The Evolution of a Book Cover

Or everything you wanted to know and more . . .

I have a new book cover. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen way more about this cover than you ever wanted to know, but I thought it might be fun to share how I got HERE from way back THERE. The need to change came, of course, when the publisher with whom I’d been under contract decided to eliminate several books from their publication schedule—including mine.

In a former life I was a graphic designer. I’ve gotten rusty over the past 11 years, and Adobe programmers stand still for no one, so I didn’t feel qualified to re-design my own cover. I talked to an illustrator and other designers, and hadn’t come to any conclusions about which way to go.

The final cover is shown above. I really liked the concept below, which the publisher’s designer came up with.  I was not comfortable, however, with the price they set for me to purchase it. I decided to give it a go myself. They informed me they owned the copyright for the design work. I decided to start from scratch and create something similar, but not too similar. (Okay, it turned out quite similar, but only after I had a revelation along the way. More on that later.)

 

After some false starts, with chocolaty wooden spoon designs, and a storefront that was absolutely a bakery rather than a chocolate shop, the in-house designer and I settled on the design above. This is what I’ve been promoting for the past 8 months. It fits the genre, but has few hints about the story. And I begged for a bit of bling, but was thrilled, for the most part with the bling-less outcome.

When the publisher said they’d be willing to sell me the cover, but had to get me to the right person, I made some tweaks, since I wanted the original title back, anyway.

Upon learning how many smackaroos the “copyrighted” cover would cost, I started from scratch. I purchased the black graphic (above) for the overall shape of the building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I simplified the shape and added awnings. I liked that there were upstairs windows, because, in my story, there are some mysterious things happening in the attic. I needed to re-do all the windows, though, to make them work.

 

 

 

 

 

New windows and a dancing couple upstairs. A friend suggested “glitter” and I remembered about that bling I’d begged for. I added the gold foil letters.

 

 

 

 

I continued to play with colors and fonts as I added chandeliers. I decided the smooth foil letters translated better than “glittery” ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, BINGO! I stumbled across this graphic, which is quite obviously where the the in-house designer began with the “copyrighted” design. I purchased the graphic and was now free to use whatever I wanted from it, including the facade shape at the top. See those adorable flags? They’d been covered up by the book’s title before. I had to use them, and they are my very favorite element!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This part is kind of funny. See all those cute little chocolates? I spent well over an hour putting all of those on the trays, even though no one will ever see them. They’ll be about the size of a pinhead. But if you look really closely, they’re in the right window of the shop. That’s the cool thing about vector art. You can infinitely resize it, without turning things into a blur.

 

 

 

 

Eventually, I got to the final product. The colors are warmer, the shop windows say “chocolaterie,” there are people dancing in the attic, with little flags fluttering above them in the breeze. I have the shiny gold letters I always wanted. This cover tells the story of my story in a way I didn’t know I could hope for. I’d thought I’d have to hire out everything but the writing, to be taken seriously as an indie-published author. Yet another example of how Impostor Syndrome can mess with our heads. I did the cover myself, and it turned out just fine.

Don’t forget! Join Tana’s Insiders Group to learn about upcoming books, events and giveaways. Sign up, and be entered to win the most delicious cookies you’ll ever eat!

Comment here. But be nice. I'd hate to have to hurt you.