Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Book Cover Design Story!

If there’s ever been a blog post I’ve been looking forward to writing, it is this one.
This blog post is about the journey GIFTED’s book cover went through. When I published my first (and much too early) edition of GIFTED, I set out looking for a book cover designer. What I wish someone had told me before I embarked on this journey was just how many book designers existed! I wouldn’t have believed them anyway, to be fair – there are loads. Trying to pick a book designer is like trying to pick a new book to read. For me I went with, well, how I choose a new book to read – google search + recommendation. Luckily, there existed a website (http://www.thecreativepenn.com/bookcoverdesign/) on the internet of someone who has already listed some of the best, in his opinion, book designers, and not only has he included the links to their websites, but he’s put up additional information, such as price (perfect if you don’t want to spend too much time searching their website or enquiring) and whether they do extras e.g. logos and banners
I went through this list and found Tatiana Villa and contacted her. We emailed back and forth for over forty messages before my book design was complete. There is a paragraph in my novel dedicated to a park that I knew I wanted to be on the front cover of GIFTED because (a) the park has great significance for all four books in my series and (b) I didn’t want any characters on the front, just a single image. Despite it being my first time I’m surprised by how cautious I was, evident from all the questions I asked. For example, I’m shocked to think that I actually thought about asking about image rights and who owns the final image once it is paid for – which, I’m sure I don’t have to say, is extremely important.
Here was the finished design:

It cost me £72.45
I was happy with this design until I finished my second edition of GIFTED over a year later. So much had changed since then because I’d decided to stop writing to please others and instead to write for myself, write what I’d want to read. My main character has completely changed along with the voice of the story, and at least eighty per cent of edition one has been scrapped and re-written. After all of that, the old cover just wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted something simpler, more significant to all characters of the story, and something more eye-catching. The search continued…
I returned back to that awesome website and after looking at and enquiring five other book designers, I found Alisha for Damonza.com. Instantly, just by looking at her portfolio, I knew that she would be more expensive, but better quality, and I wasn’t wrong. I looked through her stock photos to get a taste of her style and luckily stumbled across a stock photo that was similar to a book cover image I had in my head, but instead of leaves, I wanted multi-coloured petals.
Over thirty emails later, my design was complete and I am in LOVE. It’s so simple yet just what I was looking for, I was not expecting it. Not only is she a wonderful designer, but such a lovely person. No, she isn’t paying me to say this; in fact, I haven’t told her I’ll be mentioning her in a blog post…
Because I didn’t want to go through the same mistakes I did with my first book cover that made me need a new one, I wanted to make sure that this would be my final book cover, that I wouldn’t regret it, and that it would be exactly what I wanted. So I asked a lot of annoying questions, but Alisha was so sweet and so quick in answering them all! Sometimes, I thought if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d just ignore this crazy, author person who keeps emailing, asking questions before she’s even paid, asking for change this and that, because the cover must be so and so, but Alisha didn’t!
Honestly, I was annoying. But I had to be. I needed this book cover to be a cover that if I saw in a book shop, I would pick up and give it a look. 





I emailed Alisha things like what exact colours it had to be, there has to be at least one of seven coloured petals. Twice did I email, on different occasions, to ask her to change the colour of a particular petal. I emailed about what specific petal I’d like it to be. I emailed about the title colour and the subtitle colour. Before I even told her what I wanted, I asked her if she had a waiting list, the price of both eBook and paperback covers. I asked her again what the price was just to make sure, I asked her if she’d be done before April, if certain colours are allowed to be changed… The list goes on.

My goodness, looking back at all the emails I sent, I was a nightmare! I was always very polite in my emails of course, but a nightmare nonetheless. Looking back at them right now and seeing how polite and professional Alisha was to all of them makes me feel very happy to have found her.
I’ve just seen that I contacted Alisha in March too! An entire year after my first book cover design! This book cover cost me almost £200. Plus another £80 for the paperback cover. More than triple my first cover, but I think we can agree that the second is better. Although, some people will think the first is better and that’s okay. The second edition of GIFTED is really special to me because it’s when I stopped writing for others and wrote for me, something every author should do but took me over two years to realise. The same principle applies to my book cover. I know others might prefer a more elaborate style cover, but for me, this one is perfect. I hope you like it too!


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