I’ve enjoyed designing my own covers in the past. That being said, I’m well aware that my own designs look amateur. I think there’s still some charm in my own designs, but I also recognize that I am more than a little biased. Historically, I have received a mix of comments on my book covers, ranging from strong praise (“That’s genius!” “I love it!” “It makes me want to look closer”) to troll-worthy cynicism (“Oh, Pah-lease!” “Just get a professional to do it! Obviously you can’t”). When someone wants to bash one of my books, the cover usually gets hit first. For example:
(I’m well aware this review isn’t displaying well. I’ve tried, but I can’t seem to fix that for the time being.)
I’m to the point in my professional journey where I’m having to reassess too many of the choices that I’ve previously taken for granted. That’s a fancy way of saying that I’m redesigning aspects of my author brand, marketing materials, sales objectives, etc. And I’ve come to a harsh realization: my old designs are holding my books back. I’m a passable artist, but not a professional when it comes to book covers. (Anyone familiar with my twitter may recall that I paint as a hobby. But, it’s just that: a hobby. My books mean more to me from a professional perspective.)
This wasn’t an easy decision to make. But, ultimately, I decided to have the cover redesigned. I’ve kept the old ones around where they’re findable on the site, but all future marketed covers will be designed by someone other than me.
I made (I think) around six prototype covers for It Began with a Dream. When I tested them, I ran into a lot of ambivalence. Since I have a presence on twitter now, I also reached out for opinions on social media. Most of what I heard back online amounted to gentle pushes to hire an artist. Here are several of the prototypes I made:
I still appreciate having made them. I’ll miss designing my own covers in the future, but I stand by my decision. The cover I have now looks beautifully professional: