Covers Uncovered – Guest Post by Tamian Wood

 

I’d like to welcome back cover designer Tamian Wood.

#Bookcovers #Indiepublishing #cover design

Covers Uncovered.

You glance across a crowded room and lock eyes. You are inspired, beguiled. Suddenly, “love-at-first-sight,” makes sense and you feel the spark of a love affair blossoming with …

the BOOK of your dreams?…

Ok, that might be taking the metaphor a bit too far, but work with me on this. The ultimate goal of your books cover is to grab your reader’s attention and tell them in an instant, “Take me HOME, I’m just what you need! Pay no attention to all those other books, I’m the one!”

Think of it like your favourite little black dress that shows off your curves, and accentuates your …assets. 🙂

Let’s face it, there are really only two reasons to write a book. 1. To say you did, and 2. To sell it.

Unless you only wrote your book so your grandmother could read it, and your target audience is your crazy cousin Emma, Auntie Eileen and Uncle George, the cover does matter. Let me say that again, in case you missed it in all the humor — If you want to sell your book, your cover DOES matter, a LOT.

So, let’s assume you wrote your book to actually sell a few copies. The key then is that you must treat your writing as a business, your book as a product and the cover as its packaging. The cover is your most important marketing tool, and as such, must be properly packaged to be visually appealing to your target market.

A successfully designed book cover, like that little black dress, will convey the tone of your book, give hints about its content, and entice readers into actually picking up your product to read your meticulously written and diligently edited words. Metaphorically, you’ve just been asked out for a first date. Only then can your inner beauty be discovered.

Let’s have a look at some examples and see what they tell you about what’s under the covers…  (Ok, I’ll stop.)

Ponder on this cover package for a moment. What does the colour story tell you about what’s inside? It’s fresh, clean, green grass, blue sky. How does it make you feel? Cheerful, hopeful?

CommonHomeFlatLR

What’s under the cover, you ask? A letter from Pope Francis about caring for our common home, Earth.

The cover I created for the Pope’s Encyclical Letter is designed to make you think about our environment, ecology, and our children’s future. The fresh greens, calming blues and flesh tones are used intentionally to evoke a feeling of newness, and concepts of youth, growth, and springtime rebirth.

What about these next two. How do they make you feel?

 

 

The colour red in both of these images tells us they might be about death, but the fonts also tell us a story too. Notice that the bold modern font on The End Of Snow tells us that the story is based in modern day. If you zoom in close, you’ll also notice the texture of the font feels like a blizzard.

With Rebel Nation, we can surmise from the font that it has something to do with history. The rebel flag also gives a historical clue… but why is there a modern day rifle site? Hmmm, intriguing.

In the case of these next two the softer font tells us this is a more feminine story. But what else can we discover about these two. Do they belong together? What clues tell you this?

Capture3

With a sequel, it’s important to have consistency in the overall look and feel from one book to the next so your readers (or searchers) will know these stories belong together. This is known as “branding.” Typically, the colour story will likely match and text treatment is usually similar.

 Book COver TW 1.PNG

 Notice the repeating elements. The spherical object at the top of the design space, the light source just below, the city-scape in the foreground, and the similar text treatment. All these elements let us know that these are part of a sequel.

Another important thing to note is that there should be a strong contrast between the text and the image behind so that your words are legible.

 Capture2

And, you should always keep in mind that the cover will be displayed on digital browsers at a thumbnail size, so it is important the elements are minimal. Including every detail from your story only serves to make your cover busy and confusing, and gives away too much, too soon. Remember our little black dress and keep it simple and classic.

One final little tid bit of advice I always give new authors is if you are beginning to write a book, start saving from day one so that when it’s complete, you’ll have a tidy little nest egg to invest in what it takes to make your product look professional.

Because it matters. A lot.

Are you a DIY cover designer? I am offering a cover critique on my new
blog. Show me what you have and I promise an honest, kind and
constructive insight into how you might make your cover better before
you display it to the world.

Take a peek at what other authors have shared…
http://www.tamianwood.com/critique-corner-author-raymond-walker

Tamian Wood
Graphic Designer
Beyond Design International
designer.tamian@gmail.com
www.BeyondDesignInternational.com
Video Trailer: http://bit.ly/1k4NppT
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beyonddesignint
Facebook: facebook.com/BeyondDesignInternational
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/designertamian/graphic-design-by-tamian/

New Features! New Interviews! New Friends

No automatic alt text available.

 

Over the coming weeks, I will be changing and expanding the interview and promotional opportunities available here. There will still be great features and some of them will be available at no charge but for the enhanced/expanded features then there may be a small charge. Of course, for that, you get more. More tweets, more choice of features, promoted on my new author interviews promotion page. Of course, if you simply wish to participate in one of the free features – that’s great as well.

There will be a range of the following:

Swift Six – short author or character questions

Book spotlights

Dirty Dozen – author or character interviews

Reader interviews

Editor, cover artist or narrator interviews

Top Tens

Guest posts

‘Weeks With’ a particular author

Days in the life of characters or authors

Zweihanders – double interviews with character lovers or siblings

Good cop/bad cop – heroes and villains going head to head.

