First off, if you’d like to help me with my Cover Reveal for Descent (April 23, 2014), you can sign up here…
Now, back to the curious nature of book covers. I enjoy keeping up with the latest from the ‘Big Six’, smaller houses, indie publishers, as well as many of the self-published authors I’ve met at conventions and online. One of the most interesting trends to follow in every avenue of publishing is book covers. Whether symbolic, vague, obvious, or enchanting, I find myself either drawn in or repelled by the concept that introduces each story.
Why is this topic is so relevant to me right now? Well, I’m glad you asked. I recently (with the help of a brilliant graphic artist) worked on a concept for my own book cover. Descent is my first book-baby, and it has been a thrill to try and convey the essence of the story in an image for the cover of the novel. I’ll be quick to admit that I LOVE DESCENT’S COVER! I’ve heard stories from authors about harmonious collaborations, and horrendous clashes of taste and will.
In my case, I’m self-publishing (unless and agent sweeps me off my feet) and have an abundance of freedom. It never occurred to me that all of that liberty could lead to indecision. I made myself think long and hard about what I envisioned for the cover, and then I didn’t settle for anything less. (Did I mention how genius my graphic designer was?) There was some give-and-take, but it never compromised my concept. What helped my cover artist most was a sketch (with stick figures and all) that I drew. If you can give a vivid depiction, with as much visual specificity as possible, your artist can get that much closer to bringing your story to life.
Here are some of my favorite covers…
I believe each of these covers expounds on the stories they hold, and that’s all I can ask for in a cover for Descent (or any novel I write). To achieve that goal, I worked through a lot of questions and did an abundance of research. In the hope of helping you through your own process of creating a concept for your cover, I’ve put together some tips.
- Find your favorite book covers: If you love books, then you might need to narrow it down, but try to have between 3-7 covers that you adore, and can show your artist, so they can get a glimpse of your taste. Make sure to write down a concise reason about why they are your favorite as well.
- Make a sketch of what you want your cover to look like. Even if you use stick figures, a rough sketch can be helpful. Drawing it out will help you determine how many people, or items, you want and where you want them located. It will also help you determine where you want the title placed on the page.
- Research fonts (dafont.com is a great site), and pick out a few that you like for your title. You could also research color palettes (http://design-seeds.com), and decide on a color scheme you prefer. Again, these preferences will make a big difference when communicating with your designer.
- Peruse through stock images. (istockphoto.com is a great resource.) If you want to find landscapes, tall-dark-and-handsome types, or animated creatures they are there for the buying. I’m not suggesting you purchase any images at this point, but you may want to keep a record of links to your favorite photos/images.
- Take a gander through the portfolios of book cover designers that come highly recommended. When you narrow it down to your top three artists, email them and get a better idea of their pricing and schedule. Most designers have a schedule that gets booked up a few moths in advance. If you’re hoping to get a cover ready in a matter of weeks, you may find it difficult. They also tend to have a sliding scale in regards to pricing. Most of the time it depends on the exclusivity of your image.
- Once you’ve decided on your artist, make sure you communicate honestly and tactfully throughout the process. Keeping your relationship positive will lead to a positively wonderful book cover.
- After your cover is completed, make sure you release it in the right way. Get some help from friendly bloggers or fellow authors, and make a day of it!
If you have any specific questions about my own experience, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below, or by email (kallieross(at)gmail.com).