I know it’s really bad form to criticize someone else who has accomplished something you’re trying (and not succeeding at). But this just has to be said.
Pick a decent cover for your self-published e-book.
You’ve put at least a small amount of effort in the writing of it. You’ve gone to the trouble to get it formatted for Kindle and uploaded to Amazon. So why, after all of that, would you slap some horrible non-art on the front?
Here’s the thing. I shop for Kindle titles regularly–at least once a day. And when I’m shopping for self-pubs, I’m doing it on websites like E-Reader IQ. That means I see a dozen covers at once, and that’s the main thing I use to decide which books to look into further.
I know this method is generally frowned upon by fortune cookies, bumper stickers and old wives. After all, judging a book by its cover is right up there with running with scissors. You just shouldn’t do it. Ever.
More and more, though, I’m convinced that the saying became popular before the world was awash in self-published e-books. Before you could tell which authors actually cared about the quality of their babies simply by seeing which ones put any effort at all into what the thing looks like.
Self-Pubbed By Someone Who Cares
You Have Got To Be Kidding Me
The sad thing is that the majority of titles in the scrublands (free and under-$4.99) have covers like Example #3. Covers that make me angry about the state of e-publishing. It’s as though the world expects people to read any sub-par thing simply because it doesn’t cost full price. As a reader I think of it as the equivalent experience of being asked to pay $1.00 to eat a rotten hamburger. Just because it’s cheap or free doesn’t mean it is a good value.
So this is the lesson: Even if you’re giving your work away, at least make it look like something worth people’s time.