Now for the real fun of the writing/self-publishing process. Who will design your cover? Another popular question I've fielded over the years.
Why give your book to a grahics designer to 'try a few ideas' and come back with three designs you don't like and a bill for $1,000 and still have to keep going and keep spending?
A printing company will have a graphics designer there or use your own. But first:
Look around, the book store or click around amazon books and see what inspires you. Then get a blank piece of paper and make some test designs of what you have in mind. Draw it out in stick figure.
Then go to one of those photos for sale web sites. They have 16 million photos you can search by title. Sea, boats, men, etc. They're only three bucks each. Here's the photo site I use: http://www.123rf.com/
Then when you know what you want. Take that photo or photos and your stick figure design which will have the name of the book positioned and your name, and your tag lines, to the graphics guy. He'll input them quickly. thensit with him and you'll be surprised how fast you can see so many various of your design.
He can change your lettering to different colors, shapes, sizes, OH, you know this. And when it's perfect freeze it. Same with the back of the book with your ISBN number and your bar code. He'll know where to get and make the bar code and you can buy 10 ISBN numbers for $200. Now you're finished in under two hours.
See that Rock Star Rising cover? It's the story about the rise and fall of a rock star, but he also drowns and a lake, and then 'rises'. So I got inspired by the Deliverance poster, found a photo of a creepy hand coming out of a lake. Then I found a separate photo of an 'alligator style' guitar, and had the graphics guy put the guitar in his hand.
Then my partner said, "Have the guitar dip in the water." I said, "He can't do that." The designer said,"Yes, I can." And dipped it in the water. Then we saw various choices of title shapes, colors and size just by a click of the computor and choose one. All this in under two hours. And a bill for only $300.
Actually the longest work was me on the photo web site searching for various guitars and hands in the water. But it was fun and free.
The cover of McKnight's Memory was two separate shots. One of a guy with a gun in his hand. The other of a woman that looks like the lead in our show Nancy Kwan, and we put them together.
When our narrator Frank Sinatra Jr. Saw the first cover, he said to change the gun to a CIA type pistol called a 'glock'. So our designer found a photo of one in five minutes and put it over the other gun. Can't tell the difference can you?
That's actually a scene from the story, where Nancy Kwan descends into the water on a full moon night with Robert Culp standing behind her holding a gun. Everyone thought we went out and shot it for real ourselves.
So do the cover yourself (with the graphics person doing what you tell him to do.) It's a simple choice. Get the exact cover you want for $300 or get something you have to settle for, for $1,000 or more.