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Book Cover Design 101

Your novel is a unique story and it deserves a cover that matches the spirit of that story. The process of cover design, especially for the indie author, can be extensive. Nothing worthwhile was ever a simple process, right? Sometimes you luck out and nail it on the first try. Other times, it takes a few attempts to get that cover so perfect that it "pops" out from the crowd. 

I design my own covers. A long time ago I decided the only person who knew exactly what I wanted was me. I'm meticulous with the process of it, noting trends and competitors. I factor in genre and of course what story I'm trying to tell. I do this for all my covers, including those that I design for other authors. They say don't judge a book by its cover but we all know that we do. I've been in bookstores and picked up a new book simply because I liked the cover design. This happened recently with Patricia Briggs "Mercy Thompson" novels. Unfortunately, the story itself didn't appeal to me. 

It was from her covers, however, that I based the design of my new Silke Butters Superhero Series. The story follows Silke Butters, a young Indian girl who is living the high-life as an international supermodel, when suddenly she begins to develop superpowers. The first book introduces her alter ego, Karma. To display what I was going for in the novel I wanted a strong female image on the cover the way Patricia Briggs had Mercy Thompson. 

Up to this point I've always relied on stock photos and my own creativity to develop the cover design. For Karma (Book 1 in the Silke Butters Series) I needed to have an artist. For one thing, I wanted it to be very "comic-book, superhero style" and I can't draw like that...not even close!

I do alot of comic conventions to promote my work and I meet alot of artists there. So I reached out to a few and nothing panned out. So I took a chance on an artist through Deviantart and it worked out amazingly well. So good in fact I had the entire 5 parts of the series commissioned so that the cover art would retain the same flow ( I can't wait for you to see them all!)

You never want to have your series look so different from each other that they look like completely different novels.

For my Demon Huntress series, I was following on the heels of my popular Demon Hunter trilogy. So I wanted the Huntress covers to match in tone, coloring, theme, and font so they all matched up and you could see this was one big series even though they told separate stories in each trilogy.

Demon Hunter was another challenge. This was my first foray into designing my own covers so they went through alot of revisions until I finally landed on  a design my picky brain could be proud of. And that's the most important aspect when designing your cover, or having it

designed. You want to be proud of it, otherwise you wont want to promote it. I remember one publisher wanted to use something of a stick figure drawing and I flat out refused and told her I would design my own cover. Always stick to your guns. If you're not happy with the outcome it will haunt you. 

I was fortunate that my artist for Karma was a great listener when it came to feedback. The covers were great but because I envisioned it a certain way I asked for small changes...and presto, I had them within a day or two. 

A good cover can garner attention for your novel. If you're not an artist or graphic designer I implore you to seek one out for your cover design. You'll be happy you did. 



"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy, writer wellness, and my author journey.


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