Here’s the new Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Erana-Interviews-and-Features-215319805541102/

And there will soon be ‘Friends of Erana’ page listing useful services, contacts and allies of The Library of Erana.

If you’re a blogger and willing to co-host, feature or help or your an author, cover designer, audio book narrator, or of course a reader then do get in touch.

You can either use the ‘contact us’ link in the page menus or drop me an email at libraryoferana@gmail.com

 

 

Cover Artist Interview Number Six – Roy Mauritsen

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

My Name is Roy Mauritsen and I’m a professional graphic artist with a career that spans over 20 years working for print houses and advertising companies.  I have a background in fine art from my days of crayons to college.  These days I do digital fantasy artwork and I work a lot in television commercial graphics. I also serve as an art director for some small press publishers. I’ve won several awards for my fantasy artwork, my television commercials and even for my book covers. I have worked for two years with a fan based science fiction convention as their Art/Marketing director. I also do photography.  As the Art Director for Perseid Press, it fell to me to create not only the book cover for Heroika, but also the supplementary promotional materials including the book trailer.

You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work?

My own novel, actually. It was important for me when my novel “Shards of the Glass Slipper” was published that I maintain creative control including cover design. Padwolf Publishing was happy to work me and afterwards they offered to work with me if I continued own as an art director… and things snowballed from there.

 shardsbook1_cover

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.)

I’ve done over 50 or so covers. ’ve worked with Padwolf Publishing, Perseid Press, Crazy 8 press, and Dark Quest Books. And many authors, Patrick Thomas, Ed Mcfadden III, Janet Morris, John L. French, Darin Kennedy, Russ Colchamiro, Andrew P. Weston, Brad Aiken and Matt Schiariti, to name a few and myself of course.  Some titles include “Heroika”, “With Great Power”, “The IX”, “Ghosts of Demons Past”, “Our Dying Land”, “Genius DeMilo”, “Apocalypse 13” and “Bartender of the Gods” (Which features my own hand modelling), and obviously “Shards of the Glass Slipper”. I’ve been working with Janet Morris for her upcoming re-release of her original Silistra Quartet series, and that has been very exciting!

 silistrapromoHC6x9

Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!)

There are so many different flavours of books that it requires a little time to figure out the best path to proceed down.  I’ve worked in graphic design long enough that I can get something together that looks professional in a quick amount of time. Very few authors are like… do whatever, most have an idea and others already have some elements they want to incorporate. There are times when I’ll have to convince an author to let go of their idea in favour of something that would be better and not even something they would think of. After that I might utilize some stock imagery or some Photoshop and Illustrator work. More involved covers I’ve used 3D programs like Vue, which is a 3D landscape environment generator, Poser and render engines like Reality (which can create high-end photorealistic imagery) and I have even used After Effects (which is a graphic program used primarily for video) for other titles.  Though I’ve a strong background in fine art I don’t draw or paint much anymore, but that training in design theory, colour and composition for example, still apply. I have done a book cover over a lunch hour and some I can take weeks or even months of trial and error. The important thing is the end result; does it help sell the book?

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?

The majority of the time it’s from an author description or perhaps something they’ve tried to do themselves. For a cover like Heroika, Janet Morris had a piece of art she wanted use which was the medallion of the man on the horse killing a dragon. I was able to work the art into more of a medallion feel and the rest of the design fell quickly into place. The cover was done months before the book interior was completed.

What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance?

They are instantly recognizable and easily convey a feel for the story… almost to the point of cliché. But if you were to do something different with it, they still could be interesting.

When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off?

A good book cover is extremely important! You will judge a book by its cover. It’s a visual attractor and really the first impression… and you always want to make a good first impression. Of course I will look at covers first… for professional reasons, design ideas (or what not to do) how the typeface is handled, what styles and trends are out there, things like that. Probably the big turn off is a cover that was not done professionally… I’ve seen far too many books with covers obviously done by the author to save a couple of bucks; low-resolution images, choppy images, poor type handling, and no sense of design.

 a13

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? 

For an artist starting out… it’s not easy- pay attention to designs everywhere. Inspiration can come from unlikely ideas… It will take a long time. Keep trying different things, as they are many different ways to approach a cover concept. Keep thinking out of the box. Learn the under-the-hood technical aspects of design, layout, printing, how to make pdfs correctly and pre-flighting, and the differences between creating for print or web.  Not everything has to be a masterpiece effort to achieve what is needed. Your work ultimately has to best serve the book, not your ego.

 anywhrbuthere_final

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 can buy a lot of things for $5 dollars… Coffee and a bagel, a ham sandwich with some chips and soda and a bunch of things things at the dollar store! My artistic knowledge my creative tools, my experience and skillset, my time are worth considerably more than a ham sandwich…especially if I am making your book look professional and marketable to your readers.  You get what your pay for. And if a generic design adequately describes your book, then that says something.  Or think of it this way… as an author you probably laboured for years to hone your craft and write your masterpiece; attending conferences, writing groups, blogging and query letters, tracking agencies you submitted to, and getting rejection letters. Blood sweat and tears, bad days and good days… edits and re-writes and now you are finally done-ready to publish.  All of that you go through, but then for your cover art you’ll spend five bucks on a generic “your title here” type cover? You do yourself such a disservice. You deserve an awesome cover for all of that work and time you invested.

