The very things that drew me to self-publishing were the control, speed, and low cost. What better way to have even more control, efficiency, and savings than by doing everything myself? No. No no no. That thought never even entered my head!
I didn't set out to self-publish because I was a cover designer, editor, and interior formatter (all of which I paid for by the way). I set out to self-publish because I was a writer. Not just that, but a writer hoping to make her name for herself as an author.
In order to make a name for yourself, you have to make a good impression. As materialistic as that may sound, it's a reality. And to one degree, it makes sense because quality talks. I mean, Mary Poppins can sing "a cover is not the book" all she wants, but I'm here to tell ya that people are hardwired to think otherwise. Myself included.
I find it unfortunate that self-publishing often turns people into a jack-of-all-trades, because that often sacrifices quality. If you have true talent as a cover designer, then I think the argument can be made that you're worthy to do your own cover. Other than that, stick to writing and writing only.
I think everyone who publishes can say professionalism is the goal. (If it's not then you can disregard everything else I say here today.) This quite simply means that you should be paying the professionals. I don't mean spending $5,000 on a single book. There are talented people out there with reasonable prices if you look hard enough!
I die a little bit on the inside every time I see a new book with a pencil drawing cover. Or maybe it has a beautiful watercolor cover and the grammar rules have hit the fan. Maybe it's simply ugly to look at on the page. Whatever the issue is, it will have an impression on all your readers! I die a little bit not because it's so bad, but because it could have been so much better. Instead, it's wasted potential.
Even though I know it can be hard to consider having to pay for so much when the return may not be great, think about it like this. How much we value our book should show. I would argue that means we should shell out some money to make it look professional. You've worked hard on the words inside, so don't sell yourself short of the whole package.
As overwhelming as that may be to some of you new writers, have no fear! There's such a community to be found of people willing to give you a helping hand. Farming out jobs doesn't even always mean you're paying. I used my uncle who had tech/photo skills to do the font design on my cover. In future, I'll probably have photography friends help me put together a book trailer. By all means, use what resources you have. But please don't use resources you don't have.
After all, this self-publishing thing is a great opportunity, don't you think? As such, we should bring a good name to it. Let's be honest, the bad rap exists because bad self-published books exist. But let's not do the snobs any favors by contributing the pile of "meh" self-published books.
Don't we want to give our hard the work the best leg up possible? Of course! To me, that means doing a stellar job on all fronts, even if it costs a little more time and money.
If that's not enough for you, I think we can all agree that writing is a gift from God. Don't we want to do our best to bring Him glory? Yes of course! It's simply the nature of the world that people will be more inclined to listen to your message if it comes in a pretty package. And it's simply the nature of God to expect nothing but our very, very best.
Now simple doesn't mean easy, so it's fine if this sounds like a lot to you. But, trust me as someone who's come out on the other side twice now, no one has ever regretted making their work the best it could be.
I hope that didn't come off condescending and instead gave you a perspective for why self-publishing can be so good! What are your thoughts on why quality matters? Does this seem obvious or was something new to you here?