Category Archives: cover art

Cover Candy #07: Three (more!) Beautiful Book Covers

Cover Candy #7

It’s time for a little Cover Candy book lovin’!

What does it say that I haven’t read any of these yet? They’re all on my humongous TBR list. That’s a step, right?

I usually end up spending more time writing than reading—though once I start reading I’m likely to keep right on going and forget to write! January has been rough. I’ve been sick. Ugh. On the bright side, it opened up some reading time, and my towering stack is now seven books (and a half!) shorter. I’m taking part in the 2017 Reading Challenge on Goodreads again—that gives me a push, too!

So. Covers. Continue reading Cover Candy #7

New Cover Reveal! Blood and Shadow: Part 1 of The Mage’s Gift

Today begins an event so epic, so awesome, I can hardly sit still. Ladies and jellybeans… the moment we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived!

Blood and Shadow, the first book of The Mage’s Gift, will be released on December 10th—my birthday! Way to celebrate, right? Continue reading New Cover Reveal! Blood and Shadow: Part 1 of The Mage’s Gift

New Cover for As the Crow Flies!

New Cover for As the Crow Flies!

It’s here. Today is the day!

I’m so excited to finally be able to show you the new cover for As the Crow Flies! TwinArtDesign did a wonderful job blending the real with the symbolic, turning my ideas into a picture that conveys a sense of magic and adventure.

New Cover for As the Crow Flies!

I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Keep an eye on this space for some special news about Crow—or sign up for my newsletter to hear the latest news about this and my upcoming release!

Cover Candy #06

Cover Candy #6

There’s nothing like looking at some good Cover Candy to get me inspired to read! I have to be careful, or I’ll end up with even more books in my TBR Pile.

The ones I’ve chosen this time are wildly different: gritty, whimsical, and classy. They’re all dark-colored (does that make a theme?). I like them for completely different reasons, but I find each of them intriguing.

As usual, I can’t vouch for the contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!

Cover Stars

Cover Candy #06

ACID

~Emma Pass~
Kindle, 386 pages
Delacorte Press
March 11, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Artist: Larry Rostant

Cover Candy #06

The Chaos of Stars 

~Kiersten White~
Kindle, 293 pages
HarperTeen
September 10, 2013
Genre: Fantasy
Artist: (unknown)

Legacy of Kings, by EleanorHerman

Legacy of Kings: Blood of Gods and Royals #1 

~Eleanor Herman~
Hardcover, 432 pages
Harlequin Teen
August 18, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Myths and Legends
Artist: (unknown)

Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Which cover is your favorite of the three?

Share one of YOUR favorite covers!

Do you have a favorite cover artist?

The Great Cover-Up #5

The Great Cover-Up #5

It’s time for another round of The Great Cover-Up! I was recently looking at a list of books displayed by cover. If I were going on the cover alone, I might have bought 10 out of the 50 that were listed. Clearly, books with attractive covers are going to garner more interest.

“Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumbnail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.”
― Larry Correia

Luckily, I have a growing collection of literary beauty. Once again, I can’t vouch for the actual contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!

Cover-Up Stars

The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie
The Heroes, by Joe Abercrombie
Finding Camlann, by Sean Pidgeon
Finding Camlann, by Sean Pidgeon
Firebird, by Mercedes Lackey
Firebird, by Mercedes Lackey

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Which cover is your favorite of the three?
Have you got a favorite (fantasy) cover? Share below and it might appear on the next Great Cover-Up!

Cover Candy #4

The Great Cover-Up is one of my favorite features to do. Great book covers, wonderful typography, amazing design — and when it comes on a book, it’s a win-win situation. I think the first cover I recall really falling in love with was the one Michael Whelan did for To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams. The picture is incredibly detailed, fantastic, and realistic. I still want a print to frame and hang in my office. Creating covers for my own books has given me a new appreciation for the thought and the work that goes into them.

I began (virtually) collecting. I can use the inspiration and, frankly, I just enjoy drooling over them.

Yes, I keep a towel by my computer in case I get carried away.

I can’t vouch for the actual contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!

