Even though the cover was part of the formatting process, I feel it needs its own blog. Book covers sell books. They are not the only thing that sell books, they are not even the most important thing that sell books, but a good cover is worth investing in.
I have a few graphic design skills and attempted a few cover layouts myself (see here for previous blog post) but I knew I did not have the skills I needed to get the cover I wanted.
I decided to use an online sourcing site called 99 Designs. Mainly because I could determine the price, I would be given the choice of a number of designs, and I did not know them. I found this an important part, as sometimes I find it difficult to tell someone I know that I’m not happy with what they’ve done. As I discovered, I also felt uncomfortable telling strangers that too.
I uploaded a brief that went something like this:
Inside vs Outside.
Freedom vs Security
Reflection/Glass – things not as they appear.
City vs Nature
Domed City – Black panels, white framework from outside. Inside: Stark. Futuristic. Colours: White, Grey, Black with splashes of red.
Nature – Lush Forest and/or desolate earth.
Main Character: Female. 16. Auburn hair. Barcode tattoo on wrist. Also wears futuristic communication device on wrist.
I tend to gravitate towards covers that have a single point of focus rather than detailed backgrounds, but I am willing to consider anything.
The response was slow at first, and I began to doubt the choice I had made. Admittedly, I hadn’t given the designers a lot to work with, but after browsing some of the covers already done, I was confident enough to hang in there. And the results were amazing. I wish I could show you what some of the designs that I didn’t end up choosing looked like, but most of the designers withdrew their concepts once the contest ended. The few that are left you can see here.
Choosing one design was difficult. I wanted to choose at least five. But a book with five different covers is probably not the best idea.
Having a few computer graphic skills and also the software needed, I made sure that the designer supplied all layers of the design so I could alter it for various promotional material. It is important to let the designer know at the start of the process that you require the layered files of your book cover.
Writing the blurb was harder than writing the entire novel. I read countless articles and advice, but none of it seemed to help. If I’m honest, I’m still not happy with my book blurbs, but they are what they are. My advice to anyone out there would be to get another author you trust to read your book and write the blurb for you. Condensing your story into a few short lines without giving away too much information, and at the same time saying enough to spike the reader’s interest, is a skill I’m not sure I have.
The next post will be published on 15th October and is the final in this series.
*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA