Never judge a book by its cover ... but really, we all do. That’s not to say we’re bad people, simply that striking images get our attention. That’s okay!
As an author, it can be hard to find not the perfect cover, but the perfect cover artist. I, myself, have been so very fortunate to have stumbled upon some artists I rely on for premades (milktee designs, the write wrapping, book cover design by selfpub designs) , and others who I trust more than I can say with customs. I jokingly tell people I have three cover artists I go to whenever they will let me bug them - Dreams2Media, Fantasia Book Cover Designs, and The Illustrated Author. All three produce not only fantastic images that bring my idea to life, but also seamless processes that make you feel trusted and listened too - things I find integral when someone is bringing tour work to life.
If you've followed me since 2016, you know I completed a steampunk adventure novel, The Race. I created a cover based on the assets available at the time, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t want to give the project to anyone because I didn’t know I didn’t love it. Let’s take a peek, shall we?
It’s also not surprising that I consider those three ladies my friends. Melissa Stevens, from The Illustrated Author, and I talk regularly. I couldn’t tell you what we were talking about one day a few months ago, but it lead me to sharing that I had the above cover, but knew it didn’t fit the market any longer. Despite me not realizing she did steampunk, Melissa told me she could make a snazzy, current, cover. I was ready, but before I show you the reveal, I want to go behind the scenes so that fellow authors know what to look for when finding an artist, and so readers can see a peek into the world of creating just the right image.
Though brief, I hope this gives everyone a little behind the scenes fun!
It Starts with Questions
I cannot tell you how much I love answering questions. It forces me to delve into things I hadn’t thought of ... and if you’re me might have forgotten (sorry, Melissa, I know I threw the hair in last minute lol).
Bring on the Mockups!
One of my favorite parts of working with Melissa is the mock-up. I know she’s working. She knows she’s working, but I have NO idea what’s going on! Then boom! I’ll get an inbox with a pretty. She’s checking direction. She’s checking big picture. And most times, she’s putting a better twist on a cover than my stale, boring background idea. You haven’t seen them, but I can think of 4 covers she’s done this for 😂.
From there, sometimes I see a variety of images, sometimes I see nothing until the end when she’s asking if I see anything that needs changes. This time, there were a bit more, but I think it’s because she could tell how freaking nerdy I was waiting to see. I get this way with all steampunk covers.
So, let’s take a peek!
See those different versions? Let’s break them down!
1. The initial mock-up that made me squeal because they were inside a mother flipping airship!
2. A look at the full spread - likely shared bc I came undone at the ebook version.
3. Me going “oooo ummm he has pirate hair”
4. Melissa showing me the beauty of her hand-painted hair. Idk about you lovelies reading this, but goodness am I jealous of those full curls!!
5. The “last chance to look it over” image.
Nine times out of ten, I’ve got no revisions. That’s not artist dependent, that’s because I’ve learned to trust them and take a look at what I have. Of course, sometimes I’m a pain - as I bet all 3 ladies will agree too :D
so after randomly remembering my guy has “pirate hair”, and after Melissa went boss lady creating those FAB curls, I was all “umm can we do a more steampunk color than green?”
Not only did Melissa do this, she did it twice!
Two utterly stunning options. So much so, I drove myself to a local store known for steampunk novels, and browsed the shelves. I couldn’t decide. I almost jokingly asked Melissa if I could do both and just randomly change them out on amazon 😂😂
Needless to say, I picked one. One stood out as a fit without “disappearing” in with other titles in this genre. Are you ready to see which?
Ta Da!! The book cover process (in minor detail) all lead up to this glorious cover that is dripping with steampunk goodness.
I can’t thank Melissa enough for letting me know she did steampunk and that something much better could be done to capture the spirit of the novel! While I don’t know when it will release because I now have motivation to do self edits and find an editor, I couldn’t wait to share. Whether it’s my first release of 2021, or the end of 2020, I cant wait to head to the skies.
Stay up to date with any announcements and just general posts here!