 IX_cover-CS

Do you have a genre you prefer? 

That’s a great thing about working with so many types of authors. You get to explore a variety of genres. Probably my preferred one is Fantasy… I grew up studying a lot of fantasy artists Like Roger Dean, Boris Vallerjo, Larry Elmore etc.  I like the challenge of trying different genres though… up to a point. I ‘ll draw the line at doing erotica covers; it’s really not my thing, though it is a widely popular genre. It’s not something I would want to have myself, as a professional brand, associated with.

Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on?

One of my personal favourites is the cover art for “With Great Power” a super hero anthology. The concept came together very quickly and early on. It was a year later before the book was finally published.   It was created almost entirely in After Effects (a rather uncommon use of this software that I hope to have opportunity to do more with.) But it was an image that for me really embraced the spirit of the book.   It was nice to hear from anthology contributors like Gail Z. Martin and Jonathan Maberry, who called it “a pretty damn cool cover!”

I’m also enjoying the challenge of reinventing all four covers for Janet Morris’ Silistra Quartet series. It incorporates and image across the cover of all four books in a rather striking way. It’s probably my most ambitious cover project to date.  For Apocalypse 13, I had to render over a dozen individual character elements and composite them in photoshop- quite a complicated endeavour!

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself?

I’m feeling generous! Here’s three:

My favourite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland.

As a child, I was inspired to draw after watching the original Land of the Lost on Saturday mornings.

My favourite animal is the Platypus.

 heroika revised 1

Blog/website links etc.

www.roymauritsen.com Both my digital fantasy artwork series Chess Pieces and information and artwork from my novel Shards of The Glass Slipper are here.

www.padwolf.com the majority of covers you’ll find here I’ve worked on…

Here’s an overview of book covers I’ve done ( via facebook) https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10205677896134136.1073741847.1456655061&type=1&l=d0cd2ba92c

Twitter: @roymauritsen

2014 – A Year Filled With Words

I can’t believe it will be 2015 in a few hours, where has the year gone?! So what has 2014 brought? Words! Knowledge! Friendship!

It’s too many years for me to confess to since I left university but my thirst for knowledge hasn’t abated. As some of my followers know I love history, especially ancient history. The course https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/hadrians-wall Hadrian’s Wall – Life on the Roman Frontier was fascinating. Well presented and interesting this was a good look at life in Roman Britain, and the challenges facing both occupiers and occupied.  There may well be a story from this era…. watch this space.

Next year – January I am hoping to complete another course about Roman Architecture and archeology, and later on the Coursera course about Science Fiction and Fantasy.

I’d planned for Book III of the Chronicles to be out by year end, but for one reason or another this hasn’t occurred. It is, however, done in draft so should appear in the springtime. I’ve not been idle, this year has been a year of short stories, planning and promotion.

My books this year:

Nine Heroes: Tales of Heroic Fantasy. This includes a Tale of Erana not featured anywhere else. Coel is the reluctant hero of this tale of slavery and revenge. Look out for Coel again in 2015

Kiss and Tales – the Romantic Collection (with the Indie Collaboration).

Summer Shorts (with the Indie Collaboration) – this includes some poetry about the British Summer Time, and a short story about the Kitchen Imps.

Spectacular Tales (with the Indie Collaboration) – (free) featuring some poetry and a fairy tale retelling.

Tales from Darker Places (with the Indie Collaboration) (free) – featuring some poetry, a dark and twisted story about Jack the Ripper, and a dark tale about a lonely vampire.

Bellator – I have to say I haven’t had that much fun for ages. It was such a joy to be co-writing with Diana Wicker again.  Perhaps these characters might appear again. This charity anthology is raising money for wounded service personnel, a cause close to my heart. Books for heroes and stories about heroes – what a marvellous combination.

Tales of Erana: Myths and Legends – a collection of tales set in Erana featuring errant gods, magic, myth and mayhem – Also in Audio. On the subject of Audio I started running Audio Book Narrator interviews, which were fascinating. For me a whole new world was revealed – a book read aloud is a treasure indeed, it brings forth emotions of joy from memories of parental and grandparental story telling, sitting down at school and being read to, and reading aloud to friends. Story telling is as old as the hills, and is central to our culture.

Wyrd Worlds II – this free anthology features another tale of the Kitchen Imps, plus a short fantasy tale of the god-keeper of a small bluish-green world.

Tales of Erana: The Warrior’s Curse – new release. A short story of myth and magic set in the world of Erana.

Blog-wise there have been:

18 character interviews with everyone from William Shakespeare, a horse, a dog, several aliens, a few witches and wizards, a couple of demi gods, a vampire and even Satan himself.

