Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cover Art Woes


There’s no doubt about it: nailing the cover is as important as writing the book!  I’d love for that not to be the case, but it is.  

I’ve been working for the last few months on the final touches of my soon-to-be-released e-book The Mummies of Blogspace9.  It’s about undead conquistadors who... well, that’s a story for another day.  But geez, the cover is killing me.  

I’ve browsed a number of prefab cover art sites.  I’ve seen some great covers and some lousy covers.  But oddly enough, nothing that really captured the essence of my story.  I wanted something that screamed “read this chilling tale of conquistador mummies who blog about stolen Inca gold.”  Maybe that’s too much to ask for.

In the end, I decided to go it alone.  I needed some cool graphics and some chilling text.   And I also realized I had to narrow down some of the thematics.  You can’t fit everything into a tiny image that someone is going to see on Amazon.  So minimally, I decided I wanted an image of a mummy, something scary, and if possible, some computer elements.  Not too much to ask for, right?

So I hunted through istockphoto.com, then I fired up InDesign, and here’s what came down the chute:



Cover #1 meets my first criterion.  It does indeed have a mummy on it.  But it’s not scary.  And it’s a really bad cover.  OK, now for my second try:




Cover #2 meets the second and third criteria.  It’s very scary, and has computer stuff, but that’s technically a zombie, not a mummy.  And it is also a really bad cover.  Third try:



I know, right!  Cover #3 is adorable - a kitten on an internet logo!  Yeah, that has to go.  Fourth try:


I think this is it!  Cover #4 is hauntingly scary, has a mummy, and has some computer stuff.  Plus the text is nice.  I think this is the one I’m going with.

I’ll let you know when the book is ready, but for now, I’m happy with the cover.

Also, how’s this for a teaser:  Horror has a new URL.

21 comments:

Julie Luek said...

A lot to think about when coming up with a cover. That last one is amazing!

Patricia Gligor said...

William,
No doubt about it. Definitely #4!
By the way, I absolutely loved the cover for "American Caliphate." You certainly "nailed" that one!

C.L. Swinney said...

Spooky. #4 is certainly the best of the four. Nicely done.

Cora said...

I like the way you have used the two images: a dead human and a live computer program. The juxtaposition is intriguing. I don't know what your story is about, but the cover definitely makes me want to read it.

William Doonan said...

I'm thrilled that you all like the cover. I did, yes, try to juxtaposed the living and the dead, and also to get the computer imagery in there.

I;m not sure if it's American Caliphate quality, but I'm pretty pleased with it.

John Brantingham said...

That's a fantastic cover man! It really captures a feeling and draws us in. Well done!

William Doonan said...

Thanks, John. I hope it will pull in some readers. I'm about two weeks out from releasing it.

john M. Daniel said...

You're a talented marketer, Bill. Glad you didn't go with the kitten.

Velda Brotherton said...

Great cover, but you know that. I'm glad you wrote about mummies instead of zombies. I've had it with zombies. They're not scary, just disgusting. But mummies. The first horror movie I remember seeing when I was very young was The Mummy. The old original one. I think I need to read your book.

William Doonan said...

Thanks, John. I'm keeping an eye on the kitten for future books.

Velda, I have to admit that I'm a big zombie fan. But I sure did love those old mummy films.

James Callan said...

You could always take up cover design as a second career - or maybe a first career.

I used your Grave Passage as an example in two workshops this past weekend. Hope you don't mind. Of course, I mentioned the author first. Doesn't hurt to spread the word.

William Doonan said...

James,

I'm honored! Thank you, thank you. Anything I can ever add to a workshop, please don't hesitate to ask.

Theresa Varela said...

I thought this was great! Funny and creative. Reminder to self: keep a sense of humor especially when picking out book covers.

William Doonan said...

So true, Theresa. I had a lot of fun doing it. Also, nearly went crazy, but mostly it was fun.

Sally Carpenter said...

I liked the kitten but I'll look at anything with a cat on it. Maybe your next book could be "Killer Kats Trapped in a Blog."

Charles Gramlich said...

Yep, I like cover 4. Quite nice. I've been having these kinds of issues with covers for ebooks for a while now.

William Doonan said...

It's long been a cultural myth; we even tell it to our children: "it's what's on the inside that counts." And it may well be, but nobody is going to take the time to get to know the inside unless the outside is tidy and inviting.

And Sally, I think your book idea has great merit. There is certainly an audience. Plus, I kind of love cats a whole bunch.

Eugenia O'Neal said...

Well done, William! The last option is awesome and really encapsulates the main points.

Liane Spicer said...

But the kitty is so cute! Seriously, love the cover! I read on a board recently that the cover and the title head the list of 'buy' factors. Sad but apparently true. If the title and cover don't grab 'em, they won't read your blurb or sample.

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

Number 4 speaks volumes!

Augie said...

William, loved the covers, but #4 got me. Congrats, augie