I really, really enjoy making my own book covers. In fact, I often do the cover before I even write the story. For me it is a source of inspiration. It is a brainstorming device. It is a way of helping my story stay on point during the writing process. It reminds me of my premise and even helps me to visualize my characters.
The photo attached to this post includes my six most recent book covers. Out of the six, The Hand Me Down Kid is the only completed work. The others are in various stages, ranging from brainstorming to plotting to ALMOST finished the first draft. Currently, I am actively working on When The Bough Breaks. I really love the cover for this particular piece. In fact, I think it just might be the favorite of all the covers I have ever created.
I must take a moment to inform you at this point, that I am not a graphic designer. I have no design sense whatsoever. I really have absolutely no clue what people like as far as book covers are concerned. I simply know what I like. I design my covers within the limitations of my book cover design knowledge (which is quite limited by the way). I am saying all this to say that if I can do it, ANYONE can do it. I just find a few stock images that seem like they fit the theme of the piece I am working on, load up this little image manipulation program called GIMP and head on over to Youtube where there are tons of video tutorials on how to do just about anything you could possibly want to do to create your cover. I used the same program to create the headers for this website as well.
Now, I’ve been told that a book cover can make or break a book, whether that be an e-book or a book that has been traditionally printed. There is probably some truth to that. If (Oops… I mean when, wheeeeen, WHEN!!) I become a published author, my little amateur covers will likely be chucked for a more professional, polished cover. I have absolutely no problem with that. I don’t make my book covers with the idea that they will be a part of the finished product. I make them so that they can aide in the completion of the product. I find them quite motivating. When I get bored with a storyline (umm… which, of course, never happens… I mean, I could never write something boring… pshaw!) I can can spend a few minutes looking at the book cover and it seems to somehow renew me. Perhaps it is the thought that the piece I am working on at the time could really, truly become a published work for the world to see. Maybe seeing the cover makes the possibility of publication a little more real or a little more attainable. I don’t know what it is for real. But, for whatever reason, I thoroughly enjoy making covers for my work, whether its a novel or a short story.
What do you do to stay motivated and inspired as you work on a project? Be sure to share below.
All the best,