Diamond State Romance Authors

Making the Most of a Cover ~ Brinda Berry

I recently obtained the rights back on my young adult series. The Whispering Woods series consists of three books. The original covers provided by the small press were fine, but I knew I wanted very different covers for a new release under my own imprint. I’m fortunate to have access to a cover designer who listened to my vision and translated that to cover art.

Here is the The Waiting Booth’s full cover. Granted, print isn’t really my primary market with a self-published book. That doesn’t matter. I knew that some readers will order a print copy, and I will take print books to events. I’ve also faced the fact that some readers don’t consider it a book until it’s produced on paper.

I gave my cover designer the blurb and a description of the main character in the series. I let him know that I wanted to shelf this book in young adult science fiction romance. The original cover featured the body of a very curvy female in a white tank top with a pink tinted forest in the background. In my new cover, we get to see her face. I’m good with that. When I first saw the stock photo of the girl, my jaw dropped. She’s perfect for the part of main character Mia Taylor.

Now comes the tricky part. You want your cover to be unique. In using a stock photo, there is a risk in seeing another identical cover out there in the market. Cover designer Jake said, “Let’s put a portal in the cover.”  So, that’s what he did. He created a portal. I loved the idea since that’s a central element of this story. Not only did he put a portal in the design, he created a view into the other world. He gave the cover an ethereal feel with sparks of light and colors. That also made me happy. This series isn’t hard science fiction.

The front cover looks great in a thumbnail size. This is extremely important when readers are browsing the online stores for an ebook. My series is enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, so I’m able to select days when I offer my books for free. I selected one free day and was shocked at the results.  Over 1500 readers downloaded this book, and it went to the number one spot in a sub-category.  I believe the striking cover made a difference.

There are small details in this print cover that I’d like to point out. My name at the bottom matches the other books in another series I’ve written. Same font and size. If you line up all my physical books or see them displayed on an author page, they all somewhat match.

The Whispering Woods series name at the top has a nice little detail line that draws your eye to notice the number in the series. Notice that the spine also has a number for this book.

Underneath the blurb, you see my website and two social media icons. Please don’t forget the importance of letting readers connect and find out about your other books. This information is also included inside, but it’s nice to have it available in more than one location.

I like the uniformity of the three covers with the same cover model on all three. We added the hero on the cover of the last book since it’s also written from his point of view. The male model physically fits the hero. The last book cover is a compilation of several images–hero Regulus, a portal, an industrial wall, and heroine Mia. The sparkling lights effect tie the three books together as well.

I’ve talked about cover art on the blog in the past because I think it’s a crucial marketing tool. In the world of self-publishing, it’s one of the coolest things an author can control.  Have you worked with a cover designer? Do you have advice for the indie author as he/she directs work on a new book cover?