With the availability of Smashwords, Lulu, Createspace, et al, I feel it's important to stress a few things in regards to presentation. Because it actually pains me to scroll through the catalogue of self-published books and see that 99% of them don't give a damn at all about what the cover looks like. It seems as though people just don't think it matters, that it's not important. That whole "don't judge a book by its cover thing." But that's kind of a stupid thing to hope for. You're not trying to teach people a lesson in being non-judgemental. You're trying to get people to read/buy your book. As such, you can't rely on the benevolence or reason of the people browsing through the catalog of books. The first reason is there are SO MANY BOOKS TO WADE THROUGH. Everyone knows none of these books have been vetted by a traditional publishing house. Everyone knows we do everything ourselves. So what does a potential reader do? Does he/she painstakingly read the description of every book in the catalogue? Probably not. They most likely browse through the specific category/subcategory they want and toggle through the covers and the titles until they find something that seems interesting. They may not WANT to have to do it that way, but we leave them no choice. It's no secret that a lot of self-published books are poorly written, full of errors, bad grammar, poorly formatted, not edited, and/or have absolutely hideous covers. So how is a fella/gal supposed to quickly vet the book to weed out all the chaff? Presentation. That's the first thing. The first thing they see is the cover. Or the title and immediately after the cover. The thing to remember is that they aren't judging the book's contents on the cover, per se. But when you see a half-assed cover, most people just assume that the rest is the same. However, if you see a professional-looking cover in the midst of a pile of really bad ones, it speaks volumes about the attention to detail and the care of the author. It makes you want to find out more. Subconsciously you associate it with quality, so your brain assumes it's more than likely a good book. I don't make the rules. So do yourself a favor and find someone to design you a nice cover. If you don't have an artist, find one. Browse pics on DeviantArt and find someone whose art you like. Contact them. I've found artists that do some spectacular work for anywhere from $20 a piece up to $100, which is what I paid to have the cover for my latest story designed. It doesn't have to be expensive. It just has to look like you care. I'm curious to know what you guys think on this, though. There are always exception to the rule, but it hurts me to see all those awful covers, both as an artist and as a self-published writer.