42 author interviews covering fantasy, science fiction, suspense, paranormal, children’s fiction, crime and historical.

3 narrator interviews, including Chris Morris.

6 editor interviews.

5 cover designer interviews.

5 reader interviews.

2 reviewer interviews.

Several blog tours stopped by, plus there’s been advice about audio books, Thunderclap, book reviews, course reviews, giveaways, new releases and much more. It has been a busy year!

So what will 2015 bring?

The Stolen Tower – The Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles Book III will appear in the spring.

Plus there will be more short stories, including more from the Kitchen Imps, Coel and the Thiefmaster, and more Tales of Erana. Book IV of the Chronicles is in planning, and I dare say more short stories will spring from that. A murder mystery, plus perhaps some more grimdark.

There may also be an erotica collection, co-written with a friend.

Wow I am busy already and the year hasn’t even started!

There will be several guest posts discussing the influence of fantasy on our culture, plus, of course many more interviews. The first of these is scheduled Jan 2nd 2015 from Joe Bonadonna. If you are interested in participating in an interview, a guest post or blog tour stop-off please contact using the form below or on the Contact Details page.

Cover Designer Interview Number Seven – Mia Darien

Hi and welcome to the Library of Erana, please tell us a little about yourself. I’m Mia Darien. I am a Jill of Many Trades…although mostly in the worlds of words.

You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? Honestly? Because it’s fun. I like messing around with Photoshop and graphic images. I started making my own book covers, and decided I wanted to do it for others.

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.) I’ve been happy to do covers for BR Kingsolver, author of the Telepathic Clans Saga, as well as Delancey Stewart, Jessica Nicholls, Crystal G. Smith, and Diana L. Wicker, the Tales from Feyron series. Kingsolver’s was particularly fun because I got to make a woman cast lightning from her hands.

Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!) It starts with the author and their images for the cover. Usually, I get images from them, but if not, I’ll scour stock photo sites for stuff. Send them download previews, make concept drafts, which look awful but give the idea. Then when we strike on a concept we like, I take the images and make the prettier version. I send each iteration to the author, who may suggest changes, and once the author is happy, they get their cover art.

Software used – where you source your images, how long a cover takes etc. I use Adobe Photoshop, get the images from the author or from BigStockPhoto.com. The time a cover takes varies on how hard it is, how complex, etc., can be anywhere from thirty minutes to several hours.

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 can’t possibly always read the book before working on a cover. I just don’t always have the time, so I work entirely from the author’s ideas and description, bouncing them between us and then the draft images until we settle on something the author is happy with. If I have read the book, however, I’ll offer what suggestions and input I can.

What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? I don’t like them as much, but I can understand why they’re used.

When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? The cover is always the first draw. You can’t JUDGE a book by its cover, but it is your first impression of it. I like covers that evoke an emotion, or curiosity. That are well put together. I tend to like people on covers, but it’s not a requirement. Honestly, I’ve become a bit of a cover snob. Books with covers that obviously didn’t have much thought or time put into them, or seemingly care of any kind, will turn me away.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? Learn the software past the basics. You don’t need to be an expert, but learn what you’re doing. Otherwise, just start playing. Start that way and you learn how things work, then you get it.

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’m not familiar with the site, actually. I don’t know that it does encourage those things. It may, but I try not to judge. As long as the cover can at least look put together, a less expensive or “generic” cover isn’t always bad.

Do you have a genre you prefer? Not really. I’m happy to do any kind of cover.

Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on?One of my favorite covers was actually one of my own, for “Welcome to Adelheid,” namely because the woman in the stock photo didn’t have a shirt under the jacket which was partially open down the front. Since the books aren’t romance, I didn’t want to mislead readers. So I created a shirt and almost no one (that’s told me, at least) was able to tell.  I’ve always been proud of that.

 Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? When I have a patch of free time, I like to play World of Warcraft. I tend to shout things at my characters, other people’s characters, animals in the area…

Blog/website links etc.

http://www.miadarien.com

Cover Designer Interview Number Six – Rustin Petrae

My name is Rustin Petrae. I am a self-published author as well as a graphic designer. I wrote the Histories of Purga novels (Book One: Dragon and Book Two: Roc) as well as the Bane Pack Novels (Blood Ties: The First and Coming Soon! Blood Ties: The Second). I am also the creator and writer for the comic book Hybrid Earth published through Scattered Comics. I’ve been a graphic designer for over 5 years and I have really illustrative, stylized designs.

1) You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? When I first published my own novels, I spent a lot of time looking through other self-published works. I quickly saw that there was a need for my skills and so I offered them.

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.) I designed three covers (both eBook and print) for Irish author Matthew W. McFarland. He wrote 50/50, The Liar, and Defenestration. I also did a cover for LA author Ryan Haynes and Indian author Sneha Bansal. And of course, I designed all the covers for my own books as well as all the images you see inside them.

3) Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!) I first start off with thumbnails. These are very rough sketches that give the client (or myself) an understanding of the proposed layout of images and graphics. Once we decide on the route we want to take, I go about creating the images, titles, pick out fonts, etc. I then send the client a proof and they either approve that or come back with any changes they may want. Once we go through several drafts and decide on the final product, I email them their finalized files.

Software used – where you source your images, how long a cover takes etc.

I almost exclusively work with vector graphic software but I am also highly proficient with other programs such as Photoshop, InDesign, Quark Xpress, etc. I can create nearly any effect or manipulation that someone might be looking for, all they have to do is ask. When I do create my covers, depending on what graphic I want to use, I usually just create my own.

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 do not read the books first as most people aren’t quite finished with them yet. I ask the author what thoughts they have or if they want any specific graphics or images they want me to use and then go from there. Once I have a really good idea of what they are looking for, I can picture the cover in my head and start to design what I envision.

5) What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? Generic, to me, is usually pretty boring. I’m not saying all generic covers are boring, but if they were jazzed up and looking really cool despite being an interchangeable torso or a skull or a sword, then they wouldn’t really be classified as generic anymore anyway. You can make any image look amazing if you’re talented enough.

6) When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? When I buy a book, the cover is the number one draw. If it looks cool, I will definitely pick it up. The second thing is the back blurb. If that is interesting enough, then I will buy it. I don’t necessarily have turn offs when it comes to buying books, just certain genres that don’t interest me much so I won’t even go in that section.

7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? Be patient. Be receptive to the client’s critiques. And above all else, make sure that the client gets exactly what they’re looking for. A happy client could mean more business in the future.

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 haven’t actually been on Fiverr so I couldn’t offer an opinion on that particular site. I don’t necessarily think the people doing those all have substandard or generic covers but I imagine there are probably loads of them that are. It is a shame because you have to wade through a lot of people that think they can do it to get to the people that can actually do it.

9) Do you have a genre you prefer? I don’t really have a specific genre that I like to work on more than others. It’s all very entertaining to do but if I had to pick one, it would probably be fantasy. I really like drawing monsters and mythical creatures.

10) Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on? I haven’t done a huge amount of covers yet and so I can remember them all pretty easily and I have to say that there is something I like about each one. At the moment, I don’t really have a favorite.

11) Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? I really like the notion of the basic elements like water, earth, fire, wind, etc. That really sneaks its way into a lot of my stories and my artwork.

Blog/website links etc.

rustin-petrae.webs.com

facebook.com/rustinpetraegd

facebook.com/rustinpetraeauthor

scatteredcomics.com

http://www.amazon.com/Rustin-Petrae/e/B009QU2J04/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1409936769&sr=8-2

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/rustinpetrae

 

 

Cover Designer Interview Number Five – Melissa Stevens

Welcome to Melissa Stevens

You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? I’ve always loved drawing, from the time I was small. But roughly five years ago, I had the opportunity to try my hand at a cover for a fellow writer. There was no turning back once I started!

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.) I have worked with Cathrina Constantine, Chris McMullen, Julie Harper, Nazarea Andrews, C. T. Nicholson, and several others. Some covers have not been released yet, so I have to stay quiet, but favorite covers would have to be Tallas, by Constantine, The Horde Without End by Andrews, The Empire Series by AN Latro, and the Self-Publishing Series by Chris McMullen. Really, I love all my covers.

Can you tell us what is involved? (I have no clue so you can be as elaborate as you like!) Well, I begin by sending the author a list of questions surrounding the cover. I like to know as much about the book as possible. I also request a description of the characters, even if they are not on the cover. If the genre is a little murky to me, I ask that as well. I have found reading the blurbs give me enough info for a cover, but I would always rather have too much than too little. The back blurbs also give me a sense of the author’s style, which helps. Then it comes down to if the author has a clear cut idea of what he/she wants. If so, we fine tune the idea (if need be). If the author doesn’t have any ideas, I take a few days to come up with some. Usually, my first gut idea is the one. Not always…

I try very hard to keep the author engaged with the design as much as possible. So throughout the process, I send updates to the author to hear their feedback. It also makes for a more personal cover, which I think is ultimately the important part of the process.

Once the cover is completed to the author’s liking, I send the final JPEG and/or PDF file for uploading!

Software used – where you source your images, how long a cover takes etc? I use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator for my covers. Usually, I tend to use Depositphotos for my photo-manipulations if they are needed. A cover can take anywhere from 24 hours to 8 weeks, depending on the level of detail needed and how fast communication is.

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 always ask for as much description as possible. I want the cover to convey a story as well, and one that is intriguing and holds to the book. Rarely do I read the book first, unless I am completely stumped. I just don’t have the time to read them all.

What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? You have to have generic ideas for covers. A potential reader already has idea in their head when they go searching for a book. The job of a cover artist is to add to that generic-ness and change it enough that the one looking at it still has an idea of the genre, but the image pulls them further into wanting to read the blurb, pick up the book.

For instance, would you find a murdered corpse on the cover of a romance? No. Because you already have an idea of what should be there. My job is to push your idea of what should be on the cover just to the edge of being uncomfortable. Because it will intrigue you into picking up that title.

