#IWSG: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

It’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group day! For those who don’t know, IWSG day is a time when we writers gather together on the first Wednesday of the month to share our goals, our insecurities, our successes, and our fears and offer a word of encouragement to others who may be struggling.

Participants have the option to answer the question of the month or be inspired to post anything related to writing insecurities and triumphs.

This month’s question is brought to you by the lovely co-hosts Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner.

February 1 question – If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

Hmm, does having a story published on Kindle Vella qualify me as an indie author? I’m assuming it does. Currently, that’s my only publication credit, not counting the literary magazines I’ve had stories and poems published in and, of course, this blog.

The relieving thing about Kindle Vella is that we only need a square image for the cover. No title, no byline. Just snap a photo, if you’re the photography type, or snag one from any of the free stock photo libraries, and you have your Kindle Vella cover. Simple, right?

A cover might ultimately be the reason why I choose the traditional route, though, because I have no graphic design skills and I’m cheap. I think that’s what often results in my writer’s block—the “what ifs” after the final draft is done haunting my brain to the point that I can’t even finish draft one.

What if I self-publish, how much will it cost? Should I get an editor? Beta readers? Will I publish it on Amazon? Somewhere else? How hard is it to format the e-book? Is it as time-consuming as people say? They don’t have software to simplify the process yet? It’s 2023, for Christ’s sake! Will a cover I make myself using Canva and stock images look professional enough or should I just hire a designer? How much would that cost? Who will buy my book? How on earth will I market when I can’t even get my own family to read my blog? Do I have an audience? Will I be able to make any of this money back???

What if I publish traditionally? How will I find an agent? What if I get endless rejections? Is a nearly nonexistent royalty check worth losing the rights to my work? What if they ask me to make too many changes? What if editing and rewrites take years before my publisher is finally satisfied with the book? Will I still struggle to find readers? Will I make any money???

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I’m trying to get these “what ifs” out of my head and just write the book. No use in worrying about what’s to come when you haven’t even started.

Still, I play around with the idea of how my books will look once they’re published, and Canva allows me to be the graphic designer I never thought I would be. Amid the surge of AI art all over the Internet, Canva recently added a “Text to Image” generator. I decided to test it to see if it could generate some polished, professional-looking covers for my current WIPs.

Unfortunately, some of these images came out looking rather…how should I say this…

Potential cover for Waiting for the Day, Christmas Day created in Canva

Needless to say, I stuck with the original black and white photo for Waiting for the Day, Christmas Day.

There were a few images that didn’t look like they came straight out of a Salvador Dali nightmare, though. Here are potential covers for my chapbook A Kiss in Your Pocket.

They’re still not quite the cover image I have in my head (the last one—heart-shaped patch on denim with the word “Kiss” inside—comes the closest), so I probably will end up paying someone to design the cover…if I go the self-publishing route.

But first, I must finish writing the book!

logo: cartoon of girl with glass and her hair tied in a bun reading a book



One thought on “#IWSG: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

  1. I think a writer has such an intimate idea in their head of what their book is about that it is sometimes hard to get another person to see that vision let alone design art for it. 🙂


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