One of the tricky aspects of self-publishing a book is coming up with the right cover for it. You can use a stock or public domain photo for the picture, or one you took yourself, but what about the text and design elements? There’s only so much you can figure out from examples, so how do you learn?
If you’re Ursula Vernon, you learn by doing. In a series of posts to her LiveJournal (here, here, here, and here), she’s included a number of fake covers she’s designed for the sake of learning how designing a good cover works. After a few tries and revisions, she’s produced some pretty interesting covers—and it’s too bad all the books are fake, because I would absolutely read some of them.
And even leaving aside how good the covers are, she has the right idea—sometimes the best way to figure something out is to go ahead and take a crack at it yourself. If you’re a halfway decent artist and graphic designer (and Vernon is a lot more than halfway decent), you’ll get pretty good at it pretty quickly, and be designing a good cover for yourself before you know it.