It’s a lot easier to create a generic cover, and the world is full of them. And, oft times, the author would like the standard naked torso. Which is fine. Use it. But at the same time, make the background or text interesting. Make it stand out.

When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? I unashamedly always look at the cover first. If it is pixelated, or colored with crayons and markers, I move on. The cover has to be graphically decent in order for me to read the back. If there are grammar mistakes on the cover, I pass. If the blurb is written well, I will keep reading. But the cover is the first thing that draws me in.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? Research. Research EVERYTHING. Youtube has some fantastic tutorials. Go to Deviantart.com and make yourself an account, then look at art. Go to Amazon and scroll through the books. Notice what draws you, and what turns you away. Then start drawing. Start creating. A lot of folks create premades for practice and to build their portfolio. Oh, yes, by the way, make a website. And if you can’t make one to look professional enough, hire someone. Never do anything halfway. Because that is how you will be described, and remembered. And in this line of work, word of mouth is everything.

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 glanced through Fiverr only a couple of times. They have some wonderful artists on there that are selling themselves short. If you can draw a cover in five minutes and it come out looking like it took months and professionals would want to purchase it, by all means, go ahead. It takes me longer, and I have to pay for subscriptions and photos, and quite frankly, I think my work exceeds the five dollar range. I’m not being snotty, and it took me years to believe in myself that much. But. Now, I do.

Do you have a genre you prefer? I love horror. I don’t do a lot of it, but you can be much more abstract and shocking in it and get away with it.

Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on? I still fall back to the Tallas cover I designed. It just has a striking front, and lots of details that you don’t notice at first. Image, I would have to say the tree house I made for Julie Harper’s Printing Practice Handwriting Workbook for Boys.

Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? When someone asks me to create a cover and I receive their blurb, I get a sense of color for the book. Weird, I know. But 9 out of 10 covers I create have that first color that I ‘saw’.

Also, I have to sleep with the closet door closed, always… hey, I have a very good imagination.

 

Blog/website links etc.

 

www.theillustratedauthor.net

www.facebook.com/theillustratedauthor

www.twitter.com/melissastevens7

Boys Print Three Quarter Page Tallas Full Cover Final

 

Cover Designer Interview Number Four – Tamian Wood

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:

9781626202603-Cover7DaysWAdam.indd

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”

TheInheritanceE-book

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.

9781938230448-Perfect.indd

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.

5.5x8.5-CS-TemplateINDCS4.indd

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.

Non-Fiction

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

Tiara

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:
Tamian Wood
Graphic Designer
Beyond Design International
designer.tamian@gmail.com
www.BeyondDesignInternational.com
Video Trailer: http://bit.ly/1k4NppT
Twitter: https://twitter.com/beyonddesignint
Facebook: facebook.com/BeyondDesignInternational
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/designertamian/graphic-design-by-tamian/

Your book IS being judged by its cover. It’s a statement, not a question. How can I help?

 

Cover Designer Interview Number Three – Lori Follett

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

www.wickedbookcovers.com

www.facebook.com/wickedbookcovers

Cover Designer Interview Number Two – Gary Val Tenuta

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

My name is Gary Val Tenuta. The middle name, Val, is short for Valentine. I was named after my Uncle who shortened his name from Valentine to Val when he entered high school to avoid being teased by his classmates. Probably a good move. The last name, Tenuta, is Italian. Translated into English, it has a general meaning of “land or property ownership”. You’ll often see it on Italian wine labels, referring to the vineyard where the grapes were grown. For example, Tenuta Valdipiatta, or Tenuta Di Castiglioni. My grandfather came to the U.S. from the little Province of Cosenza in the South of Italy. Me? I’m located a considerable distance from Italy in a cozy condo near Seattle where I’m held as a captive slave to a big long-haired black cat named Bear.

1) You are a cover designer, what made you decide to get into this line of work? When I finished writing my first novel (The Ezekiel Code) back in 2007 I decided to put my 30+ years of experience as a graphic artist to work and design my own cover. I enjoyed the process so much I thought, hey, I should be doing this for other authors. Thanks to the internet, I was able to put that idea into practice and I’ve been at it ever since.

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.) Oh, man. There have been so many, it’s hard to narrow it down. One that comes to mind is Hank Quence, the author of several works of humorous fantasy with such titles as “Tales From Gundarland”, “Zaftan Entrepreneurs”, “Zaftan Miscreants”, Moxie’s Problem” and a few others, all for which I’ve had the pleasure of creating the covers. I’m grinning as I think about this because of how the process always starts out with Hank. He’ll send me a little sketch of what he has in mind. The “sketch” (and I use the term loosely!) typically contains something resembling a stick figure and some random squiggles. Fortunately, he also tells me what those squiggles are supposed to be. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a clue. LOL I know if he happens to read this interview he’ll just chuckle and nod his head in agreement. The cool thing is that when I send him my interpretation of his squiggles as finished art, he almost always replies with comments like “You nailed it… again!”

