The Evolution of my eBook Cover
by Lois D. Brown
I’ve always been a DIY kind of gal. I make my own laundry soap, bake my own rolls, and yes, even design my own e-book cover. Sometimes my ventures turn out well, sometimes not.
Recently I published an e-book called CYCLES aimed at 12-15 year olds. It’s a cross between urban fantasy and science fiction--but not the alien kind of science fiction. The book took about a year to write; a year to sit on my virtual bookshelf; six months to revise and rewrite; and another couple months to e-publish. Which part of that process was the most stressful? The e-book cover.
After designing my own cover, it has become crystal clear to me why publishers typically don’t include the author in the cover creation. The book is too close to our hearts. No cover is good enough.
Here is a VERY simplified version of the sweat and turmoil I went through before publishing. I’ve entitled it: The Evolution of My E-book Cover.
While writing the book, I had come across a picture that I thought was perfect for my cover. It had all the elements I wanted: petroglyphs, solar light, eerie color scheme. I was sure this was to be my cover and so I gave it no more thought. However, when I really sat down to do a “mock up,” I realized I had problems.
Everything seemed too dark and the petroglyphs, which I once thought looked cool, now said “boring” to me. My focus group of teen girls said the cover looked like a science textbook.
This began what I call my “flood” of cover mock ups. I have included just a few of them here with comments as to why they didn’t work for me. Most of the problems stemmed from the fact that my cover did not reflect my genre.
I had about five others, but I won’t bore you. They all seemed to have the same problem.
So I moved on to a new approach. I wanted a cover that showed the girl’s face. Something like this:
At this point I’d actually begun began playing with the idea of changing the title. I spent a long time on this cover. The biggest problem with it is that the photo of the girl was poor quality. Her face was dirty (from running mascara) and the color scheme was a big green in the back picture. My attempts to clean the pictures up and combine wasn’t the best. Once the picture was bigger than 150 pixel across, you could really see the flaws. Tip to self: start off with a good picture and it makes cover design a lot easier! I wasted a bunch of time on this one. (P.S. My focus group of teens also vetoed the title change.)
After my mishap with the girl in the previous cover, I took her completely out of the picture and did this cover.
Needless to say, I was ready to start pulling out my nails. I got home from my writers’ group at about 11 p.m., sat down at my computer, and did my final cover in less than an hour. I don’t know what happened, but something just finally clicked. It looked good as a small icon. Art quality was great. It looked “teen.” And it portrayed my book.
When Renee discovers that her neighbor, Dr. Dawson, has bags of his dead daughter’s frozen blood stored in his basement, she decides it’s up to her to uncover the doctor’s mysterious past. What she learns, however, is not what she expects. Now she and her friend Sam Miller are on the run, hiding from scientists who want to use what the two teenagers know to change human life forever.
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