Since launching The Frontispiece in 2015, we have designed over 200 book projects for clients ranging from first-time indie authors to the largest publishers in the world. We love working with all of our clients, but if we had to choose, self-publishing authors are our favorite.
Many of us know a person who DIYs everything. If there’s ever a problem, they come equipped with duct tape, a mop bucket, and Windex. They’re scrappy. They save money. And their work is a great temporary fix. It might keep your kitchen from flooding for a week. But anyone can look at a DIY solution and tell it from a professional one.
When it comes to designing a book cover, leaving your duct tape showing can completely delegitimize an otherwise excellent book. DIY design solutions seldom work if you do not already have the appropriate experience and tools.
I've written about designing covers for Eliot Peper before. He's one of those authors to whom I look for advice, not only because he understands and respects my design process, but because he reads the market much better than I do. Since we don't often work for big publishers who dish out on all their marketing secrets, self-publishing authors who do their research remain one of my best sources of information on the book market. I first recognized this characteristic in Eliot while designing the covers for The Uncommon Series beginning in 2013. In responding to the first set of covers I sent to him, he responded with a phrase that would drive me insane for many weeks: "It's just not thriller-y enough." When we got to the point where we were bringing actual guns to photoshoots and setting shit on fire in the streets of Boulder to get the images we wanted, I knew that Eliot's advice, which I had initially balked at, resulted in what remain some of the best covers I've worked on.