Book covers

With my previous books, I’ve made covers myself with Canva. Canva is nice to use to whip up some graphics quickly, but let’s face it, my graphics skills are somewhat limited. So, I decided to get help for The Joys of Hashing.

I had heard about Fiverr before, so that is where I went. Fiverr is a place where you can buy stuff like graphic design or editing and such relatively cheap and straightforward. The book covers usually start around $5, and you can pay with PayPal, so there is little hassle involved.

To have something to choose from, I ordered a book cover from two different designers. For both, I had to pick stock photos from DepositPhotos. I paid extra for that, although I am not entirely sure if one was included in the price at the first designer — I can’t quite work that out from the description — but I got two from her, so maybe.

Anyway, both designers charged $5 $5 for design and stock photo, and then Fiverr charged $1. So I’m down $22 for these designs — pretty cheap compared to the time it would have taken myself to make the covers.

Anyway, the first designer, lauria, made me two covers — I paid for one and got two, sweet.

Of these, the first makes me think of a dark fantasy novel rather than a tech book — great if that is what I am writing, but it is not — but the second one I really like and the one I have chosen to use.

The second designer, alerrandre made this cover:

It’s not too bad, but not by far as good as the one I chose to go with.

Lean publishing

I liked publishing chapter by chapter when writing my first books. I could get feedback while writing and that was very motivating. Leanpub is set up for this, and it was an enjoyable experience. Easy to set up a new project and easy to update books — but since they started charging $99 per book ($125 for me with VAT), I can’t use them. I am not sure I will make the money back; I just do not sell that many books.

So, when I wrote Functional Data Structures in R, I instead used Gumroad. I’m not sure it is really geared for lean publishing, though — there isn’t much support making updates compared to Leanpub. I made $14.40 on that book on Gumroad, so you can see that paying $125 for hosting a project is not cost-effective.

Well, I say I made $14.40, but I have never actually received the money. They are supposed to pay out each week if the balance is above $10, but it has never happened to me — still, hope springs eternal.

Are there any Leanpub-like sites out there where one can publish without upfront payment? Everyone takes percentages, of course, and there is nothing wrong with that — I’m just not too keen on upfront payment.