Good day my dearest lovelies. I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite some time now. Why have I hesitated? Mostly I was just waiting to reach the point where my ego wouldn’t be bruised by showing my very early efforts at creating covers for my own books. Of course I recently realized just how silly that was and thought What the hell? My fans, friends, clients, and Shero-wanna-bees would certainly enjoy seeing how my process and my skills have grown over the years. And besides, it’s not where you’ve been, it’s where you’re going. Right? Right!
I can say this: When I look back at my earlier attempts I laugh…but with a warm heart. I knew what I was going for, I knew what I wanted… I just didn’t have the skills to pull off what was necessary. Well, now I do and here, for the first time ever, I want to show you how one cover in particular evolved from beginning to end.
That cover? Gothica. Gothica is one of my favorite books I’ve written to date. It has probably my favorite bad guy I’ve ever penned and, like the entirety of the Fringe Killer series, has a good message for those in need. But we’re not talking about the contents within, we want to see the contents WITHOUT!
Are you ready? Okay… Give me a “G”!
Oh wait, sorry… wrong outfit. Let me take that cheerleader’s skirt off and don my designer skirt. Better.
The first iteration of the Gothica cover (see Figure A) was an attempt to focus on the horrific elements of the story, centered around the basement of the Gothica club. What I wanted was to bring to life Freeney — the prisoner from the past haunting the present.
Good idea, horribly executed (pun intended of course).
That cover wouldn’t work, wouldn’t sell a single book. So I scrapped the idea and decided to go more simple and appeal to the Goth crowed with the cover shown in Figure B. Here we have a nice dark background with a spiked collar only a goth and a pitbull could love. This was also the first cover I ever did that used the line “From the author of…” which I am always so cheesily proud to display.
It didn’t work.
Why? What does that cover say? What does it elicit? Not much. This cover, however, served as the published cover for over a year. I eventually realized something had to give, as the book simply wasn’t selling. So, back to the drawing board.
This time around, I decided to go for a more artsy feel, while still appealing to the Goth crowd… hence the cover shown in Figure C.
This cover I actually liked. It had something I had yet to offer…plus the title was the first time I effectively used the text “A fringe killer novel”. What I loved about this cover was the emotional pull it offered to the cross section of society the story focused on — Goths. There was the element of time and a seeming despair with the little goth girl perched prettily above the clock.
It didn’t work.
The cover was just too artsy for the genre. As much as I liked the way it made me feel, it didn’t truly connect to the book and, more importantly, to the genre.
Now, we come to the fourth and final cover for my novel, Gothica. With the skills finally intact, I was able to bring back elements from the original cover (the prisoner and the brick of the basement) , but keep it more in line with both the genre and what other professional cover artists were bringing to the table.
Figure D shows the final cover. This cover is, plain and simple, money. When I finished this take on the Gothica cover, I sat back and realized it was what I wanted from the very beginning.
It was better than cats!
What do you think? Crazy how things progress and how interesting it is to take a walk down memory lane with our work.
I’m very proud of where I’ve come from and where I am now. And soon, hopefully very soon, I will open the floodgates for a serious cover design business, so I can create absolute fabulousness for your precious works. I hope seeing the progression of my Gothica cover (one that spanned a mere 2 years) hasn’t scared you off. 😉
Be beautiful people!