Thursday, June 06, 2013

Judging a book by its cover!

At last I've decided on a book cover for Marvin's Curse and thought I'd blog about the process.

When I finished my first book, Aggie Lichen; Pilp Collector, I was desperate to 'get it out there' and paid very little attention to the cover. Why would it matter? What was inside was more important! Oh, so wrong. I messed about in Word using a background of purple and then added basic shape stars to it. The stars were filled with silver and spread all over the front and back covers. I found a nifty font for the title and my name and bingo! Well, in school, where I was at the time teaching, it went down well, but after a while I decided that the cover wasn't saying anything about the book. It didn't give the reader any kind of insight as to what was inside and when compared to other books of this genre it was just plain dull. I found an illustrator, one of my daughter's graduate friends, and a new cover was designed for all three books in the series as they emerged.

Now you think I might have learnt a lesson with my new YA book, MARVIN'S CURSE, but things have changed considerably tech wise in the last ten years. I've used a photo/draw package to develop the cover. I looked more into it, paid more attention to what other books looked like in this genre and this time found advice on the web to guide me through it. The most difficult part was finding an image I really liked and that was somehow connected to the story. Images, while possibly royalty free, are not usually free and have licences to be purchased. Surpisingly, there are millions of images to choose from and they need not be too expensive. I did find one, but after waiting for the owner of the image to come back to me with a price I gave up and started again. The image I have used, The Angel of Grief by Meletios Verras, has an extended licence for resale ebook and printed book use and cost 50 credits, around £35, from the site 123RF. After payment, the image was immediately ready for download and I can go back and download again if needed. Personally I think that's a good buy, but remember I don't own that image. It's copyrighted and I just have a licence to use it for my book.
For the rest of the cover, I have played around with different fonts, colours and shadows. I've added flowery bits from art on the internet which didn't require licencing. If I print the book, I'd like to pick out the flowery bit in relief, with the stem possibly in silver. At the moment though, I'm just going to release it as an ebook and see how things go. I'd possibly go for POD instead of using my own printer, but that's a blog post of the future!

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