On the latest edition of Open Book, I lead a discussion on whether or not independent authors should design their own book covers.
It comes down to three basic questions.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE WITH GRAPHIC DESIGN?If the answer is you've never done anything artistic or related to graphic design in your life, then NO, you should not design your own cover. You can learn. It is never too late to start. However, the cover for your own book is not the place to start.
HOW FAMILIAR ARE YOU WITH PHOTOSHOP?There are other programs out there, some of them free. However, in my experience there is no substitute to Photoshop. Unless you are extremely talented, you are not going to get a professional cover with most other programs.
As a child, my goal was to become a comic book artist. I spent 3 hours a day drawing and kept that up until my mid twenties. My mother was painter and I took several classes with her. I've used the slimmed down version of Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, for about 5 years.
HOW PREPARED ARE YOU TO SPEND THE 10,000 HOURS IT TAKE TO BECOME A PRO?
Even with that background, I still had to spend 3-4 hours a day for over six months before I felt competent doing cover art.
BONUS: YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE NOT EXPERTSNever ask your friends and family if they like your cover. They are all going to say they do, even if they don't. Unless they are graphic designers, their opinion is not valid.
BOOKS BY M JOSEPH MURPHY:
Amazon: M Joseph Murphy on Amazon: Paperback and ebook
Smashwords: M Joseph Murphy Author Page on Smashwords
Kobo: M Joseph Murphy Books on Kobo