Book covers are one of the most important elements of your book. It is what the person sees first and it must be so appealing that it makes the reader want to open that book. Therefore it is critical to have a
professional and appealing cover.
I needed a cover for Love's Miracles and I wanted one that appealed and looked professional. So I hired a book designer who specializes in cover design. It is my pleasure to introduce LENA GOLDFINCH of STONE LILY Publishing and Design Services. She was kind enough to answer questions about the process of developing a book cover and she will be available today to answer any questions you might have.
Lena also helped me put Love's Miracles in the print version on Createspace so if you have any questions about that process, feel free to ask away.
1. How do you come up with an idea for the cover? Do you read the whole book? Or do you ask for suggestions from the author/editor?
I read the description of the book first. I typically don't have time to read every book I design for -- I wish I did! :) -- so the book blurb is especially important, as well as any descriptions of the characters & story from the author/editor. Sometimes, other images that tie in to a theme in the book will emerge, like the daisy in Love's Miracles. The daisy I used for the ebook cover was also incorporated on the back cover and spine of the print edition.
|background for Love's Miracles|
Not always though. For example, my novel SONGSTONE is set in a fictionalized Pacific-island world, but the cover I designed has a tight closeup of the heroine.
2. Do you sketch out a design first and then look for the elements?
I usually scout for images first. Sometimes the author/editor will come to me with sample images and that's always a big help. Samples of covers they like in their genre are also helpful as a jumping off point as I can get a feel for their vision for the book. Looking for images on stock photo sites is a lot like cutting pictures for magazins for a collage! I just start pinning or favoriting images and adding them to my Lightbox (a personal folder of images on a stock photo site). This is kind of a visual brainstorming session. I'm looking for key things: characters, setting, tone, colors,...
In the case of Love's Miracles, your editor presented me with several character images and these two seemed perfect. It wasn't until the actual design phase when I was trying different shots of them in Photoshop that I was drawn to this particular pose. Once I decided on it the rest of the design followed.
For Amber Stokes Bleeding Heart, we searched a long time for just the right model, with just the right expression/tone, and all the other elements. Once we did, it was like we both heard a little "ding-ding-ding!" :)
3. If you can't find a photo that entails all the elements you want, how do you proceed?
Many times a background photo of the setting isn't quite perfect. For instance, in the search for images for Love's Miracles, I found this image of a remote cabin that I loved. The setting was also California, so I thought, "perfect!" but there were things about it that weren't perfect to the story. The original background for my comp cover (a quick low-resolution, just-to-show-the-composition design) had a shot of the mountains in the backgrounds. The remoteness of the setting was perfect but the mountains weren't. As you let me know, Sandra, the story is set near Fort Bragg, on the coast, and redwoods and a meadow play important parts in the story. Yet you thought the "lonely cabin" I'd found was nice. So I went on another image search and, using a little Photoshop magic, mixed in some other image elements to make the setting a little more like the story.
|Trees were added next to the cabin|
|Bleeding hearts added to Amber's cover|
4. What program or software do you use to make up your cover designs?
I use Adobe Photoshop. It's amazing!
5. Can you give us a little about your background?
I majored in Math & Computer Science and was a software engineer for about 10 years. Which explains my love for all things gadget-oriented, including computer intensive tasks like photo-manipulation & interior book formatting. I've always been interested in art though and considered it as a major when I was a teen. Now as an adult, with teens of my own (how did that happen btw?? LOL), I've been able to return to my early passion for art and design. (It's never to late to follow your dreams!) I've been trained in cover design by working one-on-one with a fabulous mentor, Lisa Amowitz, a professional cover designer and graphic design college professor.
You can see her covers on Pinterest. Click here for romance book covers and here for young adult book covers.
LENA GOLDFINCH is a freelance book designer who specializes in books for young adults, fantasy, and sweet romance. Lena is also a Kindle-Bestselling author of young adult fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. She lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. In her creative heart, she travels far and wide to all sorts of exciting places, past and present -- which is a perk of making things up for a living! Her new release, SONGSTONE, comes out July 22, 2013.
And here is some exciting news. Lena is giving us a sneak preview of her cover for the print edition of SONGSTONE. Fresh off the press. Isn't it wonderful?
If you have a question for Lena, ask away and be put in for a drawing for a copy of your choice of one of my books. Another lucky winner will have their choice of one of Lena's ebooks. Aire, The Language of Souls or Songstone (when it comes out in July)
Lena brought along chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with walnuts --still hot out of the oven. Walnuts are optional in case you're allergic. Yum, thank you Lena.
Hooray, This arrived today. The proof of the print version of Love's Miracles. So exciting.