Poll veterans of self-publishing, and you’ll likely hear the same advice from all of them: get an editor and get a professional cover designer. There are many factors to consider, but if you’re an author with aspirations for your book, you cannot forego an interior edit and a well-designed cover.
The editorial assistance you may be able to solicit from friends or family to avoid paying for the professional touch. The contents could end up less than pristine, but the book may not suffer. Readers can forgive a misspelling here and there, or a clunky sentence now and then. If the story compels them and is well crafted otherwise, editing for content can be done without paying a professional editor (though if you have the option, I strongly recommend getting a professional editor).
The cover though, that’s another story. Without an eye-grabbing cover, the book is likely to struggle just to get a reader to consider it. A bad cover can ruin a great book. I bet you’ve heard the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, the saying is true: you can’t always tell how good the book will be just looking at the cover. A terrible book might have an eye-catching cover, and a terrific book might have a bland and unexciting cover. But the terrible book will have a leg up when it comes to marketing and promoting with that eye-catching cover.
Don’t let your book be held back by a poorly designed cover. It can be easy not to think to much about the cover if your focus is on writing, but if you plan to self-publish and want to grab some readers, you’re going to need to spend some time really thinking about and working on your cover.