Great Book Covers
An Inheritance of Ashes,by Leah Bobet
An Inheritance of Ashes,
by Leah Bobet
GatheringDark_200x300
The Gathering Dark,
by Leigh Bardugo
Scarlet-LunarChronicles2_200x300
The Italian cover of Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles Book 2), by Marissa Meyer
Image: “Bookshelf Spectrum 2.0” by Pietro Bellini is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Which cover is your favorite of the three?
Share one of YOUR favorite covers!

Cover Candy #03

Cover Candy #03

Pop quiz!

Who loves books? (YOU, right? Okay, and me, too. I’ll admit it.)

Who loves pretty pictures? (I do! I do!)

This week we’ve got both. The only thing that could make this combo better is some chocolate. I have some, but you’ll have to bring your own. Sorry. I’ve tried, but licking the screen isn’t nearly as satisfactory as reality, and I’ve yet to see a working replicator. If you have, you’d better link me up…!

On with the show, then! Once again, I can’t vouch for the contents of the books represented below. We’re only here for the eye candy!

Cover Candy #03
Hood: Book 1 of the King Raven Trilogy, by Stephen R. Lawhead
Cover Candy 03: Mists of Avalon
The Mists ofAvalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Cover Candy 03: Crucible of Gold
Crucible of Gold, by Naomi Novik
Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Which cover is your favorite of the three?
What’s one of YOUR favorite covers?
Do you have a favorite cover artist? Who?

Five Good Things

If you’ve been keeping up with my Facebook page, you’ll know I’m neck deep re-working the outline for my Work In Progress. I suffered a round of depression when I calculated that Act 1 needs to go on an extreme diet or I’ll end up with a 1200+ page doorstop, just for the first book! Using a physical plot board rather than the computer screen has helped a lot. It’s much easier to see what’s going on and what’s missing. (Don’t worry, Beloved Scrivener [http://www.literatureandlatte.com], I still love you!) I’ve used the board to reorganize my Scrivener files and I’m rarin’ to go!
In the meantime, I want to share with you some fun news and articles from people who are not suffering Writer’s Embarrassment.
“HEA is thrilled to unveil the cover of Fierce: Sixteen Authors of Fantasy, a multiauthor boxed set that features 16 of the most entrancing high fantasy reads from Mercedes Lackey, Michael Manning, K.F. Breene, Morgan Rice, Michael J. Ploof, Daniel Arenson, Kate Sparkes, David Adams, Amy Raby, C. Greenwood, David Dalglish, K.J. Colt, Shae Ford, Endi Webb, Michael Wallace and Terah Edun.”
Game Of Thrones: PowerPoint Edition
Stock shapes in PowerPoint take fantasy to a new level.
Hardback Editions of Thread Slivers and Thread Strands
My friend Leeland Artra is about to bring his books to the world as both hardbacks and mass-media paperbacks. And his video is pretty fun to watch, too.
Dragon Sketch by HELMUTTT on DeviantART
“This is just a quick sketch of a dragon I did. really nothing special and actually quite boring.” Methinks he doth protest too much.
Joe Abercrombie’s Fantasy Land
“With the second book in his YA-flavoured Shattered Sea trilogy out this month – featuring a quote from none other than Game Of Thrones’ George RR Martin on the front – novelist Joe Abercrombie talks to Vision about why fantasy is just as adept as literary fiction in reflecting the world in the 21st century.”
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What fascinating fantasy have you seen on the ‘net recently? Comment below, and share this post in your Google+ groups.

Cover Candy #2

I love great book covers. I have a digital collection that I go through every now and then, admiring and deciphering what it is about each that particularly intrigues or pleases me. Some days the walk through my virtual gallery is for the simple desire to appreciate the artwork. On other days (especially when I’m contemplating the creation of a cover) I look through the collection to inspire ideas.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Book covers have to do a lot of work!
Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumb nail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.
― Larry Correia
I will argue that cover art has another purpose: they’re for admiring, too. And they last longer than chocolate at my house. These are all quite different, and quite striking:
cover artist:  Larry Rostant
cover artist:  Alejandro Colucci
cover artist:  unknown
If you are interested in reading (and seeing) more about covers and graphics, try these posts:
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Please share YOUR favorite covers in the comments below!

