A short time ago, I put forth a plea for input on titles and covers for my upcoming Pine Hills Police novel. A quick recap: It's Book 3 in a series, so both title and cover had to fit with the others (there's also a short story anthology, so that makes 4 covers/titles that have to coordinate.)
After taking the input provided by you, I finally had to make the commitment. A lot of factors played into the decision.
Finding Daylight, my #1 choice for a title didn't work out for several reasons. That would have put 3 of 4 books with "Finding" in the title, making poor "Hidden Fire" the odd man out. Also, when I did a quick search on Finding Daylight at Amazon, I found self help and religious books, which are a far cry from my book.
Then, we looked at how the title would lay out on the cover. The one that fit both the theme of the book and the requisite cover art ended up being "Saving Scott."
During this process I worked closely with my cover artist, Dave Fymbo. I asked Dave to share his process, and this is what he said:
I start by asking clients what the book is about, what the tone should be, and if they have any images or colors in mind. Then I'll do an initial exploration. I search for free images that would work as well as lay down some text options. Sometimes the right font is the design. But usually the hardest part is finding the right image. For the first round I send between 5 and 10 options. Then I strip away all the text and go round and round until the imagery is perfect. This often includes compositing multiple photos, adjusting colors and contrast, and lighting effects.
So, these are some of the preliminary images Dave sent me. There were more!
We discussed these, and from this selection, we eliminated the scenics because they didn't fit the story(and the book takes place in the summer, so the snow wouldn't work). We also eliminated the chocolate, because although it fit the bakery, it wouldn't match the focus of the book, which was Scott's personal growth, not Ashley's bakery. I also told him I didn't want a "cheery" color scheme, because of the nature of the book.
The bakery building and the street scene gave the cover a "cozy" feel, which wasn't appropriate for my romantic suspense genre. Dave worked on the remaining "possibles" and sent another round. I told him which background I preferred, and then he really got to work. In his words:
Once the client picks a background, then I'll start on text exploration. The right font is key. The text is really what separates a professionally designed cover from something that looks homemade. If you have smaller words like "the" or "in" it's helpful to make them smaller. Colors, shadows, 3D effects all help to make a title that pops off the page. Again, I like to send at least 5-10 font choices, so that authors can pick their favorites. And if they don't feel like any are working, I'll come up with 10 more.
And he means it. Dave has the patience of a saint, I swear. After we decided on the right image for the cover, he was willing to tweak things like colors, fonts, lighting, and teeny tiny nudges to the layout—I think we ended up with 16 variations before we agreed we'd found The Cover.
I hope you like it!
Dave's philosophy: Because it takes a long time to write a book, the cover should match the writing effort. You can find more about Dave's work at his website.
For more about the book, including an excerpt, check the Coming Soon tab on my website.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society