The covers of the Demesne series start with a search of free pictures. We stop at the book section of our grocery store and our drug store to study the covers on display there. What catches our eyes. The striking difference in covers today verses covers 20 or more years ago is Author to Title text size. Looking at the covers you see one that has Josephine Joxler (hypothetical name) in large bold letters on what appears to be a generic cover with Windswept in small letters hidden at the bottom of the page. What is supposed to catch my eye? Is the large letters the Author or the title? We discover it is the Authors name and the Title is hiding in the graphics of the cover. Many years ago the Title would have been the draw as well as the cover art. The Demesne series covers are done with the old school mentality. We do not assume that someone is going to buy our books because our name is on the cover. You have to be well known for that to happen, and that is a fact.
We have researched the various services that would design our covers, but like so many we lack the funds to pay for such service. Study and work and practice develop the covers we currently have. Valley of Mystery’s cover has changed since it first came out.
The font and style of the writing on the cover is as important as the graphic you use.
The photoshop program we used for the first cover was an old program and didn’t grow with the next OS upgrade, it died. Buying a new one was not an option. How did we solve this problem? We fell back on one of the oldest programs we have, GraphicConverter for working the graphics to get the effect we want and Art Text 2 for text manipulations. The word Demesne and the authors names a saved separately, this keeps both uniform for all the covers. Size and color might vary at times with these two pieces depending on the cover art. The last part of the process is the blending. Often the covers have several pictures and graphic to bring into one. I call this blending. Like the stories held within the covers, it is said that the covers are getting better. These covers weren’t put together in an hour or even in a day. Though the newest one for Challenge seemed like it did. We already had the pieces stored from doing “New Beginnings” trailer. An idea popped into the head and a day of peace and quiet and focus, a cover emerged.
Of the three of our books currently on the market “New Beginnings” has received the most attention. While reading it in a doctors office someone leans over to see what is being read. The book left on a table was picked up by a man and he walked away with it. The next day in a clinic the same man when queried what he was reading said a book he picked up the previous day. He said the cover had caught his eye and thought he might be interested in it. This tells us the cover did its work. Perhaps not the optimum way to discover this, but it works.
We are truly the best ones to design our covers since we know what is under them. Like the story they take work, some smoothing and study. With all things it is a learning process not to be done too quickly. Faster is not always better.