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I wouldn't pay for a designer to produce one, but saying that I usually mockup a cover in Microsoft Publisher myself as I have it on  my computer, which is limited in what it can do, but having a cover in addition to having the blurb at the outset is a good motivator for me. I never use the mockup at publication, because they're nowhere near the quality a book a designer can do. I guess if you have a spare $50 or so that you can spend without missing it, a premade could be an alternative, but I'd never had that spare and if I had, I could put it to better use. The other thing is, i've never kept the title that I start out with, or end up with the same blurb that I'd put on the back cover of a print book. I guess if I were also a designer who had Abode, or knew how to use free design software at hand, I would. In other words, if its it free, I would, but I'd never waste money on one.

One other word of warning in paying out serious bucks at the start, is what's to say you'll finish the book? If you're anything like me, I have four MSs at around 30 - 65,000 words, or so that I'll never finish as I abandoned them.

Edited. Oh wait, I'm telling lies. I've just remembered. I did pay for an eBook cover for the follow on to In Search of Jessica, but as a standalone, with the identical design but with the title of In Search of Candice, so the title was fixed. The only difference was the color and two different images. I only did that because I was at 65.000 words with only 25k to go and I was on a roll punching out the chapters, but ended up abandoning it due to life pressures and stopped writing for two years. When I started again, I just couldnt pick up on the story and moved onto something else, another story that I was more excited about that had been brewing for those two years. Maybe I'll look at that one later, but for now my mojo isn't there to even look at it.
 

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Some authors have even bought premades that appealed to them and wrote a book based on the cover. I'd say if you want an affordable premade it could be helpful so if there are little things about the cover you can write that into the book. For example, if your character was blonde but the only good covers you like have brown hair then you could change it.
 

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I've sprung for premades on sale once or twice, when the relevant books were rough drafts or partial drafts. I added a couple of references to jellyfish to one book (Seeking The Quantum Tree) because there were jellyfish on a premade cover that otherwise felt like a good fit for the story. But those premades were very good deals, and I was very sure of the titles I wanted. Keep in mind that if you're planning on doing a series, you have to think about what kind of covers would look good as companions to the one you just bought.

I've also done cover mockups or fan art during or before writing, usually before, but that process hasn't produced anything I was willing to put out in public.

Basically if you're sure of your title, sure of your ability to finish the book, and you see something that's heavily discounted and visually just perfect, go for it.

I bought a couple of sci-fi western premades a couple of years ago, very inexpensively, because I thought they looked cool and it was a genre I wanted to play with at some point, but haven't done anything with those.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jaglionpress said:
I've sprung for premades on sale once or twice, when the relevant books were rough drafts or partial drafts. I added a couple of references to jellyfish to one book (Seeking The Quantum Tree) because there were jellyfish on a premade cover that otherwise felt like a good fit for the story. But those premades were very good deals, and I was very sure of the titles I wanted. Keep in mind that if you're planning on doing a series, you have to think about what kind of covers would look good as companions to the one you just bought.

I've also done cover mockups or fan art during or before writing, usually before, but that process hasn't produced anything I was willing to put out in public.

Basically if you're sure of your title, sure of your ability to finish the book, and you see something that's heavily discounted and visually just perfect, go for it.

I bought a couple of sci-fi western premades a couple of years ago, very inexpensively, because I thought they looked cool and it was a genre I wanted to play with at some point, but haven't done anything with those.
I was thinking about doing a series with my debut story but the problem is the plot won't be connected, it would have been a series connected by series title only, and maybe location, but I don't really have one planned.
 

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I always have covers before I finish the first draft. I don't want to have my publishing date delayed by issues with the cover. For custom covers, designers can be booked out for months nowadays

If you find a premade that fits, you can always ask the designer about cover continuations. They are usually happy to do it, ofc since it's more work for them, but it's not always possible if you want the same model for the series.
 

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an outside suggestion: dont buy yet, use pinterst in private moder.
You can do the same: get yourself a pinterest account and ignore everything there. Setup a private board or three and pin the covers you like to that board.

This would be problematic because of copyright if you had public boards, but if you make them private it is more of an organized way to have fun. Or same them to a special folder on your disc. YÒver time you might discover you have a preference you where not aware of.

For me it was thinking I like white walls in my flat - but pinning a lot of interior designs I liked I noticed that I in fact liked bold colors. Your boards can also include characters - it is easy to click around on pinterest based on interest and let other people show you their boards. If you find one item you like and click on the board it was shared to, very likely you will notice similar pictures - which you then again can pin to your boards.
 

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I usually have a lot of 'future ideas' floating around in my head. If I spot a cover that really matches one of them, I'll buy it if the price is right!
 

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I always get my covers months ahead usually because my cover designer is booked up rest of this year. My next slot isn't until Oct.

I've also bought premades because I fell in love with the covers and then came up with a story idea.
 

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I have a beautiful cover sitting in my files that I'll never use because the story fizzled partway through. Could I eventually use the cover for a different story? Not likely, given the genre and subject (children's story set in the 1930s ... much as I enjoy reading them, I don't write that sort of story anymore). After that experience, I'll never pre-buy a cover again. I will, however, spend some time browsing stock photo sites and even putting together mock covers to help spur me on sometimes when I get bogged down partway through a MS. The visual thrill helps wake up my own interest in the story, but I've not spent any money. And sometimes it even helps give me an idea of what to tell my cover designer I'm looking for when it comes time to actually do the real cover. Win-win-win!
 

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I get them done when I know the title and characters. Sometimes without having written anything. But I've never not finished a book, so that's not a risk.
 

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I'd rather have to redo the cover than push publication because I don't have the cover. I often get covers before I've written a word.

I've revised my policy to only book the next few covers. At least if I have a new cover concept/series. I want to make sure the concept works before I commission five covers. Especially if I'm getting custom images. Sigh...

Now, I try to wait until I've set up all the characters in the book/know their tropes.
 

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I also had my cover and blurb sorted before I'd actually finished my debut. A lot of writers struggle with the blurb or synopsis so I wanted mine done and out of the way in good time. That way I knew I could just concentrate on finishing the novel. Having a cover and blurb also makes it feel more finished in your mind and for me that made finishing the book easier as well.
 

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If investing money in a cover doesn't make sense at the moment, you can always throw together a mock-up of what you'd like it to be to give you the inspiration you need to cross the finish line at full speed.
 

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My wife, artist and art teacher, designs my covers for me, but I'm usually the one that chooses the photo that she uses to work her magic.

I won't say which titles, but I've obtained photos/artwork for a cover, then written the story to provide some sort of relevance to the photo...
 
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