Slip on your labcoats and adjust your goggles. It's time for another session of the mad science of book covers!
Here's a quick review:
Part 1 - knowing the book cover elements of your genre.
Part 2 - the basic elements.
Part 3 - image shopping and backgrounds.
Part 4 - cover models.
I'm going to cover the rest of the base elements, and I'll do my best not to rattle on. Though I think I could do a whole series about choosing fonts for the covers. Fonts haunted me for weeks while I designed the Totem series.
For my urban fantasy series, the basic elements for the covers are: mood creating background, silhouetted villain, unsmiling protagonist, and something to tie all covers together for the series. Possibly the shifter's animal.
We've covered backgrounds and the unsmiling protagonist, and I'm leaving out the silhouetted villain. Instead of featuring the shifters' animals, I'm adding in a different totem animal on each cover which they'll be hunting in each book. These I'll blend into the background, and truly, if you don't have the Photoshop skills to do it, this is something that can be skipped. Something I have battled with myself and remain undecided about.
The next vital element is something to tie all the covers together for the series. I knew what I wanted to do ever since I came up with the concept. I wanted frost creeping up over the edges of the covers. Just a touch. It will be the same on every book. Easy, right?
Nope. I tried so many different types of frost. I wanted it to look icy, but it wasn't working. Why wasn't it working?
Instead, I stepped back and looked at it as if it were a puzzle. I ended up piecing together bits from a frosted pane of glass. This is what the original image looks like:
Pretty on its own. Plus, it's a good way to make sure my Totem bear logo is clearly seen on the bottom corner of each cover. The logo will contain the number of the book.
Now you've seen all my bare images. But just as important as the pictures are the fonts you choose. Check out my post about finicky fonts for tips on how to choose yours.
Fonts are difficult for me. I tend to lean toward plain types. That can be a good thing. You want your readers to be able to read your title and name after all.
Seeing the title for my first book and my name, you're probably wondering why did I stress so much over it? It looks simple. And that's good. It's my job to make it attractive and easy for people to read.
If you click on the image, you'll see the title is textured. Like cracked ice or birch bark. It's subtle, but it adds a lot of character to it. I used the craquelure effect in Photoshop.
Choosing colors for the fonts was difficult too. Each of my covers have different backgrounds. There's a wide array of colors going on which make it hard to see fonts of most shades. I hadn't intended to go with white, but it works with everything. The light gold of my name stands out enough but doesn't draw all your attention.
Whew. I didn't blow anything up. I call that a successful mad science session.
Next week, I'll show you the completed versions of the first three covers of the Totem series.
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