Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wicked Wednesday - thinking about covers

(The action cover where the young hero fights a pirate!)

With my newest series, I'll have nine covers. I'd love to be able to afford a cover artist, but for nine covers? Yikes. So I'll be designing them myself.

And yes, I'm thinking about this way ahead of time. I've only finished the first rough draft of the of first novella. But I like to give myself a lot of time to think about important things. Covers are immensely important, after all. Most of us will say we don't judge books by their covers, but a gorgeous one will attract readers.

(The proud moment of accomplishment cover.)

The Totem series is paranormal romance (PNR) along the same lines as the 13th Floor series. Not all romance, but the relationships are pivotal to the plots.

I like to go simple when designing covers. I've learned some new Photoshops tricks since I made the 13th Floor covers. I believe I can step it up a notch this time. But which direction should I go?

Many PNR covers about shifters have the character(s) on the cover with their animals in the background. Or their eyes are animalistic in their beautiful human faces as they stare at the reader. Do I follow the standard formula? Or do I try to go my own way?

Here are my options. I'm curious as to what you as readers prefer.

1) These nine books are about three sisters. Each book will have one of the sisters narrating. They'll each get three books. I could focus on the women alone. Each cover would have the sister who's narrating, so readers will know who it is about.

2) Nine books. Three sisters. Three love interests. The first three books will have one of the sisters on each of them, and the next three books would have the men. The final three books would feature them as couples. I'm leaning in this direction because I believe PNR readers would like to see handsome men gracing the covers. (To this day, Xan still gets compliments!)

3) Nine books. Three sisters. Three love interests. Seven totems. If I don't want to use people on the covers, I could focus on the totem animals. Go with cool Inuit drawings. Yet the problem here is that only books 2-8 will have specific animals. Could I merge the totems with the models? Yes, possibly. I don't want to make my job overly difficult, though. But then what to do with books 1 and 9?

Right now, I need to stop looking at stock pictures and get writing!

(The what-the-heck cover that doesn't make sense when you read the story!)

Note: All the photos are of my son and Thee Bluebeard. He's a hilarious pirate captain looking for a new crew. He invites people on stage and makes them do weird things. It was the one thing my little guy wanted at the renaissance faire since he saw Bluebeard last year. He got his wish and it was awesome!

19 comments:

  1. And the urchin appeared to enjoy himself.

    I don't want to think about covers. I just spent two weeks working on a new cover for Wheezy, which also got a new title.

    Writing novels is so easy.

    (said no one ever)...well...the writing is the easy part. I don't like the marketing much, that's for sure.

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  2. Hi Christine - love seeing the little one have his workout with Thee Bluebeard - he'll have lots of tales to tell his friends.

    Covers - interesting .. it'll be fun making sure all the covers tie in and make a whole ... good luck .. cheers Hilary

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  3. I'm not a cover expert, so I can't help much here. If you do covers with people, perhaps you can incorporate the main woman character somehow in books 3,4, & 5 when you introduce the male love interest. Your readers will have already identified with the women. Just a thought.

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  4. I had enough trouble figuring out the covers for two separate books!

    Try not to stress - you've got time, and I'm sure whatever you come up with will be awesome. :)

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  5. Such cute pictures with the Bluebeard, especially the proud moment of accomplishment. :)

    I think you can't go wrong with handsome men so I would vote for the second option, but you always do a great job with your covers so I'm sure they will be fantastic regardless of which one you go with.

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  6. Not to put too much stress on you, but I do actually choose books by cover alone! All of your covers so far have been fantastic, so I think you've got the right ideas. Now, go and write, so you've got some words to put inside the cover :-)

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  7. Covers are so hard. I like mixing the characters and the totems, maybe a totem or various ones can be present as part of a subtle background? Like a design? Hmmm...

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  8. I think as long as the coloring of your covers communicates the mood, you can mostly get away with whatever you want image wise. Best of luck with this!

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  9. I like the idea of mixing the characters and the totems. Also, I salute you for taking on this challenge. I have trouble with one book cover—I couldn't imagine tackling nine.

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  10. I've been looking at premade covers a lot recently, since I can't afford to have a custom-designed cover for every single book, and I'm still waiting to hear back from an artist I contacted over two months ago about revamping two of my covers. I love abstract and illustrated covers, since it lets me use more imagination instead of having an exact picture of a character or setting.

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  11. Hmm. I think you should at least incorporate the totem element somewhere, if only to set the books and covers apart and make them unique. Otherwise it feels like you'll have covers that are generic to the genre. I'm really very tired of every cover being a beautiful woman/man/couple. There is no visual interest in that any more. And while I understand you need some of that (a) to attract your audience, and (b) to make sure readers know what they're getting . . . I dunno. I'd definitely look to add interest by adding some different elements to the standard.

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  12. I agree with Chrstal - colours draw me in and should set the tone of the book. I'm sure you'll have an epiphany and come up with fantastic covers. Idease may transpire as you write - so enjoy that process to the max. Wishing you all the best.

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  13. Oh, covers are always so tricky. (They make me flail, at the very least, whenever brainstorming ideas for print editions of my webcomic, LOL.)

    Your three ideas for this series all sound like great options. #3, while intriguing, does sound the most difficult, though. Since you already seem a little hesitant about it, it might be best to stick with #1 or #2. (I'm leaning slightly more toward #2 of those options, since it seems to have the most variety. Makes it easier for the books to stand out from each other while still clearly belonging to the same series!)

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  14. My thoughts keep drifting to covers for a few of my stories. Then I remind myself I still need to think up freaking titles first.

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  15. I'm leaning toward #2 with maybe finding a way to hint at the totems either in the background or around the font. Like having the picture and where you put the title having a small glowing totem or something to represent the book. I'm sure you can find some element to fit with book one and book nine too from the books.

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  16. Maybe you can find tribal tattoos to add to them instead of totems. Maybe the books w/o a specific animal could have more than one symbol. Shrug.

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  17. Nine covers...yikes! You might be able to get a deal with a cover designer since you're doing nine? They might be able to create all nine at once and save some effort. I know there are basic covers you can buy for cheaper than custom-made ones, but with the basic ones, you stand the risk of someone else having the same cover.

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  18. Love the pictures. Sounds like a lot fun. And I like idea #2 also. I think that would be cool and show the progression through each sister's story.

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  19. Thank you to everyone for your comments. I still have plenty of time to decide what I want to do here. It's fun to play around with different covers and effects. Eventually I'll think of something! :)

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