Game Over: Birth of a Cover

So. I had a novel ready to go. Now came time for the part of the process that I am completely and totally unable to even fake: the cover.

Fortunately, I know Christopher Gugliotti and, far more important, he knows I have information on him which certain foreign governments would be very interested to learn about. Which means he's "happy" to make me some pretty covers. (For a fee, of course.)

I knew the rough elements I wanted on the cover, but there were so many, that I wasn't sure it'd work without being too busy—and the prevailing design trend in YA these days seems to lean more towards the minimalist side of things. What's more, to be effective, a cover really needs to be recognizable at thumbnail size, since that's how big (or, I suppose, how small) most people will first see it on Amazon.

So, with some trepidation, I start. I ask a photographer I know to snap a photo of a school crossing sign.

photo by Melissa Wiley
(Why are these adults going to a grade school? Why aren't kids shown on the sign? For saftey reasons? They're just silhouettes, for pete's sake. Are kids more difficult to properly silhouette than adults? And who are these adults? Are they teachers? Can we see some I.D.? Also, is the man carrying a purse? I make no judgments, I'm just asking.) 

Thusly armed, I proceed to use my advanced knowledge of composition to sketch out a rough design for Chris.

tremble in awe at my graffick skillz!
be awed. be very awed.
I sent both things to him and about five minutes later he replies, along with a note saying "something like this?"

Yes. Something very much like that.

Okay. So now let's add the text.

Hm. I love the yellow filter Chris put over the entire thing, but the title and name placement aren't really working. Let's nuke my original design and swap the text elements. And let's go with a font for the title that says "computer."

Way better. Not loving the plainness of the font for my name, though, even though I've noticed most YA books this year are using a sans serif font for their cover elements. Let's try the same font Chris used on my Uncivil War books.

Oh, I like that so much better. The drop shadow on the title makes a big difference. I think my name's still a tad large, though, and I don't feel like we need the Uncivil War bit—note my bold attempt at going minimalist—so let's take one more pass.

And we've got us a cover.

No comments:

Post a Comment