The E-Book Cover Game

Every so often someone asks me about my e-book covers and who I got to design them and how much it cost. And the answer always depends on the e-book cover, as some were done by myself, others were done by my friend Wyatt Perko, and my most recent one was done by Jeroen ten Berge (who will also be doing my upcoming thriller The Serial Killer's Wife). The thing is, e-book covers are even more important than regular book covers. Sure, a regular book cover has to really grab your attention, but most likely the potential reader is in the bookstore and is already browsing for new books. The potential reader and book are so very close that the potential reader can actually pick the book up, turn it over, read the back, even flip through the pages.

But a potential reader can't quite do that with an e-book, can they?

No, all they can really judge, oftentimes, is just a thumbnail, so you better make sure that thumbnail sticks out and really catches attention -- and in a good way.

Of course, to do this will cost either a) money or b) time and effort. The thing is, a lot of writers don't have the extra cash to spend up front for professionally designed covers (a sort of catch-22, if you think about it). So they decide to do it themselves, sifting through or There they might find something of interest and, if all goes well, will get permission from the artist to use the artwork or simply pay the correct amount of credits. And then it's off to Photoshop, where they add their title and byline and then -- ka-blamo -- that's it. Or maybe they are talented enough to design their own covers. This is definitely possible. In fact, Aaron Polson has been designing some really great covers of his own recently.

But let's go back to those who decide to use some kind of stock image. It might be a great image, but remember that when you decide to use it, it doesn't mean nobody else can use the same image too. That's what those images are there for. So then you might end up in a situation like these three writers.

The funny thing is, while the first two titles are self-published (at least I believe they are), the last book there, Infection, is published by a company called Eloquent Books, which, if you Google them, brings you to this website. It's a publisher but it's not really a publisher, as evidenced by this submission page. Right now I'm too tired and lazy to do more research, but I'm guessing this is the kind of "publisher" you want to stay away from. After all, they are VERY INTERESTED in the following (their caps, not mine):

Quite honestly, if you're an author who already meets those qualifications, then trust me, you don't need this "publisher" in the first place. Especially since this "publisher" will only use stock images like this one:

Remember, if you don't want to self-publish your own e-books and would rather have a publisher do it so you can think yourself special for having a "publisher" easily distribute something you can do yourself and then keep taking a cut of your proceeds, please make sure they are at least creating for you original and eye-catching cover art. I mean, it's the least they can do.