When I first wrote this blog, little did I realize that it would be my most POPULAR Blog of all. I wanted to let other #authors out there realize they can design their own #bookcovers just like I did. So, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy this Blog, and it helps your own ideas. And then, a little “imp” got into me, and I wanted to do something totally different I have never seen another #author do.
Originally, this was never the plan, and it was a total accident. After putting the first wolf on the first cover of the first book, I decided that I wanted to have a bit of fun with my books by putting a “hidden wolf” on each cover of each book. Later, I noticed people were having fun trying to find it, so I decided to make it a game, and I called it “Find the Wolf”, eventually, offering a chance to win a signed copy of the last book in the #trilogy!
After you read the #blog, I #invite you to “Find the Wolf” on all 3 books. With my 10k Follower, I plan on offering the complete #trilogy – all signed – to all those who Find the Wolf on all 3 covers of all 3 books. (Tip…there is more than one on Book 3). I will announce this on my facebook page. Thank you for taking a chance on a new #author and reading my books! #lkkelley
Now, on to the subject matter at hand.
DESIGNING THE COVER
I chose to design my own from scratch using my own, personal photos, and those of a couple of great photogs! Because of the cost to have someone else design it, and because I despise the “pre-cover” designs which so many are using, I wanted it unique to my first book, The White Wolf Prophecy ~ Mating ~ of the White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy. I wrote all three books at the same time, and it helped me decide my first book cover.
|#1 ~ Mt Evans|
|#2 ~ Mt Evans|
2. CHOOSING THE FIRST CHARACTER PHOTOS: This was a lot harder. I had to dig into my photo database to find just the right look. I wanted something that would match, as best as possible, the characters in the book. After a long search, I decided upon these.
Well, there I had it! My very first concept cover! I was so pleased with myself, I got up and did a jig right in the middle of my Den! I presented it to my husband and my characters as well, and they loved it. Next, I did a “test” by letting several other people see the different covers to choose from. It was unanimous, and #3 was my basic design!
3. I had my background, I had my faces, and I finally had a working concept. Next, came something even more difficult – the PhotoShoots.
I knew this wasn’t going to be as easy as everything else. Trying to time everyone to be in the same place at the same time, and flying whoever in was going to be tricky. Luckily, I just happened to have these 2 people who were the PERFECT subjects. They were the same as in my original concept.
First, we held photoshoots in my #character’s places of residence thanks to two awesome photogs – Erica Boniface & from Razorbackfoto.com, the incredible Matt McClenahan! This first as done at their discretion, and time constraints. It was their job to just get them as soon as possible. We did have a deadline, but luckily, it was a month. So, I waited until they got it done. There were only a few I wanted of Cordone Valon, but I knew I’d need many more of Kaitlan since she is my heroine, of course. She and Erica did not only photoshoots inside in professional studio, but they decided to take it outside as well since Kaitlan was, after all, a werewolf! The photos that were taken were unbelievably wonderful! Here are few examples:
After considerable time, and frustration, the following are the photos that I decided upon.
First, Kaitlan O’Hara:
Now, I had to narrow it down even more. Oh, goody! I was so excited! NOT! Anyway, again, and after seeing these final choices, I chose Kaitlan #2 and Cordone #2.
Now, we were ready for the photoshoots for the website! We flew Kaitlan into Tulsa, OK, and proceeded, the next day, to drive to Little Rock, AR where Cordone & Matt lived. As fate would have it, it rained. And, when I say it rained, I mean it POURED silos of water down onto us all day long, so all our outdoor shots had to be cancelled. Kaitlan’s hair wouldn’t cooperate, because of the humidity, and for a while, we almost had to cancel. But, finally, after 4 hours of waiting, she was ready! And, like everyone else, I LOVE #behindthescenes so while the pro shot the photoshoots, I shot the #behindthescenes! So, here are a few of those pics as well. First, the BTS shots. Trust me…it’s NOT a glamorous thing!
FINALLY: We can begin!
Second, here are some of the finished shots:
Next came one of the hardest things to do. I had to remove the backgrounds of both. This, I believe, takes the longest time – especially when you have never done it before. I can’t even count how many times I removed the backgrounds. BTW…I’m an expert, now! LOL!
#Assembling the #Final
4. ASSEMBLING: After all of this, I had my faces, my photos, and all I needed to do was assemble the pieces together, and put a white wolf into it.
