It cost me a whopping $15 to make the original cover. For those of you who have read “Wings of Darkness,”


I think you’ll agree it was a subtle nod to the graveyard scene in chapter 6. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, it’s just a pretty picture which makes no sense if you’re cruising through Amazon’s 3 million or so books. It’s beautiful, but it’s vague. Then, a wonder of wonders, I started getting some pretty outstanding reviews, if I may say so myself. My book wasn’t flopping at all. It was floating along, holding its own. Book 2 was about to come out when I decided to bite the bullet and have a professional redo the first cover.


Sales went up, of course. It was colorful and enticing with a drop-dead gorgeous Angel of Death. Shirtless. Then I decided I wanted to give Amazon advertising a try. Guess what? That cover was a nope for advertising. Here’s a tip if you’re getting started: Make sure you check with the rules and regulations before you post an ad for consideration. Nudity of any sort, even a male chest, will be denied. So, it was back to the drawing board. I found The Graphics Shed on Etsy through the recommendation of a good friend, and we created the third, and possibly final incarnation of my cover. I love it completely.


The moral of the story is, don’t be afraid to change things around if they aren’t working for you. Change your covers, rewrite your blurbs, and do what’s best for your business. That’s the beauty of being an indie publisher; you can turn on a dime. You worked so hard to bring your book to market. Wrap it beautifully and put a giant bow on top.

~ Sherri Wingler is the author of the Immortal Sorrows and the Dark Woods series. Visit for more information. ~

BookPressed™ recommendations:

*Do your homework. Find a reputable cover artist. Do not settle for less. Cover prices range broadly. Good pre-made covers usually run about $75. Custom covers go anywhere between $100-$500, even more. Get the best cover you can afford because it will become your calling card and you only get one chance to make a good first impression on a reader.

*Ask other authors who they recommend. Better yet, take time to look over covers you love. Usually the
author has included the cover information in the front matter so it’s easy to find.

*Make bullet points to the cover artist to help the design along the way. You know best how you want
everything laid out. Make your suggestion and let them work. Tweak it till it’s perfect.

*In an ideal world, your artist would read your book and find exactly what you want. In the real world,
their business demands they get covers out quickly, so help them out. Give them pictures of what you
have in mind. Adobe stock has all the royalty free images your heart desires. Don’t be afraid to
screenshot pictures and send them to your artist. They can’t read minds.

*Understand they will only change the design a couple of times before they will charge you more
money. In all aspects of publishing, Time=Money.

*Please have at least three ideas in mind unless they ask for more. Again, finding the exact images
yourself will save tons of time and frustration

*Please trust who you pick; they will do their best to understand what it is you would like. If they don’t,
find someone else.

*A timeline should be followed. Turnaround should be fairly quick.

*And if you feel uncomfortable with any decision – say something.

*Last, but never least, do not use Google to find an image and use it for your cover. That’s a lawsuit
waiting to happen.

Be patient, take the time to wrap your present beautifully.

This information is brought to you by Indie Author Sherri Wingler and BookPressed™ 1-25-2020

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