Thursday, May 5, 2011

Edward Cullen has nothing to do with my cover

Before I start, I have to share this hilarious story. On Tuesday, a coworker told me about her sixty-year-old Twilight-obsessed mom and the life-sized Edward Cullen cutout she keeps in her basement rec room. Apparently, Edward scares many an unsuspecting visitor.

Recently, the ADT alarm went off while her mom was out shopping. The cause was a faulty door latch. When the police arrived and saw the door wide open, they went inside to investigate. Long story short, law enforcement nearly shot Edward Cullen for breaking and entering.
What does Edward Cullen have to do with today’s topic? Absolutely nothing. It just makes me smile as I shift gears to talk about my book cover process.
On a scale of normal to Rain Man, I skew toward the normal side of the spectrum. Usually. But when I decided to focus on book covers, I went a little crazy.
Since I enjoy that kind of thing, I decided experiment with designs and see what I could come up with on my own. But if my attempts SUCKED, the next step would be to hire a designer. Then the madness set in.
First, I looked at Photoshop and similar programs, but they were expensive. I briefly contemplated using my son’s summer camp funds on software before talking myself down. I decided for my first try, I would use programs I already had. I do a TON in PowerPoint, so I started there.
PowerPoint seemed to have the elements I needed, but I needed images, so I started trolling stock images. I realized that not all stock photo sites are created equal. Some, like shutterstock (, included covers and print runs under 250,000 as part of the purchase. Others were more limiting and expensive.
Once I found my images, I needed to fade them. This was the biggest obstacle. Microsoft office programs do not have this capability. So internet research brought me to the free GIMP software. It’s not terribly user friendly, but I was able to manipulate my image through trial and error.
My literary fiction project was easy. The first attempt got me halfway there and the second pass added missing elements. I LOVE the result! (More on that in the future.) For THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, I spent the week of spring break in an OCD-induced haze creating version after version and testing it on my inner circle. I made about 30 craptastic covers before coming up with a design that I felt good about. But there’s always room for improvement. Some of you may have noticed the little tweaks I’ve made over the last week based on feedback—THANK YOU!!!
Here are some of my favorite Craptastic Covers:

Conclusion: I enjoy cover design and am satisfied with the two covers I’ve created but I haven’t given up the dream of one day having a cover designed by Cliff Nielsen or Julianna Kolesova. And if I can’t create a cover that makes a promise, I need to hire a professional.
Mood: Manic
Related topics: DIY covers blog by Katie Salidas
Next steps: Figure out/set up my author presence & upcoming project on Amazon (maybe B&N)- decided to wait until after cover reveal; research POD (print on demand) providers & costs-in progress; finalize production schedule; decide whether or not to hire a line editor-in progress;
Come back tomorrow for my First Love Friday interview with HAVEN author, Kristi Cook.
Your turn: Who are some of your favorite cover artists?
Read before you buy at


Melissa Landers said...

Ah, yes. Those covers look familiar. :-) The only exception is the reddish-pink umbrella...don't recall seeing that.

Can't wait to start reading the First Love Fridays. Such a neat idea!

Lorie Langdon said...

That story is hilarious! And I love that you're sharing your 'craptastic' cover attempts because it shows how far you've come and what can result from a little perseverance--and a bit of OCD. ;o)