1). How did you get started in this business? Have you always wanted to design book covers?
As a kid I would write and illustrate little stories and bind them into books, so I guess I always knew I wanted to be a book designer. I went to art school and worked for years in many areas of graphic design before coming to B&H to illustrate gift products, which led to gift books, which led to all types of books.
2). Can you give us a brief overview of the steps you take to create a book cover?
(The comments in blue are mine).
First I read as much as I can about the author and the book (if it’s a novel, I usually read the whole story because I get caught up in it). I collect images that have some connection to the writing: photographs, illustrations, and textures.
(For The Guardian Duke, set in Ireland and the first book in my Forgotten Castles series, Diana used some of these images):
Sometimes the cover design has an image of a person placed for approval, and then later we do a photo shoot to capture the exact look we want.
(Here are some images Diana used for possible cover models):
With "The Guardian Duke", we decided to connect the cover image to the book trailer in a more dramatic way than we have in the past. We chose a model who not only fit the description in the story, but who also had acting experience so we could have live action video in the trailer instead of still images.
(Here are some photos of the chosen model from faceoutstudio):
I build layers of art and type, moving pieces around, adding and subtracting until the design begins to tell the story. The first design leads to a few more. Then the designs go through an approval process to decide which one works best for the book.
(Here is the mock up and a draft cover):
(And after the approval process, here is the final cover!):
3). What is your favorite part of the process?
I love to discover the heart of a book. I want to know the story behind the story: what inspired the author to write, how the power of the message might change the way I think. I want to experience the passion behind the written words, and then begin to think about translating that into a cover image.
Most challenging part?
Definitely coming up with a design that resonates with everyone! Art is so subjective; what attracts some people just doesn’t work for others.
4). If someone wanted to become a book designer what would you recommend they do?
Spend time at bookstores and online to see what design trends are showing up on covers and anywhere else.
Anything else you would like to add?
What I love best about working on books is being able to catch the vision and go along for the ride. To be caught up in a book that takes you to another place in your mind is so powerful… the books we publish inspire us to live fuller lives, because we read about how someone else has.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences creating book covers. I know I have been so pleased and thrilled with every cover that Diana has designed. And whenever I’m at a book signing, I always hear how beautiful my covers are. I’m blessed to have such a talented and insightful person working on these stories with me!
Jamie Carie is the author of Snow Angel, a ForeWord magazine Romance Book of the Year winner, USA Book News National “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third novel, Wind Dancer, was a 2010 Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana finalist. She lives with her husband and three children in Indianapolis.
We'll draw two winners today. Leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for the first two books in the Forgotten Castles series The Guardian Duke and The Forgiven Duke.
And do check out the book trailer for The Guardian Duke here.