Maybe you can judge a book by its cover.

For some time now I’ve been considering how to improve my book covers – I have nine books published, two more in the pipe-line and a sequel to write. At first I designed the covers myself using a simple graphics app called Pixel Maker. It was fine and some of them turned out as I had hoped, but there were others that didn’t quite gel. And this was reflected in their sales. An eye-catching cover is one of the ways you can attract prospective readers to your books—the others usually require a lot of input from other people but the design of the cover is something you can control.
So I decided to buy covers off the internet, ready made so that all you have to do is insert the text that you want. They looked very professional but they were not always exactly what was required. A good cover first attracts the eye and then drops hints about the story. Bought covers can be eye-catching but they don’t necessarily tell you what the story is about. The two covers below were bought off the internet.

This month I decided to take the plunge and approach a professional book cover designer. I wrote to a few I found on the internet and in the end asked Rachel Lawston of Lawston Designs to help me. Her input has been great and extends way beyond just producing the cover – she also provides marketing material and plenty of free advice. The cover on the left is the one I designed using Pixel Maker and the one on the right is designed by Rachel Lawston. I leave you to decide which one tempts you more.

Joan Fallon is a writer and novelist living in Spain.