Covers, covers everywhere and some of them are, let’s be brutally totally honest…terrible!
I know that my first cover for Limerence was, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Come on fellow authors, let’s hold hands as we all stand in a circle and announce our shame. I’ll go first… My names Claire C Riley and I had a terrible book cover for Limerence.
Thankfully I recognized it, and realized that it was a shoddy cover and my book deserved better. So I bought my picture, designed my cover and made it a hundred times better.
I’ll even shamefully show you the two covers. It doesn't even look that bad on here, but in paperback it was AWFUL!
For Odium II I had the basic concept of what I wanted, but I just couldn't get it to work for me so I handed it over to my good friend, author and awesome cover designer Amy Queau of Qdesigns. She worked her magic and within minutes she had it perfect for me.
Amy Queau: Qdesigns
I asked her a couple of questions the other day, to get a little more inside knowledge for you.
Claire - Amy, what do you think is the biggest mistake people make with their book covers? And what do you think are the most important elements?
Amy - Sometimes it’s just not that easy though, and that’s where you should never be ashamed to say that you can’t do something, or that you need help. Know your strengths and weaknesses. You need to have a great cover, an extraordinary cover, not a bad, average, or mediocre cover. Because people DO judge a book by its cover. And when those potential readers are browsing the thousands upon thousands of books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble you need YOURS to stand out from the rest.
They're afraid to play with the sizes of text and positions of artwork. I see a TON of covers that aren't properly balanced. I think there are several elements that need to come into play when considering a cover, BUT I would say that not having SOMETHING that pops (whether it's a color, or an interesting stock photo, or an interesting font), readers are going to skim right past it.
For me, I always think people forget that it has to look good in thumbnail size as well as full size. And echoing Amy's comments, it's always good to have a certain element stand out. On Odium’s cover, it’s the word ZOMBIES. Since I went for an untypical cover with my zombie book (female on front instead of zombie face) I needed people to know at first glance what the book was about so that it caught their attention.
There are many cover designers out there that can help, and I know a lot of authors are totally comfortable doing it themselves, but it’s such an important part of the books process that can often get forgotten about. .
There's also a trend of pre-made book covers going on, but let me hand you over to Rachel A Olson to tell you a little more about those. She runs Parasupernormalism book blog, and is also a freelance graphic designer at No Sweat Graphics.
Rachel A Olson
Q: You make a lot of pre-made covers, how does that work?
A: Premades are pretty simple. The design is already created. When a client contacts me with interest in purchasing one of the designs, they provide me with the official title and author name that's to be used on the design. If the client is interested in purchasing the full paperback wrap, they are required to also provide final page count, preferred size of book, and white or cream coloured pages. All these things are needed for the dimensions of the image. That's it! Pretty basic.
If you’re interested in purchasing book covers or having Rachel design something specifically for you, head on over to her website and take a look at some of her work. As I said before, I make my own covers, along with the help of another very talented author friend Amy Queau, but I’ve seen Rachel’s work and will say that it is extremely good.
I hope that you've got a little more of an idea on what to do and at least a couple of places to go for it now also.
Claire C Riley ♥
1/5/2014 10:19:00 am
I'll admit it.. I'm a cover whore. I'm not even done writing my book yet, but I'm always looking at covers trying to decide what mine should look like. Great post! Thank you :)
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