Designing Covers… Day 217

Since the release of our Christmas romance anthology, my writer friends and I have been busy flexing our indie publishing muscles.  At least I expect that is what we are all doing—I know I am hard at work to get a completed manuscript online.

But I need a cover if I plan to publish. I’ve spent hours flipping through stock images while fretting over my lack of design expertise. Finally I decided to do something about it. Though I have only two novels in my Toss Trilogy completed, I contacted a cover designer to work her magic on all three books.

She responded last night and we spent the evening emailing back and forth. I picked covers from her gallery that I liked—to give her a sense of the style I was looking for. Then I sent her the code numbers for some stock photos I liked.

Wow! She emailed back moments later with a quick evaluation of each photo I had chosen.

So fast, and totally on target! She pointed out things I could see—but hadn’t noticed until she brought them to my attention. And therein lies the difference between me and a professional cover designer. I am very glad I made this contact!

We discussed what to put on the cover—the heroine, a couple, scenery, the hero, etc. And decided to go with the hero alone. That saves money (as opposed to a multi-image cover) and gives a clean look to the design that I like.

(Semi-random aside: Have you ever clicked on a thumbnail because the characters were so tangled together you couldn’t tell what they were doing without a closer look? I have, but it annoys me, and so I’m never inclined to actually buy those books! Now back to the cover design process.)

I emailed her my character descriptions and the cover blurbs from each manuscript to give her a feel for the style and story line of each book.

She was happy to have that information and requested that I pick more images from a stock site she named, then send them to her grouped by manuscript.

With her initial comments to guide me and (let’s be honest) with more hope and enthusiasm than I ‘d had when stumbling through stock photos on my own, I soon found four or five good images for each of my manly men.

She will get back to me in a few days with some mock-ups to look at, comment on, and—perhaps—choose.

I am delighted with this woman thus far. She has been so accommodating and has made many suggestions to save me time and money. Paying for her expertise is going to be a bargain, I am sure.

No, I’m not saying who she is yet. When the deal is sealed and done I will happily reveal her identity. Until then, no names. But even without names, I hope a peek at the actual process will encourage and inform those of you who are newbies like me.

Until next time…

–Susan Craig

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