Cover design is an area that many self-publishers struggle with, particularly educators who want to self-publish for the first time. Book design is not always in our skill set and designing a cover for a book generally requires graphic design software such as Photoshop. These programs can be intimidating to the novice. Now, does a cover really matter to the success of your book?
You probably know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” While this is a good principle for many things in life from other human beings to new experiences, it doesn’t actually apply to books. There’s plenty of reason to believe that we DO judge books by their covers!
I don’t know if a good cover can necessarily make a book sell, but a bad cover can definitely ruin a good book. And a cover is the first thing anyone will see of your book. If it’s off-putting, it may be the only thing they see!
Here I’ll be talking about getting illustrations for self-published books. Not enough authors or writers give much thought to art. Yet the process of getting art for your project needs to be taken seriously. I’m not getting into cover design just yet; that’s a whole topic itself, something I will cover in a later post. Right now, we’re talking about interior art.
It’s important to choose art that adds value and to think about the style and purpose of adding illustrations. There are also licensing and copyright issues to consider. In addition, you may wonder Should you hire an illustrator? How much will it cost? Can I use pictures from free sites? Should I? How much can I expect to pay for art for my book?
Let’s start with what kinds of illustrations you might need, and to figure that out, you need to think about the purpose of art in a book.
Why Do You Need Art?
This is a hard question to answer philosophically, but fortunately, I mean it practically. What actual art do you need for your book and why? The first step before figuring out where to get art is to think about what kinds of illustrations you need at all. Take some time to sit with your content, if you haven’t already, and note where you think illustrations would be needed, what kind, and what you think they should look like.