Cover Story - Debbie Bennett
So I decided to fly solo - but first I needed a cover. My first attempt at cover design was using a lovely graphic by a talented friend of mine that just didn't work as an ebook cover - there wasn't sufficient contrast at the small size you need for amazon and other ebook retailers. But I attracted the attention of a traditional author who introduced me to my current designer JT Lindroos and held my hand through the design process. Thus the cover for Hamelin's Child was born - and I learned a lot in the process.
I recently asked JT to design me a cover for the sequel Paying the Piper, which I hope to have out before Christmas, so I thought I'd share the cover story here. I contacted JT saying I wanted something that would clearly be a part of the same series as Hamelin - something with a gritty, urban feel to it. I suggested tower blocks, playgrounds, wasteland etc as ideas for backdrop. JT came back with the first three versions on the right.
Versions 1, 2 and 3 are all essentially the same, but with different colours. The font is the same as Hamelin and pulls the two books together. While I liked version 1, the colour combination doesn't say "thriller" to me - it says DIY manual (I don't know why!). Version 2 had a good colour, but the black text was lost at thumbnail size and the turquoise just a little too close to the blue of Hamelin. Version 3 was a great colour combination but it was so strong that the image disappeared at thumbnail. And I wasn't fussed about the actual image - it was too stylised and lacked context. I also didn't like the exact 45 degree text angle.
I went back to JT and said could he find a better image? I had a play around on image websites and marked a few photos that I liked - not necessarily "right" but pictures that appealed or had the right tone:
I've no real idea why these specific images appealed to me. Since most of the story is set in Cheshire and South Manchester, I looked for tram images, cities and urban decay (all such cheerful stuff!). I have an idea in my head of how I want the overall cover to look, but I'm not particularly good at communicating that to a designer - in that respect, I find JT brilliant to work with as he's very intuitive and can work out what I want better than I can!
JT came back with version 4 - a tram of some sort which looked OK and more of what I had in mind. The text is at less of an angle and there's more context to the image. But then there was version 5 as seen below which was pretty near perfect and coveys the exact atmosphere that I wanted. There's a figure for context and a depth to the image that rivals the original Hamelin. Side by side, they are similar but different.
Sp pull the text away from the edges a fraction so I can get postcards printed and still leave a margin for bleed and we have a new cover for my next book:
One thing I have learned is that I am not a designer! I will always leave it to the experts in future.