Friday, February 03, 2017

Writing: Choosing A Book Cover

It's been three years since I posted about writer input on cover design. If you don't know about that process, I strongly suggest you check this link and read it. Today, I'd like to talk about the difference between that process and the one involved in self-publication.

Admittedly, I'm a neophyte compared with some of my colleagues whom I consider the experts in this field. But I've learned a bit from self-publishing my novellas, Rx Murder and Silent Night, Deadly Night. Now I'm in the final phase of preparing my somewhat longer novella, Doctor's Dilemma, for self-publication. (For those interested, it should be available for Kindle in a month or less, with hard copies coming out at about that time as well).

Self-publication means just that: the author either does or arranges everything: changing a Word manuscript to the ebook format such as MOBI, designing or having someone design the cover (including the back cover copy and spine), marketing, arranging reviews, and a hundred other things that we authors never think about, choosing to leave most of that to the publishing house that signs us to a contract. A number of self-published authors have developed their own methods of doing this. Here's the way I go about arranging for a cover design.

For Doctor's Dilemma, I had an easy job. I write medical mysteries and suspense, and the covers reflect that. Other genres demand other images, but mine were easy to come by. I gave the artist whom I chose the physical descriptions of the male and female protagonists, along with an incident occurring early in the book that typifies the story. (In this case, the hero's car blows up). The artist put together a suggested cover, and after I approved it, purchased the stock photos as necessary. I wrote the back cover copy (I always do--even for novels traditionally published). You can see the finished front page above.

Just as there are many genres of book, there are other ways of arranging for a cover of a book that will be self-published, and many excellent sources for such covers. This happens to be the one I've adopted. What questions do you have? I'd love to hear from you.

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Vera Godley said...

Waiting excitedly for the release of this new book

Paula said...

I really like your new cover art. That's probably the easiest part of getting a book published.
My mother and sister self- published my mother's memoirs last year. Fortunately my son is a graphic artist. They did a great job on the cover and formatting. They took a picture from when my mother was about 7 yrs old. She turned 100 last month! It was an eye opening experience just to watch them through the process. The book is on Amazon: Child of Two Countries: My China Legacy by Mary Beck Ecker and Sarah Marquis. A lot of the photos were taken by my grandfather, who was a missionary back at the turn of the last century.
Blessings, Paula

Patricia Bradley said...

Thanks for this post. I'm in the middle of choosing a cover for a novella in a boxed set to release later this year and it's good to know someone else survived. :-) And I can't wait to read Medical Dilemma.

And! Your mom turned 100 last month!! That's amazing and wonderful. I want to read her memoir.

Jackie Smith said...

YES YES, I, too am waiting with great excitement for this book!!!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks to you all. My process was fairly simple. I lucked into a good graphic designer. I had a wonderful editor. And the novella will be published with the help of the entity made available to agents. I appreciate the kind words each of you left. Hope you enjoy Doctor's Dilemma.

greg fuller said...

I, first, would like to say, I enjoy enjoy all of your books. Silent night, Deadly Night, really kept me wanting to read the entire book straight through. Two things got in the way: A) work and B) Sleep. So long as a book holds my attention, like yours does, I'll finish reading the entire book more quickly. From several of your colleagues, I have learned how the cover is brought about. The cover has to be about what the story is about. I am looking forward to DOCTOR's DILEMMA being available in book format. Looking for your next novel as well.