Self-publishing is hard work, and expensive. With the costs of writing, editing and formatting text, aspiring authors are probably feeling pretty broke by the time they start thinking about their book cover. And if publishing on Lulu or Createspace, using their free online cover generator tools may seem like a bargain.

But the truth is, using a free or cheap cover is the quickest way to sabotage your book’s success. Reviewers will pass it up because it looks cheap and tacky. Readers will give it a miss because it looks unprofessional and homemade. And bookstores will slam their doors in your face.

After all the hard work, time and money you’ve invested in your book, you’re committing the cardinal sin of publishing: thinking that you can get readers to buy what’s on the inside without caring about what’s on the outside.

Packaging is everything. Everybody cares about how a product looks. You are creating a product and putting it out into the world. You are competing with multi-million dollar publishing industries that spend thousands of dollars on each book cover.

If you can’t afford a book cover – save up until you can.

There are lots of designers who can create a nice looking book cover for under $100, shop around for them. Post your project on or and find talented designers who work cheap. You could probably even find a neighbor or facebook friend that knows how to use photoshop and can make something better than the free templates on Lulu or Createspace.

While getting a “free” cover may feel good right now, you are sacrificing an untold amount of income from lost book sales.

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