Sounds easy, huh? As I mentioned above…the first step was specific – I HAD to remove all backgrounds. Photoshop makes it easy, but I discovered that there are some things that even photoshop just can’t do! I was able to eliminate a great deal, but not enough. I could remove things, but some of those things I wanted to keep! So, I had to resort to another cool little tool in the Photoshop arsenal. And, with it, I was able to completely take out only what I wanted out, and keep what I wanted. What I didn’t realize? Was that this was going to take me FOREVER! For over a week, I worked at it, and had to start over far more than once. But, the more I did it, the better I got at it, until I can do this with my eyes closed, now! Anyway, I managed to get exactly what I wanted, apply effects and filters to the photos, and FINALLY, I was ready to apply it to my book cover! BTW…I’m an expert, now! LOL!
Well, I finally had my cover finished! I sent it to the publisher who told me he loved it…EXCEPT!
As writers, we ALL know that there is ALWAYS A “BUT” IN THE EQUATION! If I kept the photos where they were, they would be cut off on the spine of the book! So, back to the drawing board, and I had to REDESIGN my entire cover! So, that’s what I did. I basically kept the same design, but moved it over to the right side of the book. And, then…
…HOLD THE PRESSES…
“DANGER WILL ROBINSON!”
…HUGE OOPSIE AHEAD…
It was at this point that I thought I was almost done. I was satisfied with the finished product (see below). All I needed to do was to put the name of the book, and my name. I did this, and sent it to my publisher who approved it, and sent me the finished book cover. I looked a it, and kept thinking something didn’t look right. That was when I cussed – LOUDLY! I quickly typed off a fast note to my publisher telling him to NOT have the cover printed, and why! But, why was I so upset?
Well, I discovered, much to my dismay, after I had thought I finished, I realized I had split the background photo into two parts, and what should be the back half for the book of Echo Lake? Well, it was on the book’s front! I was really irritated. Now, I had to go back and redo it – AGAIN – to make it right. I’m going to admit to you that I was so angry at myself, I almost threw it out the window, and I was actually tempted to leave it as it was. But, my gut, and my penchant for excellence, was telling me that I was taking the easy way out, and so, I redid the front – again. But, I closed it all out, and didn’t bother to come back to it until a few days later, simply because I didn’t need to be angry!
After a few days, I came back, and did it all over, again. This time, though, I went slowly to make sure I had it right. And, voila! I had it! I almost danced all over my house in glee! Until my #publisher told me that I needed to move Kaitlan’s face over, and Cordone up a bit, because the characters would have their faces and hair partially removed. So, here I went again! I had to start again. But, this time, I got it right!
|Front of the book – Corrected|
|FINAL CONCEPT DESIGN|
So, FINALLY, I slapped the Title of my Book and my name on the book, and then realized I didn’t know what font I wanted to use. I experimented for a couple of days with different fonts, finally deciding upon one, and I was finally finished. Saving it to 600 dpi, and 8.50 x 11.50 inches, I was finally finished, and off it went to the publisher. But, it didn’t end there. There were a couple more redos, because of the placement of the Title that was too big, and my name wasn’t big enough. But, these didn’t take too long, and I was finally done, and the publisher was totally impressed by the final product!
And, here is the finished product:
What Did I Learn by
Designing My Book Cover?
- Pay attention to the placement of photo on the book
- Save #photos to 600 DPI @ 11.50 x 8.50
- Pay attention to the spine of the book cover
- Have really great #photoshoots, or at least excellent photos already taken, and save each one of them to 600 DPI
- When I had a good design, I saved the basics of that design so I could use it, and alter it if needed saving each of those as a separate file as well.
- I also learned to save photos with no backgrounds especially if I changed anything at all.
I know that not everyone is able to design their own cover. Perhaps they just don’t want to take the time hiring it done, the expense, or would just pick a stock book cover. But, I wanted my book cover to be different than everyone else’s out there. I believe I succeeded.
Just like my book, it’s unique. My characters are a completely new concept to the supernatural world, and are just as unique. I wanted the same for my cover. If you look just above Cordone’s right shoulder and into Kaitlan’s hair, you will see a “ghost” of a White Wolf.
This was actually a lot of fun – designing a book cover! Fun, exciting, and not only am I proud of the story within the cover, but my cover is totally unique, and I did it!
The next book is being edited as I write this, and I am also about to design my cover for the second book in The White Wolf Prophecy Trilogy!
Using what I learned above, I assembled the cover for book 2. I wanted my books to be uniform with slight changes so that anyone buying the books would be able to recognize them immediately. This time it took me 1/4 of the time it took me the first time around, I invite you to judge the results.
And, now, the cover of the last book of the Trilogy:
You can purchase my book right here, as well as at book stores around the area.
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NOTE: ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHTED BY THE AUTHOR, LK KELLEY, 2013
Any use must be obtained by the author. Thank you.
© LK Kelley