Here’s a draft cover for an upcoming novel. It’s exciting to have my words coming to life, but sometimes the author needs help to make it happen.

Certainly one of the benefits of independent publishing is control. You, in your role as publisher, get the final approval on everything. That’s nice when you are trying to create the book that you envision in your mind. You don’t have that kind of control with mainstream publishing, and sometimes the result is a book you barely recognize as your own.

Publishing isn’t the only place where this happens. It happens when books are made into movies, too. I remember a story about the western, Bend of the Snake by Bill Gulick. The book was made into the James Stewart movie, Bend of the River. Apparently, it was changed so much between book and movie that Gulick took out a large ad that said that the only thing that the movie had in common with his novel was the first three words of the title.

Independent publishing gives an author control over a book that he or she has poured blood, sweat, tears, and a little bit of their soul into.

However, in the immortal words of Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Writers write, but they can’t always edit, do layout, or create a cover. In those instances, you need to recognize where your talents fall short and find someone who can do the job you envision.

I’ve designed some of my book covers and the results have been mixed. I have one book that I definitely want to create a new cover for at some point.

To make up for my lack of ability with graphic design, I have also hired designers to help out cover design. What has never failed to amaze me in working with cover designers is that they can take my initial ideas and turn them into something so much better than I even envisioned. I’ve also discovered that the covers I hear comments on the most are the ones that I’ve had a cover designer put together for me.

Right now, I have covers being worked on for three different books. I needed original art work for one book and found a young designer named Kate Shepherd. She posted some of her art on her Facebook page. I liked the style and thought it would work well for the cover of a book I was formatting. I’ve seen the ideas that she came up with and she hasn’t disappointed. She has actually been able to create pictures of my characters from my words.

The second book cover is from a different designer named Grace Eyler. It’s the one showing above. What do you think of it? The designer still has some small tweaks that she wants to do it, but I think she captured the essence of the story I’m telling? What does this cover make you think of?

I haven’t seen anything for the third cover yet, but I am excited to see what the designer comes up with. Mainly because with the two previous covers, not only have I been pleased with the result, but I doubt that I could have created either of the covers. I’m not only talking about just the technical aspects, but both of these ladies have a lot of creativity that expresses itself in a different way than my creativity does.

While I’m all for stepping outside the box as you write and publish, know when you’re taking too big a step and get help. Then keep working to improve your own abilities.