PDA

View Full Version : Creating Your Own Cover



Dallionz
08-16-2014, 06:36 AM
Does anyone else here create your book covers completely on your own? I did the entire thing for my first novel from taking the photos to the design. I'm so very pleased with it.

Now my new WIP is the first of either 3 or 4 books and I'm really struggling to come up with a cover for the first, much less all four of them. But I'm determined to manage the photography and design them on my own as well.

At what point in your writing progress do you decide on a cover? Before you begin writing? After it's done? Somewhere in between?

Elly_Green
08-16-2014, 04:27 PM
I get ideas for covers about halfway through the story. Usually go and play around on some of the big names stock photo sites to see what I can find - possible versus impossible. Images just sort of make an appearance and I work with them. However, with that said, I often struggle to come to a decision - as to color, background, title alignment, etc. - until the last moment, then I just go with what has popped into my head the most often. So far, I've been lucky. I love what I have got.

I would strongly recommend staying away from making the covers too soon in the writing process as stories will sometimes write themselves far afield of where they were intended to go and then, what now?

Also, just my two cents here, but focus on a brand look and appearance between related books. Having a cover type/color/set up which is consistent definitely helps readers remember you and keep finding you.

Good luck!

SBibb
08-16-2014, 07:04 PM
I create book covers as a side job, and if I decide to self-publish, then I will likely create my own covers. I have created a cover for one of my WIPs, one I'd be satisfied with showing, and I've created mockups, too.

However, unless you plan to self-publish, I wouldn't worry too much about creating a cover. Most publishers will provide their own cover artist. Doesn't mean you can't do it for fun, but you won't have to do it.

But good luck with anything you do create. Cover creation is quite fun. :-)

Dallionz
08-16-2014, 07:54 PM
I get ideas for covers about halfway through the story. Usually go and play around on some of the big names stock photo sites to see what I can find - possible versus impossible. Images just sort of make an appearance and I work with them. However, with that said, I often struggle to come to a decision - as to color, background, title alignment, etc. - until the last moment, then I just go with what has popped into my head the most often. So far, I've been lucky. I love what I have got.

I would strongly recommend staying away from making the covers too soon in the writing process as stories will sometimes write themselves far afield of where they were intended to go and then, what now?

Also, just my two cents here, but focus on a brand look and appearance between related books. Having a cover type/color/set up which is consistent definitely helps readers remember you and keep finding you.

Good luck!

Thanks for your response and also your thoughts. I hadn't thought about creating a brand look. I'm going to have to think hard about what to do to create that look. Right now I'm even trying to think of an example of a brand look that other authors have used.

Yes, I'm definitely working to make sure that these books will have a similar appearance so it's obvious they are from the same series.

See, I thought the same thing about not even worrying about the cover until the middle of the book or more. Someone has told me I should always create the cover first but then I feel like my characters or story have to be confined to that. I rarely have everything figured out when I start writing - the story and characters just grow and progress as I work through the book.


I create book covers as a side job, and if I decide to self-publish, then I will likely create my own covers. I have created a cover for one of my WIPs, one I'd be satisfied with showing, and I've created mockups, too.

However, unless you plan to self-publish, I wouldn't worry too much about creating a cover. Most publishers will provide their own cover artist. Doesn't mean you can't do it for fun, but you won't have to do it.

But good luck with anything you do create. Cover creation is quite fun. :-)

I do self-publish so I do have to create my own covers. Which I really enjoy as photography and graphic design were something I did some years ago and are still a hobby I enjoy.

That's awesome that you create covers as a side job and it'll be wonderful to be able to create your own as well! I agree, it is a lot of fun!

Polenth
08-16-2014, 11:00 PM
I don't make my own fonts, but I do the rest of my covers. There's a mixture of photographs, traditional drawing and computer editing, depending on the cover.

I think about ideas as I'm writing if I know I need a cover. Sometimes I don't know, as I wasn't intending to self-publish. Sometimes I come up with the final idea quickly. Sometimes I don't. The main thing I've found is an idea doesn't always work out so well when I'm actually putting it together, so I stay open to trying something completely different.

I don't go in for author branding, because I find it confusing when authors do that. It makes it look like they've written one very long and strange series, rather than several series and standalones. I do want series to look related (generally I plan to keep the font style and size the same, but vary colours and pictures). But I don't want a standalone to look like it's part of another series.