I seem to get that response quite often from authors who come to me for their covers. Here’s a sampling:

  • “Thanks for a BRILLIANT job! I love your choice of printing machine illustration, the money in the jeans device, the typography, the overall colour scheme, and the total design concept. In a nutshell, it’s utterly superb. You really are a graphics genius!” – Joey Moncrief (Author of The Money Press)
  • 

 “This is just outstanding. The whole layout is beautiful. My wife is just gushing over it. If I never sell a copy of the book, I’ll buy the book myself so I can have the cover art to enjoy.” – David Echeandia (Author of The Avatar of Calderia) •
  • 

 “Excellent Gary, you’ve rocked my world again. I love it. You are a genius!!” – Jason Blacker (Author of The Lady Marmalade Mystery Series, Dust On His Soul, Money Ain’t Nothin’, Black Dog Bleeding, First Feature, Head Rush, Livid Blue •
  • 

 “Hi Gary, thanks for the design. Really pleased with both. You have done a brilliant job.” – Dave Williams (Author of Tubes) •
  • 

 “Invasion From Fred is up on the Amazon site. Everybody’s raving about the cover. So now I’m turning my attention back to Dog & Pony. I am putting this whole thing in your expert hands.” – Richard Herr (author of Invasion From Fred)
  • 

 “OMG, you are just so much AWESOMENESS!!! Thanks for all of these and especially for the 3D image with the jaguar, I love it!!!!!!!! I’m going to be happily and very proudly sharing it all over the interwebs this week!” – Rai Aren (Award-winning author of Secret Of The Sands, Destiny Of The Sands, Lost City Of Gold) •
  • 

 “Great job! Thanks for making the suggested modifications.” – Richard Wesson (Author of Miss October Was A Friend Of Mine) •
  • 

 “Gary, you’ve done it! The cover is now just as I wanted it to be. Excellent! I wanted the cover to be as good as the one you did for Pilgrim’s Banner, and you succeeded.” – Tony Walker (Author of Pilgrim’s Banner and Pilgrim’s Trator) •
  • 

 “Wow. You hit it out of the ballpark on the first swing… again!” – Hank Quense (Author of Tales From Gundarland, Falstaff’s Big Advenure, Zaftan Entreprenuers, Zaftan Miscreants, Fool’s Gold, Tunnel Vision, Wotan’s Dilemma, Marketing Plans For Self-Published Authors) •
  • 

 “Thanks Gary. Its awesome!” – M. R. Mathias (Author of Crimzon & Clover, The Wardstone Trilogy, The Dragoneers Saga, and many other titles) •
  • 

 “You’re the best and made the book jump off the shelf!!” – Scott Adlai Stevenson (Author of Scoundrels In Paradise) •
  • 

 “The cover looks great and my cousin (the author) loved it!” – Anthony Policastro, Publisher and CEO, Outer Banks Publishing Group •
  • 

 “I love your covers, especially mine, Night Corridor. also Skye Dancer, Cold Case, Money Ain’t Nothin’… But all your covers suit the particular book or story perfectly. You do excellent work, Gary.” – Joan Hall Hovey (Award-winning author of Night Corridor, Chill Waters, Nowhere To Hide, Listen To The Shadows, The Abduction Of Mary Rose •
  • “Holy moly – that is absolutely SPECTACULAR!!!! You always Blow. My. Mind. I love, love, love it!!!!!!!!!! (to infinity & beyond!!!!!) The layout, the dramatic effect, the overall stunning impression for an ancient Egyptian mystery is just perfection!!” – Rai Aren (Award-winning author of Secret Of The Sands, Destiny Of The Sands, Lost City Of Gold) •

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. The process always seems to be a little different with each project. But, in a nutshell, it usually goes something like this:

The author sends me a brief synopsis of the story and tells me what (if anything) he/she has in mind for the cover and whether or not they’re totally married to that idea. If they don’t have any specific idea in mind, I’ll usually work up a couple of mockups for them to consider. More often than not, one of the two mockups is accepted, although sometimes the author will request some minor changes. At that point I go to work on what will emerge as the final art.

I work almost exclusively in Photoshop. Sometimes, if an original illustration is needed, I’ll do the line art by hand. Then I’ll scan it and import it into Photoshop for coloring, shading, and any other special effects. The one thing I don’t attempt to illustrate is human characters. It’s not that I’m bad at it. In fact I’m pretty good at it. But I have this thing about character illustrations on book covers. My feeling is that “pretty good” isn’t good enough. I just cringe when I see “pretty good” character illustrations on book covers. Maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to character illustrations on a book cover, if it isn’t an extremely well rendered work of “photo realism”, it just strikes me as looking as if someone did their best but didn’t quite get there. It’s all about perception. It’s the old “don’t judge a book by the cover” but most of us do, anyway. People tend to perceive the overall quality of the cover as an indication of the overall quality of the writing. The cover is usually a potential reader’s initial introduction to the book. The judgement starts there. It’s that all-important “First Impression”. First impressions can have a significant impact on the potential reader’s decision to pick the book up (or click on the link) or pass it by and go on to whatever is next. Lately, if an author insists on having story characters illustrated, I’ve been referring them to Howard David Johnson (http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/book-covers.htm). He’s very good and his pricing starts at $500.

