One of the more common words of wisdom imparted to up-and-coming authors is to never, ever try to do your own cover art. Always give it to a professional.
By professional, we’re not talking a well-meaning friend or relative, either.
Amazon is replete with ghastly attempts by some people to skip paying a professional, and really, their notoriety ends up not being about how wonderful their story is, rather how fitting it is their cover art ends up on lousybookcovers.com
It’s hard being an up-and-coming author. The all-pervading idea of self-publishing can happen for free is just plain wrong. There are expenses. You have to pay a professional editor to comb through your manuscript and fix anything that needs fixing. You have to pay a cover artist, even if your work is only an ebook. You have to pay for this and that and the other, and even then after you’ve doled out for paid promotions and goodness knows what marketing swag, you’re not guaranteed you’ll see any of that back in sales.
Getting published by a publishing house these days is no easier. Indeed, the general wisdom is any money you might receive as an advance is best invested in the same promotions you would have done as a self-publishing indie. Don’t go spending it on extra coffee or plans to go from one meal a day to two. Spend the lot (after careful research, of course) on anything that will help sales instead. On the plus side, you won’t have to spend any of it on cover art, interior layout, ARC or promotional copies or any of the other things a publishing house will cover for you (kind of—they simply take all those expenses out of any earnings), but at least you have a promotion budget! Yay!
Above all, do your level best to avoid anything you create going anywhere near lousybookcovers.com. While a one-star review on Amazon might be easily brushed off as the ravings of a lunatic, it’s hard to argue with lousybookcover’s reckoning.