Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, please tell us a little about yourself. Hello fans and followers of Library of Erana. I’m Tamian Wood, Graphic Designer and Book Cover Artist with Beyond Design International, based out of Sunny South Florida, USA. I design book covers and other related marketing materials, for independent authors and publishers around the world, in a variety of genres.
1) You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? It took me FOREVER to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. After all manner of odd jobs, — petrol station attendant, secretary, sandwich maker, pizza order taker, manicurist, accountant, cashier, retail sales associate, tech support rep, (…and the list goes on, and on…, did I mention it took me FOREVER?) I finally figured out I needed more creativity in my life. When I started doing cover design, everything made sense.
2) Can you tell us about some of the covers you’ve designed and authors you’ve worked with? (name of books, authors you’ve worked with etc.) Most of the authors I work with are self-published, indie authors or small press publishers. None of them are HUGELY famous (yet). Nevertheless, I have some great clients who are doing phenomenal work. Here are just a few:
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. I start with a cover design questionnaire. It helps the author to think about things like, genre, target audience, and mood. We figure out the author’s likes and dislikes and their vision for the cover. We explore the key points of the story, descriptions of characters, titles, sub titles, and the technical stuff, like trim size, page count, etc.
Then I come up with 2-3 design concepts using all the information at hand, and some research into what’s out on the market in that genre, and selling well. I am what is considered a photographic illustrator, so I use stock photography to blend and compile images into a “gotta have that book” cover. To put it all together, I use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign on my Mac and it usually takes a couple weeks (sometimes less)
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? At first, I start with a synopsis or description from the author (and all the other answers on the questionnaire), but if that’s not getting things flowing, I’ll read selected sections to get further info. In the case of “The Inheritance” by Christopher Stires , I had to read nearly every last word to finally get to a description of the “monster”
And sometimes, it just comes to me. I know that sounds all woowoo, but really. It happens. With Beyond The Tempest Gate by Jeff Suwak, the author wasn’t sure what he wanted. He gave a description of a wall of lightening, storm clouds, etc. I later clarified that the ship should be a single masted.
When I finally read the first page of the “See Inside” section on Amazon, (months later) I nearly fell out of my chair. See for yourself: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Tempest-Gate-Jeff-Suwak-ebook/dp/B00ERY9OOS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1409339127&sr=8-2&keywords=the+tempest+gate
A similar thing happened with a redesign for Love Abideth Still, by Scott Rezer. I read a couple pages from the “See Inside” section while I was waiting for the cover design questionnaire and this cover came together like it was divinely inspired.
If you are interested in this Civil War love story you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Abideth-Still-Novel-Civil/dp/1493537652/
5) What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? As an author, your cover is your most important marketing tool. Why on earth would you want a generic cover that looks like everyone else’s? And I personally do not like the beheaded look.
6) When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? I’m always drawn to the cover. It’s my job. Nothing turns me off more than bad Photoshop work. Ok, maybe kitchy fonts.
7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? Study, Study, Study. Study what’s out on the market. (The NY Times best sellers.) Study HowTo tutorials on how to work with the products you have at hand. And for heaven’s sake study Typography. Nothing say’s DIY worse than bad font choices.
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’ve never worked for Fiverr or 99designs, but I understand that several people do the work, but only one gets paid? Maybe it’s a fetish, but I like to eat and sleep indoors. I’m not the cheapest designer, and I have no wish to be. Creativity takes time. Software and hardware and training and images cost money. Experience and talent are priceless, and a good cover is worth it.
I don’t see how anyone could spend any time at all on your project if they are only making pennies per hour. It seems to me these types of web sites encourage a race to the bottom in terms of a fair wage for a job well done.
9) Do you have a genre you prefer? As a broad stroke answer, I’d say I prefer fiction to non-fiction, but I can do and have successfully done both. Here are some of my non-fiction covers.
10) Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on? I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite. They are all like my babies. Usually the one I’m working on at the moment is my favourite at the time.
11) Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? Hmmm, I don’t often get asked that sort of thing. The silliest thing I can think of, is… I like to wear my tiara whenever I watch a beauty pageant. J
Back to business (if you can get that image out of your head.)
Here’s a link to my video trailer for more samples of my work http://bit.ly/1k4NppT (it’s quick and painless)
And here are all the other links you’d need to find me:
Beyond Design International
Video Trailer: http://bit.ly/1k4NppT
Your book IS being judged by its cover. It’s a statement, not a question. How can I help?