Aside from writing, the toughest call to make is probably settling on a cover. An “eye-catching” cover is vital. Initially, though, I had no idea what I wanted, so choosing one started with a process of eliminating what I felt I did NOT want.
I realized almost immediately I did not want models. Frankly, when I saw what one company offered as templates, I almost had a laughing fit. I remember thinking, “They’ve got to be kidding?”
I do describe the characters generally of course. Yet our imaginations are an important aspect of literary fiction. How often have we seen actors in TV/ movies portraying our favorite book characters and found ourselves disappointed, having expected to see “someone else”?
Next I ruled out employing an artist. I know artists have to eat too, but the costs seemed borderline absurd. That said, I have not yet ruled out using a professional for the next book.
So no models and no outside artist for this cover. What options were left? Obviously, to do it myself.
I dug through old photographs (I had taken them, so they belonged to me) and found several I thought appropriate. I wanted a simple cover that worked well as a thumbnail. It had to convey near instantly something about the book’s contents also.
In my humble opinion, too many book covers are way too cluttered, or nebulous, and as a result fail to give a good (and quick) impression of what a book is about. Having a cover that reduces well also is especially important for sites like Amazon, where potential readers often see a thumbnail first; if a thumbnail is too hard to make out, that can be a put off. (As a book buyer also, it can be to me.)
Thus the flags. When I ran that cover idea by a friend who had years ago had a children’s book published, she thought it more than did the job. Indeed, she said she liked it. And that was that. 🙂