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Hi Lori Follett and welcome to the Library of Erana, please tell us a little about yourself.

1) You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? I have been a freelance graphic designer since 2001 and have always loved books, even more so since e-readers came on the scene and there were so many indie authors out there publishing books themselves.  As I was shopping for books I noticed that so many of them had pretty bad covers, which was an instant turn off to me as a graphic designer.  So, I decided to focus my business on books and author services.  Now, I offer pre made and custom covers, formatting, editing and proofreading, blog design and DIY blog/website hosting, all at low prices so most indie authors can afford them.

2) Can you tell us about some of the covers you’ve designed and authors you’ve worked with? I have worked with J. Thayer McKinney on her Haunting of LaBelle.  I designed the cover, formatted the print and ebook versions and also designed her publishing company’s, Cedar Loft Productions, logo.  I have also worked with Jan Goldie, Chelsea Scott and Sylvain Neuvel, though their books have not been released yet, among others.

3) Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!) Software used – where you source your images, how long a cover takes etc. There is a lot of time involved.  My process starts with clients filling out a lengthy form about their book.  From there, I tend to stew on their descriptions for a while.  Then, I start searching through stock photo sites (I use many, including DeviantArt occasionally, but mostly Shutterstock).  A cover takes anywhere from 3 to 8 hours, or longer if there is a lot of illustration and digital painting involved.  I use a combination of Photoshop, Illustrator and inDesign for my covers with a pen and tablet on a Mac.

4) Where does your inspiration come from? Do you read the book first, then come up with a design, or can you produce something from an author’s description? I ask my authors to provide more than just a back blurb for me, so it comes from their description and from their style and a lot of times just spending an hour or so going through stock sites.

5) What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? Personally, I am not a fan of them, though I have done a few and have a few available as premades.

6) When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? The cover is what draws me into a book.  If the cover is poorly done or clearly no thought was put into it, I will not purchase a book.  I figure if so little care is put into the cover, it is likely that little care is put into editing and proofreading.  I cannot read a book that has not been edited or proofed.  It pulls me out the story and makes it painful to read.  lol

7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? I am pretty much just starting out myself, having started this year, though I am building pretty quickly now.  My best advise is to do free work to start with.  Work with authors and show them what you can do before you ask another struggling artist to hand over cash to you.  Another way to showcase your skills to by doing pre made covers.

8) What are your thoughts on sites like Fiverr where people can buy covers cheaply? Do you think they encourage substandard or very generic images? I think they do more of a disservice to designers and buyers than a service.  Our skills are cheapened and you don’t get quality in most cases out them.  I absolutely think they encourage substandard and generic images.  Not much time can possibly be spent on the covers for such little amount of money, nor can it cover the costs involved in creating covers.  There are software costs, stock images cost and time to consider.  Stock image subscriptions are definitely not cheap!

9) Do you have a genre you prefer? Not really, I love aspects of most genres.  I don’t particularly like doing religious covers though.

10) Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on? My favorite image hands down was a mermaid for Jan Goldie.  It was actually a pre made cover to begin with.  It was really hard to part with!  I started with a headshot of a young woman with a water splash.  I morphed her into a mermaid and the cover just really came together.  It is the one that has gotten to most comments.  It is now the cover a YA novella called A Mer-Tale.

11) Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I have to have the first spoonful of the just-opened peanut butter jar.  My whole family knows this and makes fun of me for it.  I don’t know what it is, but the smooth top and the fresh peanut butter, it tastes so much better when it’s just opened.  lol


Blog/website links etc.

Wicked Book Covers