Disclosure: I am a pharmacist, not an artist. I never expected to create a cover for LOVE, LIES & CLONES (or any novel) myself. Now, I can’t imagine passing up on all that fun! Honestly, creating the cover was one of the most enjoyable parts of publishing my novel.
I was looking back on my attempts at a novel cover and thought I’d share what I’ve learned since the first draft.
Since starting this novel in February, I’ve been through a TON of draft novel covers, before accepting my final version. I was set on making my own — mostly because I couldn’t even describe to a cover designer what to put on the cover. My official cover isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it.
I had read and listened to a lot of tips on making a cover. Here’s what stuck:
- Stick to your genre. Make sure your cover reflects what type of book you wrote. Look at other books into he genre and try to do something similar.
- Use contrasting colors – It attracts the reader. Teal and Orange, Yellow and Purple, etc. A color wheel can help with this.
- The fonts/writing should stand out on their own. No drop shadow and background adjustment needed.
- Use contrasting fonts. Serif vs non-serif, handwriting vs typed, etc. (But not too many fonts to make it look busy)
- GET FEEDBACK! Besides asking my family, I made numerous Facebook, blog, Good reads, and twitter posts polling people to see what little tweak made the cover better.
This was my first attempt at ever making a cover. Ugh. Fail. I really had no idea what I was doing. I remember thinking here, “I wonder if there is an app that will write words on photos.” That’s how “green” I was. This one was from February/March of this year when I began writing the novel.
Here is my second attempt. I took my daughter and dog out to be a model. It turned out okay, but didn’t show the mystery/suspense. I had no idea how to use any type of image manipulation software then. Now, I could have probably photo-shopped in a man with a motorcycle or a car or something up the road.
I abandoned this one because I think the writing was hard to read. The tilted letters looked amateurish… along with the use of too many fonts. Now, I look at it and it’s not bad. I probably could have saved it. I did poll this on my blog at one point.
Here, I still didn’t really understand what genre my novel fell in. I was trying for some DNA to show more sci-fi/medical. The background’s too dark and doesn’t really say anything about the novel.
My tagline phase. Looks like a headband. Also, I still had color. The font is boring and I learned somewhere, that if you need to put a shading or shadow behind the font, you should keep trying.
Here I was trying to add in the setting – with the Madison, WI skyline. I went black and white because it had seemed too busy — turns out I liked black and white. The gun barrel was just too much, but here’s where I realized I loved her blue eye. I’m starting to learn photo manipulation here.
And here is the final one. Black and White with words shadowing the face to show the genre. (Mystery/Thriller with some romance/sci-fi). I tried to line the “L” of “Love” up with her eye as a leading line. I went with semi-contrasting colors (red/blue) and I had to learn to change the color of her shirt. The gun’s off-center so you’re not staring down the barrel — emphasizing her eye instead.
Here’s a fun graphic of the changes:
Oh, and a bonus tip. It’s nice when all the covers from the same author look similar. That’s why I went red and blue on this novel. Here are the three novels I’m working on. Notice the similarities.
So, I know I could have a cover that’s 100 times better using a professional designer (or even purchasing a premade one), but there’s some pride in knowing you did everything yourself when publishing a book.
I have the novel on pre-order through Amazon for $0.99 if you’re interested. The price will go up when it’s released on Friday. Love, Lies & Clones on Amazon Otherwise, my offer always stands. Email me and I’ll send you a PDF of the novel for free.