Phoster makes great ebook covers – when it’s used by an expert

A rather interesting iPad app made the rounds a few weeks back, and I've been meaning to write a post about why I'm never going to get it. (I'd be better off hiring a pro.)

It's called Phoster, and when it came out last year it was pitched as a way to make cards, posters, and signs.  The reason it got attention a few weeks ago is because Piotr of Password Incorrect discovered that he could use it to make covers for ebooks. It works quite well, and I was impressed with the covers Piotr managed to make.

But here's why I won't get the app: I have little artistic talent and (more importantly) no training. I know that I couldn't do a good job at designing a cover - not nearly as good as Piotr.

I would be better off spending a few hundred dollars on one of the crowd-sourced design sites instead of parting with the $2 for this iPad app. Whoever ended up with my money would almost certainly have more artistic skills than me and thus would make a better cover.

This post went on my "must write it eventually" list because of a twitter conversation I had back when I first learned about Phoster. Someone was telling me that all indie authors should get this app. She works for a major ebookstore, and she's seen her share of terrible covers. She wanted everyone to use this tool to make better covers. I disagreed with her.

As I told her at the time, just because I can buy the tool doesn't mean I have the skills to use the tool properly.

Here's the larger point, and this is why I wrote the post: Just because you're self-published doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself. It's perfectly okay to hire someone to perform a specific task (design the cover, edit the manuscript, etc). Self-publishing has to do with the fact that you control your book; not the person actually doing the work.

Whether you are in traditional publishing or self publishing, the fact remains that it is a business. It's worthwhile to pay for the best quality work you can afford. That will help you sell more ebooks and make more money.

P.S. And yes, I know I should heed my own advice. My site is not as well designed as it could be. It dates from a time when I had neither money nor skill, and at this point I still don't have much of either.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

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