As you know, I'm the author of The Fulfillment Series. When I imagined holding the books in my hands for the very first time, I had a very specific design for the covers, but I didn't know if anyone could actually bring it to life.
So, the cover artists (my old publisher used two different people) who originally worked on my series gave these two covers for the first two books.
*Please note: I'm not posting these to disparage the press or the cover artists but to provide a vivid visual difference.
Okay, I'll admit, when I saw the first cover for the first time, I cried. Not "OMG, my first cover" but "OMG, it's nothing like what I'd hoped." I texted my Dream Team and my critique partners (even my mom) a picture, and they all tried to make me feel better. But it wasn't even close to the vision I had.
There is nothing quite as heart-wrenching and disappointing as trying to promote a book whose cover makes you cry ugly tears of disappointment. However, I soldiered on and did my due diligence, promoting the heck of that book anyway. But I will tell you, it hurt my heart to see it out there in world, representing the story I'd worked so hard on.
And then came the second book cover. It didn't match the first book at all. In fact, no one would know they were from the same series, even if they sat side-by-side on a bookshelf. And with the crown of thorns, it had distinctly a religious undertone that didn't fit the story.
I'd been asked for input on these covers. I filled out super long questionnaires from the publisher, asking me about different aspects of my novel, but the covers didn't represent my book nor the information I had provided.
When the time came for me to decide what to do with the series, I considered both self-publishing and shopping for another small press. And soon, the opportunity for me to sign with another small press presented itself. At first, I was really reluctant, but then, I discovered that Anita Carroll designed their covers.
I went on her website and sat in awe of her indescribable talent:
I mean WOW!! Look at the mastery here. The emotion Anita's covers evoke is just beyond explanation. And she spends a lot of time blending to make sure the words look like they're a part of the image instead of just being placed on top of it. She once told me she spent seven (7!!) hours blending a cover to make it just right. That's quality and devotion to art right there!!
Since I knew my book cover would be in good hands with Anita, I signed with the small press. And I had the distinct pleasure of working with Anita one-on-one. She *read* my books so she'd be familiar with them, and only then did she start the cover design. We went back and forth on ideas until we came up with the perfect one.
The books are BREATHTAKING!! When I'm at ComicCons or author signing events, people come from across the room to see them. And once they get to my table, they seem compelled to pick my books up and read the back. That's what every author wants, right? That's what covers should do, right?
And they definitely look like they're part of the same series. Each book has the same underlying theme and tone, with subtle differences.
In addition, they adequately represent my book. Anyone who sees them will know they're fantasy novels, no question. That's another super important element of a cover...to accurately convey the theme of the book.
For example, one of my friends had a book cover that did not represent her book. She wrote a story about witches. In fact, her book has been compared to Practical Magic.
Here is the cover of Practical Magic:
Obviously about witches, right?
Well, here's the old cover my friend's publisher selected for her book:
Nothing about that cover says witches. In fact, she struggled to get the message of her book across to readers. People assumed it was a middle grade or young adult "coming of age" story due to the cartoonish nature of it and the young appearance of the people in the image.
So, if you're thinking of self-publishing your book, make sure you choose a cover artist who will a) work to understand your story and your vision b) keep your theme consistent throughout a series c) make sure your cover conveys the message, theme, and genre of your story d) create covers people are drawn to.
If you're going to sign with a small press, make sure they have quality cover artists. Peruse their current books and ask yourself if the covers intrigue or repel you.
For those considering self-publication, I highly recommend Anita. In fact, she's so amazing, I asked her team up with me to offer a special package called the Rhewbix Cube, which includes a reduced rate for edits, a cover, and formatting. Check that out here: Rhewbix Cube Offer
Until next time...may beautiful covers decorate your life and bookshelves! ;)