If you design your own book cover, you may encounter many problems. Being too close to the story is one of those. If you’re too emotionally involved, you might not be able to envision the best cover design. I know. I didn’t initially design the best cover for my novel An Illusion of Trust. (See the ebook cover in detail and the full print cover here.)
I found that photo at a stock photo site a year before I published An Illusion of Trust. One look took my breath away because, to me, it portrayed the sweet beauty and fragility of Renee, the book’s main character. I stored the comp image on my computer, planning to buy the real thing when it came time to design the cover.
Fast forward six months. I’d finished writing and editing the manuscript and sent it to my beta readers. This time I hadn’t had the benefit of running the manuscript through a critique group, so I was unusually anxious as I hit that send button. And when the betas returned their feedback, it became obvious not every reader would be as sympathetic toward Renee as I’d hoped.
As I went through more rounds of revision > beta > revision, I also worked on designing the cover. But feeling that I’d written a darker story than intended, I designed a dreary cover. Every day after that, I looked at that cover and hated it. So a couple of months after publication, I changed it a bit. I hated the cover a little less, but it still depressed me. Even when it was nominated for an award.
I didn’t want to promote the book. I hated to even think about it. A few times, I decided to unpublish it. But each of those times, a positive review or private message changed my mind. When a reader tells you how much they identified with Renee, or that her story made them cry, or that they stayed up way past their bedtime to finish reading, then you know you wrote a book that deserves to be published.
And if it deserves to be published, it deserves the best cover you can provide. Now, I’ve done that. And I’m finally smiling.