Saturday, August 24, 2013

We've Got It Covered

We live in a time when the old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" just isn't true anymore. When a reader is searching for a book online the first thing they judge is the cover. If that interest them than they'll read the description, summary and reviews. If the cover doesn't grab their attention right away the book gets past by as they scroll on down the never-ending list of titles available.

 For those of you who don't know the cover design and all illustrations for my book "The Forsaken", were done by yours truly. It's been a life long dream to find a way to marry my two great passions: writing and art. Having studied at the Art Institute of Phoenix, I decided to take that experience and do my own Cover for my debut novel. However, I soon found that this is easier said than done! I wanted to make a cover that conveyed the genre and feel of my book, that caught the eye but wasn't too similar to other popular covers. As it is part of a six part series, I also felt I needed to come up with a style that would be easy to carry through each subsequent cover, something that made it recognizable on sight as a part of the same series. I started researching books in my genre, Urban Fantasy. What I noticed is that they all looked eerily the same. Then I started looking st some of my favorite book covers from every genre and sat down to examine what it was about them that caught my eye. One of these books is "The Dragon and the Unicorn." by A.A. Attanasio.

I have to admit that I bought this book entirely for its cover and have had it for years but have still never read it. However, I do intend to start it next week. One reason I love this cover is because of the use of negative and positive space, and the contrast with the black and white. It's simple yet dramatic and some what mysterious. I'm a big fan of negative and positive, black and white imagery and use it often in my own art. It seemed only natural that I would use the same concept for my cover.

The black and white background represents the good and evil existing within my main character, Gwenevere, and her struggle to figure out her own identity and her true nature. The stars and snow textures represent the many struggles and trails she encounters in the book. The silhouettes of the girl's face, showing the two sides of her personality, were meant to look like a ying and yang sign. The locket in the middle is an iconic item from the book. Green and red are used as accents, signifying her magical gifts. The fiery font of the title representing the refining fires she'll go through to become the person she was destined to be. I made sixteen different versions of the cover before arriving at this one. I have to say that all the work was worth it and I am very satisfied with it.

Book two of the series "The offspring" is nearly complete and I'm currently working on the cover art and illustrations. I can't reveal the new cover yet but can tell you that the black and white (negative and positive space) and fire fonts are all incorporated in it. One fun difference I've made is to change the color of the spine. Book two will have a white spine, everything else changed to contrast. I plan to switch the color of the spines throughout the series, so that, should they be siting together on a shelf they would be black, white, black, white, black, and white. Needless to say the complete collection will look rather sharp together on your book shelf or mantle.

I've received many compliments on "The Forsaken" cover, and hopefully I can make book two's cover as effective as the first. I've enjoyed the process--although grueling--of creating them both and look forward to doing it again for the rest of the series. If you like what you see you can check out my book on my website, Barnes n' Noble and Amazon. Now that I've covered the cover art of my books, you may now go forth and have a fabulous weekend full of leisurely reading.

R.J. Craddock