Must Haves for the Indie Author, Part Two: The Graphic Artist

“I paint pictures with words – so I don’t need someone who does it with pictures. Right?”

I’m not going to push the buzzer and shout “Wrong!” But I do think you might want to reconsider.

A good graphic artist can make a number of significant contributions to your book sales. Let’s count some of the ways.


Most readers trace their initial attraction to a book to the cover. A good cover accomplishes a number of necessary tasks.

  1. Genre placement: Sci-fi usually has a spaceship, Romance tends to display a couple, fantasy almost always has a hint of magic. These tropes let a reader know they are in the desired territory. A romance cover with a scary building on the front probably won’t sell well because it doesn’t speak to the correct audience.
  2. Enticement: A successful cover draws the reader in. The image, whatever it might be, makes them want to read the blurb, which is the vital next step on the way to the cash register or buy button. If the cover doesn’t attract the reader, the purchase will not happen.


These usually contain an interesting/enticing/spicy/ or otherwise attractive image and a quote. They are intended to get your reader to click that buy button and can be used in a variety of promotional venues, such as ads and FB parties.

Headers/Social Media Banners

Whether it’s your website banner or your reader group cover, you need an attractive graphic here. This banner could be just your book cover, but if you have several books, that doesn’t work well. Instead, the banner should reflect your brand, and by doing so, promote all you as an author and, by extension, all your books.

These are just a few of the things a good graphic artist can create for you. But you might be thinking, hey, I’ve done my own covers and stuff for a while now and they are fine. Maybe they are. But maybe they aren’t. Perhaps an example will help:

My cover isn’t horrible, but as you can see, it doesn’t hold a candle to the work of Bridgette O’Hare, of Dark Unicorn Designs.

Creating useful graphics requires a huge chunk of expertise, and I’m not just talking about the ability and effort involved in developing an appealing image. A good graphic artist knows the trends, the tropes and the current no-nos in the industry. You can learn these, but doing so requires you to spend the one commodity you cannot get more of: Time.

As any fellow author will tell you, time is precious. Any non-writing work you can afford to delegate to talented professionals enables you to spend more time doing the thing that is going be the largest contribution to your success – writing.

So, when you are budgeting for expenses this quarter, consider adding professionally created covers and other graphics to your list. They draw the reader in, assist in branding and make your writing look good.

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