Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Continuing the Process: Cover

This week, for those just coming to the site, marks my first anniversary as a writer. In July 2012, my novel Azure Maris was accepted for publication. This week, I'll return to some of the steps that I went through on my way to publication.

After accepting the manuscript, the next step involved the cover and editing process. I'll focus today on the cover then tomorrow on the editing. I've had several people ask me who did the cover art, and I have to direct them to the wonderful team at Ambassador International that took care of the work. The only part that I had in the design involved the layout. They sent me three layout concepts from which I chose the one that best suited Azure Maris then they took it from there. I gave a few pointers such as Azure's blue hair and her tail's texture, but the design was theirs. I think they did very well.

The stage for the cover coincided with the editing process, but took less time since I had little to do other than approve the galleys - the photos/images for the book cover. I'd like to think that we don't judge books by their covers, but I know it isn't true. I'm thankful that I had someone else designing the cover - I've done it, and I don't do it well.

The other portions for my involvement included the back copy and author's biography. The biography for Azure Lights is considerably shorter, and we're currently working on the editing stage. Creating a synopsis of Azure Maris proved to be interesting since I needed to catch the reader's attention as well as effectively describe the storyline. For many of my fantasy novels, I have back story that needs to be told to set-up the story, but cannot be put into the back cover. I have found that balancing the story with the hook are some of my hardest parts.

As part of the process for developing the cover and artwork, I was required to write out some themes with the book: three main themes and five secondary themes. While these are used for other elements as well, it directs the art team to the mood of the book. As you can see with Azure Maris, the cover is dark, and uncertainty fills the character. This overall feeling of apprehension suits the book since Azure is out of her world, and in a location that is uncomfortable for her.

The cover of a book tells the reader a great deal about the book's subject and mood. A dark, minimal cover conveys mystery and uncertainty while a bright, colorful cover implies a light novel. We judge books by their covers because the covers hint at the topic of the book. If you're writing, remember that the cover is a major portion of the package; an effective cover intrigues the reader into picking up the book.

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