We all know that the maxim, ‘ you can’t judge a book by it’s cover,’ is nonsense when it comes to the actual reality of this metaphor. I’m not sure about exact numbers but somewhere in the region of 80% of the buying decision is made from the front cover. Most of which is made in the first few seconds.
The cover is hugely important and so it’s important to get it right. When you accompany this with Author Branding as well, having a good relationship with your Cover Designer is compulsory. I’m fortunate in this regard because my Cover Designer happens to be my best friend, Simon Raine, who I’ve known since I was 5. In this post I’m going to show you the progression that my latest cover has made and explain how the iterative process worked.
Like I say, I’m lucky to know someone who can do this for me but I think some kind of relationship between the author and even a freelance designer is important. It’s a strange dichotomy because it’s like trusting someone else to put a face on your baby. You have to trust this person, respect their creative opinion but ultimately you, as the author, have to be happy with it.
I imagine that any cover will require some level of two-way interaction in order to bring it home. It’s also one of the benefits of being self-published, we actually have a say in this component. So, let me explain how Simon came up with the final design at the top of this post which, by the way, I’m ecstatic about.
Firstly, I sent him a cover brief which details a number of different aspects of the book. You can see it below:
Next comes Simon’s opening gambit. We decided together this time that it would be quicker if he concentrated on sketches at first so that I could give him direction without wasting too much time. Here’s an example:
I was keen to replicate the themes from my first novel, The Great Corporate Escape, and so the silhouette of a man was in keeping. I liked this sketch a lot at the time and so it was then just about putting the right colours to it.
It moved to this because we were focussing on it being a night scene but this did not fit with the summery feel I wanted it to have, so we went back to the drawing board.
I really wanted it to have a sixties feel because of the story and so this led to the next version which suddenly became a lot closer.
However, at this stage I still wasn’t happy with the colours so we then had a whole host of different versions, which each got nearer than the last.
This pretty much nailed the colours and then it was all about getting the font right. Simon had a great idea to put the green and white lines in the background and this really brings the image out.
Then finally we looked at some 60’s posters and found this font and, at last, I was happy. Simon breathed a huge sigh of relief and went to lay down.
This is how my baby was given a face. So, as you can see, there are a number of iterations before you finally reach the end point. The strength of the relationship with your designer is critical in order to pass on your vision.
Just to finish, here’s a comparison between the two covers. They’re similar enough without looking anything like each other. Perfect.
Until next time…