Getting Graphic

The word “graphic” comes from a Greek word that means “writing, drawing.” Graphic representations are visual, symbolic, illustrative …  and written. Graphic descriptions are vivid, detailed, descriptive, illustrative. Do you see a connection here?

Authors who wants to sell their books (as I suppose most authors do) will draw more attention to themselves and their books if the package (author and books) is attractive.

I’ve talked before about what an important job book covers have. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, points out that:

A book’s description is the “first and foremost concern” of the blogger and book reviewer known as “The Picky Girl.” Still, she thinks twice before accepting or buying a book with a bad (or cheap looking) cover. “I wonder what other areas lack quality and refinement,” she says. 

Like Picky Girl, Naomi Blackburn, one of the world’s top Goodreads reviewers, founder of the group The Sisterhood of the Traveling Book, and author of the business advice column The Author CEO, selects books based primarily on their description. But Blackburn, too, passes on books with bad covers. “If the cover seems to be nothing more than a catalog photograph with block lettering, I bypass it,” she says. “If the author didn’t care enough to dedicate time/effort to their cover, I wonder how much time they put into the book itself.”

Graphic designer and author C.L. Smith lists (and goes into detail about) some important guidelines in his article 14 Tips for Good Kindle Cover Design. These do not apply exclusively to Kindle/e-book covers. If you’re concerned with making that first good impression, it would be well worth your while to read the full article.

But wait! There’s more!

Your book may or may not be your first introduction to a potential reader. Your social media presence is important, too. It’s your cover, your first impression space. Do you have a good-looking icon/profile photo? Does your header/cover photo (the “graphic page title”) take advantage of the space to promote your brand or your books? Does it carry your logo or your tagline?

Identities with generic icons (Twitter’s “egg” anyone?) and/or headers produce the same question as books with low-quality covers: I wonder what other areas lack quality and refinement?

Can you imagine Target’s social media pages without the familiar red-and-white icon or heading? Apple without an apple? Coca-Cola without the bottle of coke and a smile? Toyota without their (okay, what IS that?) icon and “Let’s go places” tagline?

“A strong visual brand helps you connect with your community and effectively convey your brand’s personality.” (4 Ways Visual Design Can Improve Your Social Media Marketing, by Zach Kitschke via the Social Media Examiner)

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“Whatever our objectives are for marketing ourselves (establishing a reputation as an industry expert, selling a book we’ve written, or finding a new job are just a few ideas that might apply), our personal brand can help us familiarize our target audience with the facets of our character that make us an appealing investment.” (Many Platforms, One Voice: How to Maintain a Consistent Social Media Persona, by Steve Glauberman via the Content Marketing Institute)

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“Due to the rapid growth of social media, consumers are exposed to a barrage of Tweets, “Likes,” texts and messages on the Web and on their mobile devices. With the need to read or view images in seconds — as well as on smaller screens — graphic design plays an increasingly important role not only in building brand awareness and recognition but in merely attracting the user’s attention.” (The Importance of Graphic Design in Social Media by Elle Smith via Small Business Chron)

Look at social media pages.

Search for “images for social media headers.”

Think about your brand’s personality — What colors define it? Pick out a “brand font.” (Remember to make sure it’s commercially licensed and readable!) Choose a style (medieval? retro? futuristic? something else?).

Then what? Use them together every time you create new marketing materials. Consistency is important. It’s noticeable. When your particular brand appears across the internet, people will recognize you.

So if you’re not artistically talented (do your Photoshop or GIMP skills mimic the quality of your favorite book covers, social media headers, marketing materials?), where do you go?

There are loads of websites that design packages for you to use or custom-made graphics.

If you prefer doing it yourself, be sure the images you’re using are 1) legally licensed, 2) not popular stock images—you don’t want your cute-girl-with-a-ponytail showing up on a dozen other covers— and 3) following the 14 Tips for Good Kindle Cover Design.

Or, if you’re on a tight budget, you could look into hiring dirt cheap affordable freelancers from sites like Fiverr, FiverUp, GigBucks and the like. Caveat: be careful. Research the site, research the artist. Like any other business, you want to make sure they’re reliable.

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Do you pass over books with poorly done covers?

Do you ignore social media connections with generic graphics?

What do you struggle with as an author? Reader?