Your Cover Art Sucks

This entry originally appeared on author and NEHW member, K. Allen Wood’s website.

Your Cover Art Sucks

by K. Allen Wood

Let’s talk about cover art.

There has been a self-publishing boom as of late. Once a surefire way to garner scorn from so-called professional writers, now even those dingleberries of the upper crust are self-publishing their work. With its rapidly growing popularity, there are those in the industry whom suggest there is a bubble…and that it’s about to burst. But I disagree. I think things are just getting started.

And that means more self-published books flooding the market.

There is an oft-used quote out there, which goes like this: “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

A few years ago, when I started Shock Totem, a well-known author told me that cover art “isn’t that important.” The argument being that it’s the content that matters more. It’s hard to argue with that. However, I think, in a certain regard cover art matters more. The expression “never judge a book by its cover” exists because everyone judges a book by its cover.

First impressions matter. That initial connection between cover art and potential reader is intimate, and it matters more than you and the masterpiece you think is a page turn away.

I won’t buy your book if the cover art sucks. I won’t download it for free. I won’t do more than laugh derisively like a too-cool uptowner and walk on. Haughtily.

I fully understand that the majority of writers doing this sort of thing are, to put it bluntly, bad writers; but many are quite good, in fact. And to them I say this: If you truly care about your work, seek out the work of professionals in areas where you are not King Dingaling. Dig deep. It doesn’t cost much.

In other words, don’t do this…

[ click any photo to enlarge ]

Above are four actual book covers not designed by a 4-year-old.

Trapped inside the social-media matrix, I am bombarded daily with similar fruits of so many would-be writers’ half-assed labor. You, as well, I imagine.

I see authors posting bad cover art all the time, constantly asking for opinions (which people freely give but which equates to little more than smoke up the ass), often readily admitting that he or she has little skill in Photoshop or design, of any sort.

Thus, I question: If you are that person, why the fuck are you creating cover art?

2 comments on “Your Cover Art Sucks

  1. “Thus, I question: If you are that person, why the fuck are you creating cover art?”

    I can only guess two things:

    1. They are too cheap to even look into what it would actually cost to get an artist to make a good cover for them. I say too cheap to look, because if they looked, they’d find it’s not all that expensive.


    2. Someone they trusted told them Cover Art doesn’t matter, and they believed it.

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