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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The making of the GRASPING AT ETERNITY cover

This Friday, the 25th of May, our wonderful operative Karen Hooper is releasing her YA paranormal romance GRASPING AT ETERNITY into the world.

You may or may not know, but I designed the cover. So, Karen's journey with this novel (her second published novel, her first self-published novel) has been a little nerve-wracking for me, too, because covers really can make or break a novel.

In the spirit of the GRASPING AT ETERNITY release, I decided to do a "behind the scenes" post on how I made this cover.

We didn't want to use a stock photograph because of how many covers seem to share images these days, so Karen asked a friend of hers to model for pictures, and ended up sending me the picture on the left. Having a good picture to work with is so important--my job would have been MUCH harder if Karen hadn't sent me such a pretty photo in the first place.

On the right is the picture after I got done with it. The list of things I did is long, even if they are subtle (you don't want a picture to LOOK like it's been through the Photoshop ringer), so I won't go into great detail. But mostly I wanted the colors to really pop so I changed the lighting. I also added some more flower petals, an extra peacock feather, brightened her hair, and made her features stand out a little more.

After that it was time to start messing with fonts and word placement. Immediately I envisioned the title at the bottom, because that's where there was most space for it. I also thought some kind of swirl design would look cool incorporated onto the cover, so I designed the one you see below by using pieces of decorative fonts and splicing them together.

I didn't feel that this first version looked unique enough, and there were several elements that Karen wanted incorporated on the cover. The most difficult one was the infinity symbol, which I moved around dozens of times, making it a shadow, making it a mask, laying it behind the title, etc., until I realized that it would look coolest as part of the lettering itself. I also changed the swirl design to frame the title, rather than just sitting awkwardly behind it. Karen also wanted a clock to be incorporated somehow, and a pair of eyes--both of which are thematically important in GRASPING AT ETERNITY. The eyes framed by the infinity symbol are actually mine. ;)

This was the original finished cover.

Finally I ended up with the image you see above. We both loved it. For several weeks we thought we were done, we announced the cover and showed it to the world, and I was honestly overwhelmed by how many people liked it.

But. The letters were too thin to be seen in a thumbnail. And on Amazon, that's really important. So I went back to the drawing board with the title. I used the same font, but I plumped it up (simply bolding it wasn't enough) and resized the swirlies so the letters could be their biggest. I also had to reattach the infinity symbol to the end of the Y.

I had so much fun doing this cover, and I'm so thankful that Karen had faith in my skill enough to ask me! I really can't wait for the next one, when I'll actually have the opportunity to be present at the photoshoot. Karen already has a vision for the design and color scheme. ;)

Don't forget! This FRIDAY is the release date for GRASPING AT ETERNITY.
Add it on Goodreads HERE.


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