Several things get in the way of producing a good cover for a self-published book, according to a blog I've just discovered. The main culprits are Laziness, Lack of skills and/or imagination, Delusion, and Distorted perspective.
Catherine (http://catherineryanhoward.com/about-catherine/) writes wittily about the traps of self-delusion we can fall into, and she's right on many points. I don't want to be bothered hunting down cover designers and paying out shedloads of money for a cover I probably won't like. I say this because I cringe at many covers leering at me from the shelves these days. Mostly the digital shelves, I am happy to add. Bookshop shelves here in the the north of England sport some bare-chested warriors who could benefit from a bra, but many publishers still produce delightful covers. I also have delusions that I can produce an attractive cover because I enjoy photography, was deemed good at art in my youth (I know, I know - I'm admitting to the delusion) and enjoy the process of struggling with Adobe Photoshop. I also really like the sense of achievment the finished article gives me.
I admit covers are important. But I read books that have what I think are unremarkable covers (Burial Rites by Hannah Kent comes to mind. I had to pull it from my shelves because I could not remember what was on the cover. The answer? Almost nothing. A fluffy sort of feather disappearing right off the plain white cover. Some of Lee Child's covers are less than gripping. I enjoyed reading Ian Rankin's Black and Blue and the paperback copy has what I call a non-cover - a plaque bearing the words Oxford Bar. You know my thoughts on the racy romance covers. It occurs to me that cover designers are probably - but not always - under the age of thirty. It stands to reason that their choice is not going to match my... er, well, more senior perspective.
So what do we do? Stick to our guns or give in and here a cover designer and then argue endlessly.....?
let me know what you think of what might potentially be the cover of my next publication!