Okay, now come back.
If somebody were to take a small pool of Indie authors from Amazon Kindle and interview them about what is most difficult in self-publishing, the conversation would probably go something like this:
Interviewer: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of self-publishing?
Indie Author 1: Finding time to write. It's so difficult to find time to write between raising two children and working a nine to five job.
Indie Author 2: For me it's editing. Editing through my work is time-consuming and nerve-wracking because I have so much to go through and I too have a job that I need to tend to.
Marlena: Making cover art. I hate making cover art. Cover art sucks. Hate it.
You could argue that a cover is probably the most important aspect of your writing aside from your writing itself. You can have a great book with great characters and a great plot, but if you don't have an eye-catching cover, you are sunk and will not sell a bloody thing. This is why publishing companies have marketing teams who specialize in knowing how to create a cover that both conveys what your book is about and that can attract as many audience eyes as possible.
Take for instance, your typical romance novel cover.
Why is there a horse tooling around in the background?
It gets the point across fairly well I think. We have the scoundrel, the captive, that crazy horse, and of course, a sexy scene to let you know that yes, there is sex in this book and that yes, you will like it. Personally, while eye-catching, I don't like these covers because it broadcasts to the world what you're reading, and I don't really want to be scarring twelve year-old girls' eyes with Fabio's inflated pectorals. I prefer a more subtle cover.
Here's an example of a cover that I really like.
It's a really good book, even though the sequel is bit lacking.
It's pretty direct. You have the name of the main character, a mysterious symbol, and the name of the author, all in slightly runic font. The white background highlights the gold coloring. It caught my eye when I was looking through the shelves at my local bookstore, which is the exact purpose of a cover. I didn't like the other covers so much because I didn't think the colors meshed as well as this one.
Anyway, enough of my inexpert prattle. When it comes down to the wire, I go for black and white in my own designs. I don't have access to Photoshop, so a gray gradient is easier for me to manipulate. What I usually do is find a public domain picture of Manhattan and shove it into iPhoto, where I saturate the colors and then darken it a bit before switching to black and white and crop it. Then I take a screenshot of the black and white picture and take that resulting JPG into Text Edit. There, I write up my title and author name and do some more screen grabs until I have the finished product.
I'll do a tutorial for my next cover so you can see what I'm talking about better. I would do a video of it, but then you'd hear me cursing out the computer, and no one wants that.