Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

Self-publishing when you are broke, Part 1

subtitled: YOU CAN DO THIS!

So in the interest of sharing information (and selling my book), I thought I’d do a little post or eleventy about what I did and how I did it. (And, you know, convince you to buy my book.)

First up: cover design.

I’m not going to lie to you; I really, really, really wanted a professionally done cover. I have a professional photographer’s work bookmarked, as well as cover artists I’d kill to employ.

However, the bank account! She is empty!

So I had to punt. Good news is YOU CAN DO THIS.

1. For starters: finding low- or no-cost artwork.

This is a lot easier than you’d think. Places like Flickr and Wikicommons have work licensed under Creative Commons licensing. You want CC by 2.0, which is the attribution license that allows work to be used for commercial purposes and allows you to alter the work so long as you give the artist credit.

This takes TIME. I’ll be honest; a search on Flickr for “blonde” netted — no exaggeration — hundreds of pictures of some woman posing in more leather than any one human should possibly own.

Most importantly, don’t steal. Ganking off DeviantArt or someone’s web site is NOT OKAY. And be sure to give that credit to the artist. They’re kind enough to let you use their stuff; the least you can do is put their information in your front matter.

2. Once you find something, KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Unless you are a professional designer, less is MORE. You can’t screw up or over-do simple. I picked a single image tha wasn’t busy and really didn’t have much in the background. (read: it was a solid background). Use NO MORE than two fonts and try to keep them complementary. Keep the color scheme simple.

3. Make good friends.

I’m going to probably have this tip in everything I post on this subject. You cannot underestimate the value of having friends who are talented, but best of all, DO NOT BLOW SUNSHINE UP YOUR ASS. That’s crucial. I did a mock-up of my cover, sent it to some friends and got back “It’s okay, but looks amateur. Let me fix that for you.”

Friends who own Photoshop or Illustrator or even know their way around GIMP are PRICELESS. If you don’t know someone, you might be able to barter services to find help.