Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Making of a Cover - Harnessing the Winds


It's tough making your book stand out. There are millions of books out there, and one of the best ways to grab a reader's attention is to have to a fabulous cover. (One day my house will likely have an interior like that!)

I'm not a graphic designer nor do I have any aspirations to be one. Everything I've learned about making covers I've researched on my own and experimented in Photoshop. It's a long and tedious process, but I thoroughly enjoy playing around with images. And since you all seem to really like it I share my process of making a cover, I'm here with one I created for an author friend.

I will always recommend writers hire a cover artist to create their covers or buy a premade one. Yet these things aren't cheap. There are plenty of free images sites, and one I really like to use is Pixabay. Images on there are free to use for commercial ventures. Always be certain you have permission to use an image.

My friend, Morena Silver, is a fantasy romance author. Her debut novel is about pirates. Arrrr! A whole ship of women pirates at that. The book features the captain who can harness the power of storms.

Morena chose the model.

She's wearing a bikini... I'm assuming. And sitting on a rock like that can't be comfortable. Her poor bottom! Anyway, good choice for a model. The background is clear. Easy for me to cut the model out of that image (and off the craggy rock) and insert her into the new background.


Beautiful, isn't it? I love the drama and the color. Both these images are from Pixabay. While I do like the whole image, I cropped it to feature the ships. I didn't think it looked stormy enough, though. So I added in more billowing clouds and played on the oranges.

The actual cutting and pasting of the model onto the background was easy. Who wouldn't want to be there by the sea? The toughest part came when Morena said she wanted lightning. On the woman's arms. Okay, okay. It was time to learn a new skill, and you know what? It was surprisingly simple. I read a short tutorial about how to create lightning in Photoshop and BAM! Or should I say ZAP!


I'm so pleased with the way it turned out and so was Morena. The cover screams romance. It screams fantasy. It screams don't mess with this woman!

I mentioned tons and tons of layers in the post about making the cover for Of Gods and Sorrow. There aren't many layers to this one. The little bolts of lightning I connected to make that effect took the most layering. Simple and elegant.

What do you think? If you're an author, where do you get your covers?

33 comments:

  1. Very cool to see how you merged these two images together! Those lightning effects are so impressive...

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I was so excited to learn how to make lightning. Next up: fog/mist.

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  2. I think it turned out really well. Both images fit together perfectly.

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  3. Nice, Christine! Even though I hired someone to do the covers for my collections - I don't have the skill or the patience to learn! - I really do like seeing how you put it all together.

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    1. Thanks, Madeline! It took me years to learn. But it's a nice skill to have as an indie author.

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  4. A fantastic cover! It does say fantasy and romance. :)

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  5. I use 99 Designs for my covers, though with this last round there I found a wonderful cover designer that I will probably continue to use in the future (Elena at L1graphics).

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  6. I give you praise for your patience:) Working on covers is no small endeavor:)

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  7. I've done one cover for another person and said that was enough for me. It was quite nerve-wracking because I'm the type of person who hates disappointing others and I'm always worried that they aren't really happy with it.

    Great job combining the images!

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    1. I'm the same way. I was harder to please than the other author, though! *LOL*

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  9. I love it. You know picking the right font and having it stand out and show up readable is huge for cover. It is one of the reasons that will make me skim over some books. They have a good image BUTt I can't read the font so lessens the impact of the cover. They don't pop. Great Job!

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    1. Thank you, Juneta. I confess I had help with the font. One of my CPs is my expert! :)

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  10. Stock photo covers usually don't look as good as a created from scratch one, but yours look really good.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. I see the same stock photos over and over on covers out there. Those covers made from scratch are extra special!

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  11. I really liked seeing how you combined the images to make the finished cover - looks great!

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  12. You did an awesome job. When I was trying to get Incubus' cover, I seriously considered asking you if you would help me once I found the models and background. I didn't know what your writing schedule was like, though, and didn't want to cut into that, so I asked the guy who did Path of Angel's cover.

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    1. You could have asked. :) I'm happy to help. Have to make certain Keane looks good, after all. *LOL*

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  13. Well done Christine - clever that you managed to get it to all go together so well ... really good - congratulations - Hilary

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  14. I love this! The lightning looks fantastic! Great job. It makes me want a cover with lightning. I love Pixabay, I use it for a lot of my teaser images, along with Unsplash and Pexel. I have a cover designer that I've been using, but her low prices makes the demand super high. I have to book her nearly five months in advance.

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    1. Thank you! Oh, I know a bunch of great cover designers that just have to shut their doors for a while to catch up on all their work.

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  15. Great cover! The lightning looks good. My husband designed my cover, and it was his first time, so he did lots of research, too.

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    1. Thanks, Shannon! I always go through and look at covers in the genres and sub-genres. So much that I notice the same images used over and over again!

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  16. Amazing cover! I love how it all came together--you do fantastic work!!

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  17. I think you did an awesome job! Amazing!!

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