Elly_Green
08-17-2014, 07:15 AM
Author branding, by my definition, is using similar style, fonts, placement on books so that the author name becomes a part of what draws a reader in. You know a Michael Crichton (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=michael+crichton) book by appearance, same for Scott Westerfield's (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=scott+westerfield&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ascott+westerfield) individual serieses. Elizabeth Peters (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=elizabeth+peters) is another author I can think of off the top of my head.

Each of these successful authors has managed to define themselves, their works, and their genre through author branding. If you like one story, you'll probably like the rest. And, in a bookstore, the similar styles will draw you in - recognizable, comfort-reading.

Dallionz
08-17-2014, 05:54 PM
Thank you for the examples Elly_Green! That makes sense.

Polenth
08-17-2014, 06:38 PM
Author branding, by my definition, is using similar style, fonts, placement on books so that the author name becomes a part of what draws a reader in. You know a Michael Crichton (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=michael+crichton) book by appearance, same for Scott Westerfield's (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=scott+westerfield&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ascott+westerfield) individual serieses. Elizabeth Peters (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=elizabeth+peters) is another author I can think of off the top of my head.

Each of these successful authors has managed to define themselves, their works, and their genre through author branding. If you like one story, you'll probably like the rest. And, in a bookstore, the similar styles will draw you in - recognizable, comfort-reading.

Like I said, I hate that as a reader. It means I have no idea from glancing at a book if it's in the same series, or is any way related to the author's other books, because it looks like every single one of their books is in the same series.

Another issue is if a book is in the same basic genre, but a different sub-genre, an author brand can mean ignoring the sub-genre cover conventions. So a reader may not realise it's by the same author, but in a different sub-genre.

An example is the differences between Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Codex Alera. The styling of each series is distinct. His name is the thing that's going to get fans to cross over, rather than making it look like all the books are the same series. The design of each series also tells the reader which sub-genre of fantasy the books are in. This is more the model I want to follow. I may hope my name will one day get people to buy a book, but I want it to be clear to readers how the books relate to each other and to the wider genre.

Dallionz
08-17-2014, 06:43 PM
I get author branding to a point but I do have to agree.

One of my favorite authors is Karen Witemeyer. I LOVE her books and the covers are very imaginative. That said, they also all look very much the same and I had a difficult time when I was new to her books figuring out which were stand alone and which were part of a series.

For me, personally, I put a small sunflower on the spine at the top that matched the cover. I think, for future novels, I may put a tiny image on the spine in that same spot that corresponds with the cover. But other than that, not worry about any of the other details being the same.


Like I said, I hate that as a reader. It means I have no idea from glancing at a book if it's in the same series, or is any way related to the author's other books, because it looks like every single one of their books is in the same series.

Another issue is if a book is in the same basic genre, but a different sub-genre, an author brand can mean ignoring the sub-genre cover conventions. So a reader may not realise it's by the same author, but in a different sub-genre.

An example is the differences between Jim Butcher's Dresden Files and Codex Alera. The styling of each series is distinct. His name is the thing that's going to get fans to cross over, rather than making it look like all the books are the same series. The design of each series also tells the reader which sub-genre of fantasy the books are in. This is more the model I want to follow. I may hope my name will one day get people to buy a book, but I want it to be clear to readers how the books relate to each other and to the wider genre.

girlyswot
08-18-2014, 10:19 PM
Actually, Elizabeth Peters is a good example of series branding but not author branding. All her Amelia Peabody books have a very similar, distinctive feel. But her other books look quite different.

Polenth
08-19-2014, 04:48 AM
Actually, Elizabeth Peters is a good example of series branding but not author branding. All her Amelia Peabody books have a very similar, distinctive feel. But her other books look quite different.

Looking more closely, it seems only Michael Crichton is what I'd call author branding. He was actually one of the ones I was thinking of when I first made the comment, as I find his covers tend to blur together. The other two seem to be examples of series branding.

Another with author branding that springs to mind is Neil Gaiman, as there are versions of his books that all have the same branded covers.

One thing I'd note with those is they're prone to standalone books, so there's some argument for trying to make the standalones look like a series due to the lack of series. I still don't like it, but I can see where they might be coming from. But in self-publishing, the authors I've seen doing it almost always have series, so it's especially confusing.