29 June 2013, Writing Ideas - Book Covers
Announcement: My novels Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness are about to be published. I write this blog about 2 months prior to its publication. I just heard that the proofs will be here soon--likely before the end of the week. My publisher also wants to put the entire set of novels based on Aegypt on contract--that's 5 more novels for 8 total. They also want to put my other novels on contract. The release schedule should be one novel every 2 months. I'll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Here are my rules of writing:
1. Entertain your readers.
2. Don't confuse your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
Book covers are like titles and marketing. They are necessary to the finished
product and necessary for the writer to develop. First, no one is going to read
your book and make the perfect cover for you. You are the most knowledgeable
source for your work, and only you will be able to put together an idea that will
capture it in a single picture--usually with help. When you finish your work:
fix on a title (as described below), work up your marketing materials, and then
put together a rough idea for a cover. You can see the process at www.ldalford.com look in unpublished novels.
You can check the secrets pages for each published novel to see the process the
covers went through.
Don't expect artwork unless you are willing to pay a
lot for it or you are a best selling author. You can do it yourself, but unless
you are really good (I mean a professional who sells or has sold or been trained
or won real awards) don't even think about it. Many people who think they are
great artists can only produce junk. As a matter of a fact the number of rotten
writers is directly proportional to the number of rotten artists. Most of the
time, you aren't both, but there are rare exceptions. The artist who did some of
my artwork is also a writer, and she is an awesome artist.
publisher's cover department to put together photos, writing (fonts), and
backgrounds to make your cover. This is a very cost effective means to make a
cover and is the most common today. You can do it as easily as they can. The
trick is that they have much better equipment, photos, fonts, software, etc. at
their disposal. All you have to do is search the web or clip art to find the
approximate photos that match your ideas. You put them together and send the
idea to your publisher.
Generally, your publisher's art department will
use your ideas to come up with a great cover or a couple of covers for you to
choose from. If you look on my site at www.aegyptnovel.com under secrets, you
will see the cover proposal I sent, their proposed covers, and the final design.
You can find these for each of my published novels. You can also look at my new
novels to see my rough cover proposals.
Sandi Andrews of the Book Club
Network www.bookfun.org wrote this about a
couple of my covers:
Because I have both Centurion and
Aegypt in front of me, I’ll address your question first. Perhaps it
would help to understand the progression that led from not being familiar with
your work to actually buying two of your books.The shortest answer is this site.
The longer explanation starts with your friendship with Bruce. Because he posted
in the discussions here, I became aware of him and his work. I checked out his
website and online retailers to discover more about his background, books, and
what others were saying about his work. Garnering enough information to justify
a purchase, I ordered two of his books. By the time I was not very far into the
second book, I determined not only did I enjoy his descriptive style and well
researched content, but the man definitely had something to say that was worth
my time to read and ponder. I then purchased the third book in his series and
continued some exchanges with Bruce. In one of them he mentioned your
friendship, suggesting that I might be interested in your book,
Centurion, so I repeated the research process focusing this time on you
and your work.What Bruce did not know was that if my father had not insisted
that my undergraduate degree be in Finance, I would have pursued a course of
study that would have led to a career in Biblical archaeology. The fact that I
spent the greater part of my London vacation this past February at the British
Museum underscores my interest in the subject matter of your books. I ordered
both Aegypt and Centurion.So after that long winded aside, the
answer to your primary question is that I think the covers of your books are
both appealing and appropriate. The photo of the centurion on the book with the
same title is riveting. My eyes immediately locked on the statue’s eyes which
appear to be focusing on something or someone that is causing inner turmoil. The
cover poses unspoken questions compelling a potential readers to seek the
answers inside. Once the cover had my attention, I reread the back blurb which I
had previously read online and then flipped through the pages to read a writing
sample. Satisfied that I would enjoy the book, it was placed on my “to be read
soon” stack. BTW, thank you for the Lexicon at the back of the book…it will help
my understanding and limit interruptions to research terms online.The cover of
Aegypt needed the blurb information on the back to clarify the time period of
the novel but it is still compelling enough that I would have picked the book up
in a B & M. Because I purchased online, the other pertinent information was
visible with the cover for the purchase decision.
You have not only caught my
interest because of the archaeology aspect of your writing but I think my
husband will also be reading your work especially the sci-fi. He may already
have read some of your air and space related articles in some of the aviation
magazines he receives. Early in his career, Pete worked at both Carswell AFB in
Fort Worth (where he first learned to fly) and at McClellan AFB in Sacramento
where he worked on software for the FB-111A.So… is our inclination to explore
your work based upon your covers alone? Probably not, but I do believe the
covers would not repel anyone except those with no imagination or little
interest in historical novels.As an experiment, I might present a sampling of
some books for the club members to indicate their first reactions to the various
See more writing secrets at www.ldalford.com
For more information, you can visit my author site www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: http://www.aegyptnovel, http://www.centurionnovel.com, www.thesecondmission.com/, http://www.theendofhonor.com/, thefoxshonor, aseasonofhonor.