Monday, March 9, 2015

Building a Book: Cover Issues

Well, after its initial rejection, I'm planning to proceed with self-publishing Hannah. I expect to finish up on the most recent revision this week, and then it's scheduled to go off to a professional editor at the end of May. I'm hoping to have everything in place for a July release if all goes well.

Self-publishing means you have a lot more on your plate than just writing the story though. You have to set-up and provide for editing, as well as marketing and, of course, cover art.

Well, that won't do.

Cover art can be as much of a beast to get through as the manuscript can. Title, Author, Font, Art, all of them have to come together to make something which is not only pleasing to the eye, but which gives away your genre and a basic idea of what the story is about.

Now that I'm getting closer to release, I'm going to let you all in on the jist of what Hannah is about. The basic idea, and the one I've been working from since the beginning of writing this book, is Cujo + The Exorcist. The story of a family who has to deal with creepy things in their house,  a dog gone nuts, and a demonic entity. Kinda messy. 

You would think that would make for a pretty simple cover. Something with the specific breed of dog on it, perhaps. Even that can be expressed in a dozen different ways though.

A good example is Cujo, by Stephen King. The books has been printed with a dozen different covers, all made with different looks and in different styles. Almost all of them tell you there is going to be a vicious dog in the book, and you can tell almost from the start which dog that's going to be.

So, just because the premise would seem to be pretty straightforward, doesn't mean the cover art is going to be.

The cover art is also something you'll have to come up with yourself if you're self-publishing. You can't just hire a cover artist, pass them your manuscript, and tell them to throw something together based on that. You have to have an idea or two when you contact them, something they can work with. If it doesn't work out visually, most of them will usually give you a couple tries. But make sure your cover looks professional. Even if you end up blowing the money on the first cover designer, make sure your cover looks professional.

God knows you don't want to end up with something like this.

~ Shaun

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