Let’s talk self-publishing and covers

A couple days ago, I posted the links to the short story Martin & James vs The Masked Moss-Trooper. Go ahead, if you haven’t read it, click the link, read it, I’ll wait.

One issue with that was the cover. Here’s the problem with covers. Most people will make a large part of their buying or reading decision based on the cover. If you have a crappy cover, no one will pick it up to read it. The opposite is also true – great covers will get readers, even if it’s a not so good story.

When you are traditionally published, the publisher will get the covers made based on what they think will draw the attention of the target market. That could be good and bad – it makes the author totally rely on the publisher to decide what the cover should look like. For some, that’s fine and they do great. You may also have seen books that get different covers. This, I’m sure, is due to many market factors.

The problem if you are an independent author and publisher, it’s totally up to you to get your covers. What usually happens is that the author thinks, “Hm, I have a great story that people will love and I don’t want to spend time/money on a cover so I’ll just get something cheap. It’ll be fine.” Then they end up thinking, “Hm, I wonder why no one is buying and reading my great story?”

Don’t get me wrong. Good cover designers are worth what they charge. When you are just starting out and no one has actually BOUGHT a story from you yet, it’s difficult to spend money on a cover.

That leads me to my problem with this story. I’m not charging any money for it, but I want people to read it. If I don’t have a good cover, no one will read it, so I should get a good cover. But a good cover costs money, and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on this cover because …. I’m not charging any money for the story. And we loop around until we decide to go eat ice cream and binge watch something.

The first cover was just me messing around and I threw something together. Good enough. When I release a book of all the stories, I’ll get a good cover. But it bugged me. And bothered me. So I decided to try and create a better cover. I wouldn’t get the benefits of a professional cover, but I might make it look a bit better than that first one – which looked like a second grader had fun in art class.

It took a bit of time, but I came up with a cover that isn’t completely horrible:

cover martin & james vs the masked moss-trooper
Cover for the short story – Martin & James vs The Masked Moss-Trooper by S.A. Schneider

The other benefit, I learned a bit of how to use a good graphics program. Exotic things, like layers and cloning and blends. Is it the best cover ever or even the best cover that could be made for this story? Phew, heck no. Is it better than the last one? I hope so.

Let me know what you think of my newbie, mad graphics skills. And if you haven’t read the story – what are you waiting for?

<hint – click the cover to read it>

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