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Monday, August 24, 2020

The Journey to Self-Publication, Part 6: Cover Art!

  I've gotten quite a few questions about why I finally decided to delve into self-publishing and how I'm doing it, so I figured why not create a new blog series!

Every Monday, I'll be sharing a piece of the self-publishing puzzle---from how I came to this choice to writing, editing, marketing, sales, and everything in between. Please remember that this is simply my experience, how chose to do things. Others do things differently, and that's fine! So, your mileage may vary, but in the end, I hope seeing yet another way of tackling self-publishing will help you on your path. 

Need to catch up on previous posts? Find them here:

Everyone says not to judge a book by its cover, but let's be honest... that's exactly what we do. At least, I know that's what I do. When I'm browsing in a bookstore or on Amazon, I always take a closer look at books with a cover that grabs my attention. Then I move on to the blurb and the "look inside" feature to decide if I want to invest my time and money. So, when it came time to start the cover creation for The Cursed Series, I knew I needed something that would stand out and grab attention while also staying true to my vision for the overall series. 

Choosing a cover artist was easy for me, a no-brainer, really, because the woman I had in mind was someone I've been working with for years in another professional capacity. I was already a big fan of her work, so I reached out to Laura Heritage at P.S. Cover Design and Author Services and asked if she'd be willing to work with me on this series. Thankfully, she agreed. 

When choosing your own cover artist, be sure to take a look at their previous work. Does it match the style you want? Do they have experience working within your genre? Are they within your budget? Do they offer any adjustments to the cover? If so, how many? Do they charge extra for additional changes? Don't be afraid to ask questions and get quotes from several designers. Then choose the one you like the best. 

I commissioned her to begin work back in late February / early March. Even though I wasn't releasing the first book until September, I wanted to begin work on the covers early so that I'd have them to share whenever I wanted, to help build buzz, and because having a finished cover really motivates me to finish the book. 

Going into this, I had no set ideas for cover art. I didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted, so I sent Laura a document with the blurb, descriptions of the main characters, and some setting details, then told her to surprise me. And she did!

The instant I saw this cover, I fell in love. The girl looks so much like I imagined Chloe to look like. The trees in the background represent the setting perfectly, and overall, it has a very quiet yet ominous feel to it, which is exactly what the book is like. And the color really pops!

I wish I could say the creation of the rest of the covers was as easy, but sadly, it wasn't. Book two, Eternal Choice, has the hero, Trent, on the cover, and it was hard to find an image that fit the one in my mind. Eventually, we agreed on this cover:

And I couldn't be happier! This image nails the version of Trent I have in my mind, right down to the piercing blue eyes and stoic expression. 

Now, I haven't publicly shared any of the other covers yet, and I'm not going to right now, either, but for the sake of this post, I will give some hints as it pertains to branding the overall series. 

The first step to branding this series was the title treatment. I adore the font she used for both the title and my author name, so we kept that exactly the same across the series. We also kept the placement the same. 

The style of each cover is similar, too, with either a single person or a couple that is the focus. Unfortunately, because books 1, 2, and 3 used individual stock photo images, we weren't able to combine them in a way that didn't look cartoonish, so we had to find different images for books 4, 5, and 6--all of which show the two main characters in various situations. We attempted to use images that didn't show the characters' full faces so that readers could easily imagine them being the same. Also, because I'd been working with Laura on the art so early, I was able to write in a hair style change for Chloe, which can explain why she looks different on the cover of book four. 

Each book has a different color scheme and background that ties in to the story, too, so each book is still different while being similar. 

Overall, I'm thrilled with how the covers turned out, and I can't wait to release all of them! That's one drawback to having all the art so early--having to sit on it when all you want to do is share it everywhere. LOL. Laura is great and so easy to work with. I highly recommend her if you're looking for a cover artist. 

Be sure to come back next week. I'll be talking about interior formatting and distribution options. 

Got questions? 

Drop them in the comments!

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