Thursday, January 3, 2013

Your Cover Speaks Volumes

Happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I'm going to talk about book covers. Things every author should think about when deciding on a cover for their book. Grab those pens and notebooks and let's get going!

I'm going to start by discussing my own book covers and a couple I've designed for other authors.
First up, the cover of Yassa.
I chose this design because of the quality of the artwork and what it says to the reader. Yassa is a law that outlines the idea of loyalty until death. The book inside is all about inner struggle, love, and culture. It's supposed to convey the softer side of a warlord like Genghis Khan. I know it's a geisha and I know there are no geisha in the book, but the geisha represented beauty and the cherry tree represented new life. It also worked really well in black and white. Pay attention to the type. It's strong yet beautiful.

The Abigale Chronicles features handwritten type done by a twelve-year-old girl. My main character is twelve and it seemed fitting to stay within the age group to which the book is geared. As the book progressed through volumes 2 and 3, the colors and the design elements are all that changed. I wanted it to be recognizable as a series from no more than a glance and to be unique.

My Mystic series features a digital painting representing the end of the world. I wanted all the books to look alike so I stayed with the idea of only changing the name inside the orb. Thinking of Markaza, I wanted the paranormal/mystical aspect to be clearly recognizable as well as the barren wasteland and dead tree. I chose the greyscale cover to impart death and loneliness. No bright colors would have worked for this design. Look at the flowing type. It says something on its own.

Divorced to Dating Disasters was designed for Ms. Chelsea Black. Her idea was one of chocolates and I had the perfect image to compliment the sweet wreckage her book portrays. Maybe when broken, things are sweeter. Perhaps it just creates a mess... Strong type was used to reinforce the words. Divorce is series, disasters are damaged, and Chelsea is a serious writer.

This bright and fun cover was designed for my good friend Crystal Lee. She gives workshops on how to grow things in the hot Arizona climate. We wanted something that said food, hot, and fun to read as well as making it eye-catching for the browsing readers over on Amazon. It was fun to design and the typography is just gorgeous. Don't you love that negative space between the y and the A? How about the way the O and G mimic the roundness of the peppers?

Last but not least, The Bird. If you're a frequent visitor to the blog, you probably saw the three design options for this book. You probably also voted on one or the other. I used a cardinal because he is the character that changes the story for Stormy. Everything is plodding along as usual before that pesky Trobodyte bird shows up. I chose blue and red because they're neighbors on the color wheel and looked good together. I wanted strong typographical elements to offset the strength of the digital painting of the bird. A border was added for punch.

I bet you're all wondering why I chose to show you these covers, right? I'm asking that you look at them. Really take a moment and look. Every one of them has something in common. Forget the imagery for a moment and focus on just the words. Look at the shapes of the letters and see how they speak on their own. Every typeface has a voice. You have to consider that when you're designing your book covers or when looking over a cover designed for you by an artist. If your cover doesn't work with just the type, your imagery will fall flat every time. Never rely on a great picture to get your feeling across.

I gave three options for each of the above books before I settled on one. You should see the rejects! Maybe one day I'll list them and go into why they didn't work.

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!



  1. As always, very insightful and informative post, Jo!

    1. Thank you, Beth! I try to bring informative content to my readers :)


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