If you only have $100 to spend on your book, do not spend it on editing services.
Spend it on a cover.
Let me clear: I believe every book deserves a good editor. A good editor will make even the world’s best author a stronger writer. A good editor can turn a one-star book into a four-star book.
However, a good editor costs money.
$100 is not enough to hire a good editor. You’re better off taking your manuscript to a free critique group.
Plus, even the best editor in the world can’t force readers to buy your book if the cover looks like shit.
Readers consistently rank cover design as the second-strongest influence on their decision to purchase a book from an unknown author. (The strongest influence is recommendations from friends and family members.) People are more likely to buy a poorly-written book than an ugly one.
In terms of initial sales, good covers trump good editors every time.
And they’re a lot cheaper.
Most affordable novel covers are premade.
That is, graphic designers make them without a specific client in mind.
They may create an original illustration or blend stock images and textures together. Most premade cover images are fairly generic. Designers use objects and landscapes to capture the spirit of popular genres, like dystopian YA and crime fiction.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t feature your protagonist on your premade cover. If your protagonist is white and conventionally attractive, you’ll have hundreds to choose from. Otherwise … Well, at least you have a diverse selection of spooky-looking planets?
When you buy a premade cover, the designer will replace the placeholder text with your name, title, and tagline. Many designers are also willing to change the font face, size, and color to your specifications.
Before you purchase a premade cover, make sure the designer agrees to never resell the same cover to another author.
Some of my favorite sites for premade covers:
Custom Affordable Novel Covers
Usually, you can expect to pay $500 or more for a completely custom cover.
But I’ve combed through the entire internet and found a handful of designers who undercharge for their services.
And instead of reaching out to these designers like, “Hey, you deserve a decent wage too,” I compiled their sites into one private blog post. It includes more than 40 links to quality premade covers, DIY resources, and custom designers.
It’s more than 50 links to affordable novel covers, including quality premade covers, DIY tutorials, and custom designers, and I’m constantly adding new resources. Every one of them is $100 or less, and many are under $50.
Disclaimer: There are no affiliate links in this post. I’m not affiliated with any of the service providers I linked to, and I’m not liable for their actions. Always use caution when doing business with strangers on the internet.