How I choose covers for my Novels …

Have you ever wondered how indie and self-published authors go about choosing a cover design for their book?
Well, until I started publishing myself, I didn’t really give it much of a thought! I looked at the current designs in my genre – fantasy – and decided to do something different. The main reason was because I wanted to be known as a Speculative Fiction Author, rather than either a Fantasy or Science Fiction Writer. The term Speculative, encompasses both …
I think the most difficult cover to design was Dragonscale Leggings. The first version of the paperback had a pale blue background with a picture of an upside down potato peeler on it. It was VERY pertinent to the storyline but not very sellable. At the time (2008) I had no idea that you used pastels for romance novels. And Dragonscale Leggings is definitely NOT a romance!
So, coming up with a new, relevant idea was difficult. Whilst watching Glastonbury 2016 and seeing Muse perform, I was inspired by their brightly lit backgrounds making the band members into silhouettes. That’s what I want for my cover, I told Jonathon B. Hoyt. JBH, however, had some additional ideas, which I hadn’t thought of. I didn’t trust anyone else to get Dracomagan’s strong pose right, so JBH photographed me in various poses until we came up with the one that graces the existing front cover. JBH then worked his technological magic, incorporated his ideas, and wow! That looked different from anything else I’d seen!
I now feel that Dragonscale Leggings is more precisely placed in the YA / Fantasy market. What do you think? (And yes, a new paperback version is due for release sometime this year …)

Inspiration for Vintrig’s Kingdom came from Kombmaker’s portfolio. As soon as I saw the sketch, I thought of Vintrig’s Kingdom; the pale landscape, the high castle, the bleakness in the very air …
But, as I discovered, when I produced my impromptu Poster for the run up to the launch, the sketch was VERY light. I managed to “sharpen” it in Pixelmator, but, alas, have no idea how I did it, and have not been able to replicate it since!
JBH once more saved the day however. I was very clear on how I wanted the cover to look. It had to be pristine white to reflect both the eternal snow as well as Isu Magan’s virginity. The words were to be in jet black to reflect the monotone scene Isu saw every day. But I also wanted a thread of red entering the cover, to give a hint of the colour that Sama Conn brings to the Castle, as well as predicting the dire events of Book Two (yet to be published).
With all my covers, I like to produce something different. I don’t want them to look the same as all the other books, even within the genre. I remember as a teenager going for the books that looked different from the others; and that’s what I’ve been trying to achieve.
Do you think I’ve succeeded? Which of these books would you buy?
© Freya Pickard 2017
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6 Comments on “How I choose covers for my Novels …”

  1. Pontius Paiva Says:

    Great article. Interesting topic. I like learning the different approaches writers use, in any stage of a book’s development.

  2. Libby Says:

    Very interesting Freya. The first cover for ‘Leggings’ was intriguing, the second is definitely more striking without losing the ‘I wonder what….’ feeling. I love the ‘Vintrig’s Kingdom cover. Choosing covers is difficult and I agree they need to be different while still drawing people in as it contributes so much to final buying choices – though personally I also judge by reading the blurb! I think your covers are on the right track. Looking forward to the next one! 🙂


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