By Maggie James
I'm delighted to reveal that the cover for my forthcoming novel, Burning Obsession, has now been completed! I'm now past the halfway mark with writing the book; I aim to get the first draft completed by Christmas. Here's a summary of the plot:
As a serial arsonist targets Bristol, the body of Ellie Golden is discovered in a burning house. The teenager's distraught relatives descend into accusations; before long a family member is arrested on suspicion of her murder, shattering relationships that are already worn thin. Only Lori, Ellie's sister, believes the police have the wrong man. Meanwhile, whilst grieving for her sister, she struggles to support her mother Louise, for whom Ellie Golden was to have been a living kidney donor. Meanwhile, more fires blaze across the city. Who is burning Bristol, and why are the fires moving ever closer to the Goldens?
The cover for Burning Obsession was designed by Digital Donna, who has done the majority of my fiction covers. I've worked with her now for nearly three years; I lack graphic design skills, so I went looking for someone who could help. Enter Donna, who has proved a delight to work with. I decided to ask her a few questions about cover design.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to design book covers.
I self-published a novel in 2009 called, A Grizzly End, and when I began looking into places to market it, I found Smashwords.com. They have a ‘style guide’ that helps you get your manuscript formatted, along with contact information for people who do formatting and cover design. Since I had been using Photoshop and other artistic software for many years at that point, I thought, “I can do that!” So I asked the people at Smashwords to add my name to their list of cover artists and that’s how I got my start. I’m better at designing covers than writing, so I’m sticking with it!
What makes a good book cover?
In my opinion, a good book cover is one that gets the basic idea of the book across at a glance. The covers appear in a thumbnail size on the publishers’ websites, so the title has to be easy to read at that size. If the author name is also easy to read, so much the better!
So what makes a bad book cover?
A bad book cover is one that has a lot of confusing images crammed onto it, making it impossible to read the title, even at full size!
Are authors ever unrealistic with their expectations for their covers?
Absolutely! Some authors insist that I find photos of people wearing period costumes and displaying certain emotions on their faces. Those kinds of images are extremely difficult to find and sometimes I have to use the bodies of some people and the heads of others! I have also done some covers where the author micro-manages every pixel. I usually don’t like the end result, but they do…who am I to argue? But, most authors work with me and between the two of us, we find the best design.
Do you judge a book by its cover?
Yes, it’s what makes me take a closer look at the story inside. If I don’t like the cover, I won’t bother. I think most people do the same.
What other services can you offer authors?
I offer several graphics of their books to help them market and display them. See them here:
www.digitaldonna.com/products.htm. I have also done postcards, business cards, bookmarks and Facebook header images.
Thank you, Donna, for talking with me!
Thank you for the interview!
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