It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times – A Tale of Two Covers

I’ve been using graphic design and photo editing software for over a decade. This makes me old, and it makes me sad, because as of yet I still have no concept of design.

I took design classes, art history classes… I drank a lot, smoked a little… I even spent three weeks naked under a bridge in Paris in the hope of somehow becoming an artist. But I cannot design to save my life.

The major reason for this: I don’t know what looks good.

That’s why my wife doesn’t ask me for advice on fashion, interior decorating, or extreme body modification.

So when it came time to create covers for my ebooks, I did what any idiot who can’t design would do: I designed my own covers.

And the results were… well… terrible.

Exhibit A: Catholic Guilt and the Joy of Hating Men – Version 2.4

I can’t tell you why this cover is no good. The truth is, I can’t even tell that it’s no good. All I know is that it doesn’t look like the other covers, the ones that are good.

So I had to do something. I couldn’t keep living like this.

So the first thing I tried was getting feedback. But even though people could tell me I sucked, they couldn’t tell me how to fix it. Let’s be honest, if you could tell someone how to “not suck” and they could just go ahead and do it, we’d all be much more accomplished and there’d be no one left to do all the less interesting jobs, like tech support or turkey insemination.

The next thing I tried to do was get a graphic designer to help me with my typography. “If I can just fix the fonts and kerning and whatever… then everything will be okay.” The artist replied that he hated my covers and wouldn’t touch them with a ten foot pole because he needed to preserve his professional integrity. (not the harshest feedback I’ve received for my work)

So what could I do?

I had to buckle down and actually get someone else to make my cover. Rather than try and buy fifteen separate covers, I decided to focus on my short story collection. (I’m still trying to figure out how to fix the other covers)

I asked Chri at Skyswept Art to help me out. I liked one of the premade covers, but I wasn’t sure if it matched my subgenre (truth is, nothing matches my subgenre because I have deep-seated issues). But I couldn’t get that one image out of my head, so I ended up asking to go with that one, despite the fact that I like to cram as much text onto a cover as humanly possible.

This is the result:

I still can’t tell you why Chri can make covers and I can’t.

“See all that stuff in there, Homer? That’s why your robot never worked.”

All I do know is that I’ll definitely want Chri to look at the cover for my upcoming novel next.

Oh… and I need to get rid of all my old covers, too. I guess that’s a nice problem to have.

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