A Caffeinated Sunday Chinwag

Coffee cups up if you are keeping your chin above water this pandemic summer. In all honesty, I do hope all of you are safe and healthy. I continue to take every precaution when I must venture out, but mostly remain working and sheltering at home these days. The new normal.

I haven’t had any downtime from design work – other than a week last month that was a scheduled break for me. I can certainly tell that the majority of my clients are now home full time – it is good for business, but I also need my ‘me’ time too. Thus, I’m still struggling with finding a good balance between work and downtime. I don’t think that I’ll ever get a good handle on it due to the nature of what I do – design is a creative process that ebbs and flows – there is no on or off switch. And sometimes it stubbornly stays in the off position when I have the most to accomplish! Oh well. I do the best that I can and push through those down times.

Recently Published Cover Designs

One Summer In Spain by Ian Wilfred is available on Amazon
The Scuba Club by Rene Fomby is available on Amazon
The Strongholder by Steve Pillinger is available on Amazon
Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan is available on Amazon

A Further Word on Cover Design

I am well aware that I bang on about this often – but only because it is important. Writers, especially when self-publishing their novels, should hire professionals when publishing their work. Hire an excellent copy editor; hire an expert formatter; hire a professional graphic designer to design that book cover. I cannot stress this enough. You either win a sale or lose a sale based on the cover adorning your book. Don’t shortchange yourself into thinking that you can skimp by on a cheap (or self made) cover. And your niece/cousin/uncle/daughter/friend who play around with some paint software are not qualified to do it for you either – they might be free, but without a formal education and experience in graphic design, is it truly a savings you in the end? I have lost count how many times I see terribly done book covers every day on both Amazon and social media – it is a shame as the books likely could be the next Harry Potter, Alex Cross or Game of Thrones series. But the cover is so bad readers, including me, scroll right by the book. I’ll add a link to an interview that I did last year with literary guru Amy Collins again – all great advice: “Working with a Book Cover Designer” over at The Book Designer‘s site (an excellent site by the way!).

I must applaud a recent client of mine who came to the realization that she needed a professional designer after her own attempts failed to sell copies of her book. Too often authors never learn this tough lesson in the publishing world. Thus, I encourage authors to read about a fellow author’s experience and thoughts HERE. My additional input to Gilli’s interview would be to say that writers have very specific ideas about their stories – visually. These internal visuals can be tough to get across to another person who has not read the manuscript – or spent months or years doing the research and wrestling over the writing itself. Also, every reader will develop their own vision of your scripted world – don’t be surprised when a cover designer does too. Also, a cover designer is thinking about the genre, what is selling, and the mechanics of design when creating potential cover layouts for your novel. So, while a writer’s notes and summaries of their book given over to a professional to follow as a design brief are necessary to the process, the designer’s impressions may vary from the author’s own personal vision. So it does take patience and a lot of give and take to develop a final cover design that will not only accurately represent the novel, but also fit the technical parameters of design, and above all sell the story to readers.

Pre-Made Cover Design by Avalon Graphics | Cathy Helms

I’ll end this rather lengthy blog post with the above design – I blended a stock photo of an archer, textures, trees, and a forest photo – I love working with stock photos by Faestock available for purchase through most RF stock agencies and via her website.