Today please welcome author Suzanna Linton as she shares her cover design story. I was blessed that Suzanna was open to my suggestions and thrilled to share her experience as a new indie author.
“Brad!” I leaned forward, looking down the hall from the study/all-purpose room. “You said you’d show me how to Photoshop tonight!”
Until two years ago, Photoshop was this mysterious program whose name managed to be both noun and verb. When I asked my husband to initiate me into its secrets, it was just for fun. I was roleplaying a lot on tumblr and wanted to be able to make graphics that went along with storylines and romances. After a while, I felt pretty confident with it.
When, in a ‘what the hell’ moment, I decided to dive headfirst into self-publishing, I didn’t even try to look for a cover artist. I could Photoshop and my ego was just large enough to think I was good enough to make a book cover.
After looking at a few fantasy covers, I made the cover for Clara. It consisted of a photo I had taken while on vacation in the Smoky Mountains and a picture of my own eyes. My husband said it looked interesting and sales weren’t that bad, so I didn’t give it another thought.
Then I made the cover for Willows of Fate. I agonized over it. I wanted something to point to a mysterious world outside our own, with a touch of horror to it. The end product was an extreme close-up of a woman’s eye as she stared at…something. I dilated the pupil to make it appear that she was afraid and I fiddled with the source light direction until it looked as if she was facing a bright light source.
I was satisfied with it until I emailed Kate Tilton about her book blogger’s reach out. She very nicely told me that I should first consider getting a new cover for the book.
Confused, I took a long look at the cover I had made. It slowly dawned on me that it looked just like the cover for Stephanie Meyer’s The Host. Not only that, but it told the reader nothing about what they might find in the book. My ego vanished with resounding POP and I went on a quest for a cover artist.
My search had two criteria. One, the price wouldn’t send me to the poor house. Two, the artwork had to be better than what I could do on Photoshop. In less than an hour, I found Fiona Jayde (fionajaydemedia.com).
Not only were her prices not that bad, but the covers looked like actual art I would see while browsing Barnes and Noble. I emailed Fiona and we hit it off right away.
The great thing about Fiona is that working with her isn’t like ordering a hamburger. She asks questions about the work and if the author has any ideas. When discussing the cover for Willows of Fate, we traded more than one email about my main character and her struggles. And the best part was Fiona’s enthusiasm! She was excited to be working on the project and that excitement mirrored my own.
When I received the concept art on the cover, I was stunned. It was beautiful and mysterious. Yes, a couple of things needed tweaking but that’s normal. Fiona doesn’t mind doing a set number of revisions before coming out with the final product.
After the cover came out and Kate helped me with the book blogger’s reach out, the compliment I received the most was about the cover. One reviewer went as far to say that, if nothing else, you should buy the book just for the cover art. I told Fiona and she was over the moon with that compliment.
Since then, Fiona has made my new logo and the series art for The Bookwyrm Series, which is exclusively available on Channillo.com. Currently, she’s working on a new cover for my first novel, Clara, the sequel of which comes out later this year.
An author may consider getting a cover makeover if they feel as if the cover isn’t professional enough looking or if more than one person makes a remark about the cover not looking all that awesome. Also, it could help sales because people really do judge a book by its cover. Ever since I got the new cover for Willows of Fate, more than one person said they bought the book because of the cover.
I’m very thankful that Kate encouraged me to go looking for a pro and I’m more than thankful that I found someone as great as Fiona.
And here is a look at the cover transformation….
About the Author:
Suzanna Linton grew up in the extremely rural areas around Holly Hill, South Carolina. Her mother taught her to read at a young age, introducing a lifelong love of books and made her want to write stories of her own. She attended the SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities’ summer program in 2002 and graduated from Francis Marion University with a Bachelor’s in Professional Writing. Suzanna lives in Florence, SC with her husband, their two dogs, cat, and Betta fish. Willows of Fate is her second novel. Connect with Suzanna on her website.