05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Covering the Cover

by Diana McCollum

I have been a part of two anthologies. The first was a collaboration with other Windtree Press authors. I wrote my story. It was edited by other authors. And I had no control over the cover or anything really but my story. One person handled each and some times more than one of the tasks in putting the anthology together.

In the anthology "Gifts from the Heart", released early January 2015, I wrote a very short story "Saved by the Ring". This story is based on a true story my father told me about. The incident took place during WWII. I updated it to a contemporary story.
I felt the book turned out great. I liked the cover. It's hard to please everyone, and the more authors involved the more differences there are of what would work and what wouldn't. So the fact that one person or maybe two were in charge of that aspect was great.

Fast forward a couple years and I had two short stories come out in the anthology "Love & Magick". All together there are six different short stories, from various genres, and by three different authors. There are historical, time travel, a grown up fairy tale, contemporary, western and paranormal.

In  the anthology, Love & Magick my first two short stories were published, "Ghost of a Chance" "The Crystal Witch".

We all chimed in on what we wanted on the cover. When you think about it, covering all the different genres on one cover would be impossible.

Having three women with their own ideas, almost impossible.

Our cover went back to the cover artist half a dozen times until we finally settled on this one. And this last cover one of us didn't like the fact the lady looked like she was NOT wearing a swim suit.

Although, she could have been wearing a strapless bikini top. So it went back to the cover artist and Karen Duvall of Duvall Design photo shopped bathing suit ties around the ladies neck. A cover artist is an indispensable part of your publishing process. No matter who you hire, the money is well worth having a professional looking cover.

Our theme was romance and each story had some sort of magick in it. I believe our final cover suggests that.

The design of a book cover is so important since that is the first thing that grabs a reader to pick up your book and read the back copy/blurb and buy it. That initial emotional response, so important!

One thing you need to think about is the mood of your book. The colors, patterns, and type of lettering that resonates with your book theme.  "Love & Magick" I believe the cover mood shows mystery, magick and romance. The blues with the moon enhance the mood.

Another way is to check on the e-book outlets for covers in your genre. What is popular right now for suspense, historical, paranormal etc. You want your cover to stand out from the competition. Check out the covers of New York best sellers in your genre. Set up a file on your computer with all the covers you like. What is it that draws you to that cover? Then you have ideas to give your cover designer.

If you are creating your own book design it is better to go simple and sophisticated, rather than trying to cram too much on to the cover making it cluttered and too busy. If the reader's eye can't focus on the simple, she'll move on to another book. Fonts should be bold and clear for your title and your name. 

Always make sure you check your cover as a thumbnail size. Is the design show good as a thumbnail? Most people who buy online will see this thumbnail size first. You want your book to pop and show well in the small size.

Have you read books where you've wondered how on earth does the cover relate to the story?

When I write,  I weave elements of paranormal,  and fantasy into my stories. I always have a Happily Ever After, because I have to for my own satisfaction!  

My hope is that I am able to take you away from your everyday life for a journey that is both entertaining, and fun, and sometimes a little scary, then I've succeeded in my job as a writer.

To purchase click on links:
"Gifts of the Heart" by Windtree Press Authors
"Love & Magick" by Judith Ashley, Diana McCollum & Sarah Raplee  (visit my author page on Facebook)
@Dianasuemcc   Follow me on twitter


Barbara Rae Robinson said...

Interesting, Diana! I do need to start working on cover ideas for my series.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great advice, Diana. Love and Magick's cover is a testament to Karen Duvall's talent and patience!

Pippa Jay said...

Timely advice as I'm currently working on cover ideas for an anthology - thank you!

Karen Duvall said...

Thanks, Diana, for the mention! It's always a pleasure to work with you and Sara on your covers. Hugs!

Maggie Lynch said...

Nice summary, Diana! I always tell people that the COVER is the first thing encountered by a potential customer.

Recent data on how people buy books, found that in the U.S. 70% of people buy books online (including print books). That is a huge jump from a couple years ago. That means that 70% of people see your cover first in a very small format. Your cover needs to stand out among the other millions of books available for that consumer to review. Furthermore, most buyers make their decision within 10 seconds. In that 10 seconds they decide whether to click on the cover. If they click they read the first two or three lines of the blurb, and MAYBE then read the "Look Inside" chapters if they liked the cover and the two or three lines of the blurb.

Covers are critical in those first few seconds. Do they meet the expectations for the genre? Is the title and author name clear and easy to see at that small size? Are the colors ones that stand out among all the other covers they are also scanning?

Marcia King-Gamble said...

This is a common issue with traditional covers. You fill out the cover copy requested, and even with that you never know what you'll get. I once got a bald hero and my hero was far from bald. Covers sell books. Good advice!

Diana McCollum said...

Hi, Barb and Sarah thanks for stopping by.

Your welcome Pippa! Are you the one doing the cover for your anthology?

Always a pleasure Karen, thanks for stopping by.

Maggie you are always insightful. Thanks for your input!

OMG, Marcia! A bald hero? and they wouldn't change it? That's terrible. I know other traditionally published authors who are very frustrated with how their covers turn out.

Z. Minor said...

I have enjoyed all your stories. I wish there more - hint! hint! I liked the covers on both books your stories were in. Covers are important they can make the reader purchase your book. The title is very important too. So good job on both of those. I really like the title of your stories as well. When is the next one coming out. Soon I hope.

Diana McCollum said...

Thanks for stopping by Louise!!

Marie Harte said...

Great post, Diana. Covers are important, I totally agree. And I love yours!

Pippa Jay said...

Yup, at the moment I appear to have been nominated to do the cover. We're aiming for simple so it's not outside my abilities, and we need to keep costs down as the antho will be a freebie.

Deb Noone said...

Lots of good insight, Diana, on the process. And, of course, as mentioned above, the importance of a cover.