I usually source my images from Dreamstime.com or iStock.com. Of course stock images are rarely (if ever) adequate for any given cover project without being changed in some way or another. Often the backgrounds need to be eliminated and replace with something more appropriate to the story in the book. The skill is in how well the image manipulation is rendered. It can’t appear as if the image was simply a cut-and-paste job. The end result is that the entire composition is fresh and original. Accomplishing that feat can be a heck of a challenge sometimes because I’m such a perfectionist in that regard. I’ll often spend hours on little details that probably no one will ever notice. But it’s worth the time and effort I’ve put into it because not only do I want the author to be pleased but I also want it to be something I’d be pleased with if it was the cover of my own book.

The length of clock-time it takes to complete a cover from the initial mockup to the final art varies. It might be as little as four to six hours or as much as 8 to 12 hours. I think the average is around 10 hours. That might be stretched across several days. If everything is going smoothly (which usually means few to no major changes requested by the author) then it’s likely that the final art will be delivered to the author well within five to seven days.

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? That’s an interesting question. I don’t have time to read the books. It isn’t necessary anyway. I always ask the author for a detailed synopsis. That’s plenty for me to get the gist of the story and to give me what I tend to think of as the overall “feel” and “flavor” at the heart of the story. A variety of adjectives will come to mind when reading the synopsis, such as dark, light, angry, grungy, humorous, mysterious, action–packed, horrific, other–worldly, cozy, creepy, sexy, and so on. Also, to a large degree, the particular genre of the book will have some influence on the overall look and feel of the cover art.

5) What are your thoughts on ‘generic’ covers – such as a sword or throne and skulls for fantasy, or interchangeable torsos for romance? That’s an interesting question, also. In some respects it’s important to stick with what readers have become accustomed to seeing in terms of cover art for books of a specific genre. The swords, thrones and skulls motif have been used in fantasy cover art for so long that it’s become what readers expect to see. It’s a matter of identification with the familiar. When a fantasy fan sees the swords, thrones and skulls on a book cover, they know immediately what kind of book it is. I recently designed such a cover for David Echeandia’s novel, “The Avatar of Calderia” http://amzn.com/B00H2UYXCC. In that respect, those images are the bait that may well compel a potential buyer (especially a fan of the genre) to pick the book up and give it a closer look. The same can be said about the “interchangeable torsos” for romance novels. After a while, those romance covers all begin to look alike. But fans of romance novels seem to like those covers. That style of cover design has proven itself to be successful at capturing the attention of romance fans. So I guess it’s an example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

6) When you buy a book do you look at the cover first? What else attracts you? What turns you off? Being a cover designer, I’m always checking out book covers even when I’m not particularly interested in buying a book. But, yes, I have to say it’s the cover of a book that first attracts my attention. Then the title. But, honestly, I’d have to say the time between noticing the cover and looking at the title can’t be much more than a split second. It’s almost a simultaneous experience, especially if the title is well integrated into the overall cover design.

What turns me off? As I mentioned earlier, I cringe at covers with character illustrations that aren’t freakin’ great pieces of art. But, like I said, maybe that’s just me.

7) What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this line of work or who might want to design a cover? Don’t do it! I don’t need the competition! But if you insist on getting into the business, I’d suggest going to a bookstore and studying the covers on all the various genres of books. Pay attention to details such as font styles and sizes for both the title and the author’s name. Notice how the titles are integrated into the overall design. Learn the terms associated with cover design. Do you know what “bleed” means? Do you know the difference between RGB and CMYK? Realize that cover art specifications are not always exactly the same from one publisher/printer to the next. Make sure you know the final trim size of the book before you start composing the cover art. There’s really a lot to learn. A Google search for tips on book cover design will bring up lots of valuable information.

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?Honestly, I haven’t paid much attention to them. I’m too busy designing book covers.

9) Do you have a genre you prefer? I tend to like anything in the realm of dark and mysterious. I’m a fan of paranormal, occult, supernatural. But I also like a good crime thriller.

10) Please tell us about your favourite image and the favourite cover you have worked on? Seems like whatever my most recent cover is, that’s my favourite until the next one comes along. Really, I can’t pick just one. I put so much time and creative effort into each one, and each one has it’s own unique qualities. They’re all my favourites.

11) Can you give us a silly fact about yourself? How about this. I was so determined to avoid turning my art talent into a “job” and thereby risk taking the enjoyment out of it that I spent six years in college, earned a degree in social-psychology with the goal of teaching that subject on the college level and, due to a series of unforeseen turns and twists, I ended up as a professional graphic artist anyway. And guess what? I’m enjoying the heck out of it!

Blog/website links etc.

My book cover site: http://www.BookCoversAndVideos.webs.com

My writing site: http://www.GaryValTenuta.blogspot.com

Email: GVTgrafix@aol.com

#CoverArtist #Art