The mutilation, er, metamorphosis of a cover.

So, in the interest of documenting this journey called self publishing, I thought I would share some of the ins and outs of cover making. Yes, I make my own, in a wonderful program called Gimp. This cover is different from the first two I did, way more technical and required me to learn a good bit more about the program. Yes, it had me tearing out my hair just to get it done. I went through more ideas and hours than I normally would spend on something like this, but as this book is going to be a series, I wanted it to be perfect, branded, and made in such a way that I could make the next two sort of add to it. That being said, I will walk through some of my early designs first, so you can get an idea of what this cover went through to get to its current look.

Version 1:

This version sucked for reasons you can probably see. I was doing more sketching with this one than anything else, just trying to get a feel for a cover, and didn’t really have any concrete ideas other than the word ELI, which is an event in the book.

Version 2:

This was better, although I didn’t like any of the fonts I used, and the fire text was, to me, over done. Again, still following the ELI concept, but it kind of throws off the title of the book, and more appears that the book is called “Eli” instead of “The Confessor”.

Version 3:

Still not sure where I was headed. Tried some different stuff, still didn’t really know the program too well either. I do a fair bit of drawing when the mood strikes me, playing with graphics in Gimp is sort of like sketching to me, except I’m more impatient with it. I had no real strong idea of what the book cover should look like, and it didn’t help that I wasn’t finished writing the damn thing in the first place. I was at the in-laws house doing this, taking a break from writing. No, I didn’t procrastinate too much. I promise. No, really.

Version 4:

By this time the book was almost finished, and I was home at long last. I started getting some strong ideas, namely the tunnel, from another scene in the book. I was learning a good bit about the program, but still not satisfied with it. The lay out was more mocked than anything else, I scrapped it because something about it just didn’t feel right.
Version 5:

Flowery huh? As I explored ideas, and just about finished the book, my overall ideas began to get stronger. This cover, at least to me, doesn’t look horrible, but is too passive for the subject matter. I wasn’t too happy with my skills in Gimp at this point, according to my wife I’m a perfectionist, and I wasn’t happy with anything I was coming up with.

Version 6: 

had a pretty strong idea of what I wanted, but for the life of me just couldn’t make it work. If you look closely, there’s a page from a Bible in the bottom, and some words written in color, each color representing the word its coloring. I decided to take a day or so off. Learning a new program is a lot like working out. You stretch the muscles, tear em a bit, then give them a rest so they can rebuild.

Version 7: 

By far the best of the bunch. By the time I got to this point, I was using Gimp like an old (new?) pro, and I’m very happy with this version. That it’s the best of the bunch I know, not because I think it is (although I do), but because my fifty friends on my private Facecrap page tell me it is. And you know we can all trust our friends, right? 🙂 This cover is one of three, and is a departure from what I normally do, in that the second and third covers will be a continuation of this one, so to speak. It still might need some touching up, but overall, I’m happy with the result. And, I had stopped tearing my hair out too, so that’s a good thing.

Well, hope this perhaps gave some insight into what I go through in making a cover. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, and caffeine go into this. While I know I could possibly get better results if I paid a cover artist, or at the very least save myself some headache, for me, doing it all, at least at this point, is part of the process I need to go through, so I can understand just what it takes to do everything.  With this book, I’m also planning on using Amazon’s CreateSpace to do paperback, so I’ll keep you all posted as I go along. Thanks for reading.


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