When I completed my novel, and started the editing process, I hadn’t even thought about book covers. It seemed such a faraway thing to need as I wasn’t being published soon. That thought process quickly changed, as I started to realise that a book cover is a very essential part of the entire novel.
Some people say, ‘Do not judge the book by its cover!’ Well, I say not to judge at all. People can say anything they want to say, but for me, cover does matter.Toba Beta
We’ve all heard the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but, realistically, we all do it. When I’m shopping for a new book to read I will reach for the ones with interesting or pretty covers, it’s just an instinct. This process got me thinking that I actually needed to think about my book cover, and it definitely wasn’t a last-minute decision thing. Granted, when I get published, there is no guarantee what I want will be what goes. But, I wanted to get as much ideas and concepts together as possible to create a basic book cover idea. I have a very close friend who is an artist as well, and I want her to be able to create the book cover for me, at the very least so I can use it.
I wasn’t really sure where to start with a book cover. What kind of cover would my novel have? In today’s digital world, it also has to transfer nicely into a digital copy as well as physical. So, do I keep it simple, complex or somewhere in-between?
I started examining my own bookshelf more. Looking into the covers of each of my novels and examining what kind of covers they have and what I might like. The darker covers did draw me in more, especially since I was obsessed with dark novels (fantasy and post-apocalyptic style). Covers from Lauren Kate, Richelle Mead and Deborah Harkness showed just how diverse covers can be for fantasy and YA novels.
Looking at the various styles, I found myself drawn to the gothic style that Lauren Kate novels tend to favour. Her cover for Fallen and Rapture are some of my favourite cover styles and I wanted to incorporate something similar to represent my novel. Something darker and solemn, which is more in line with my story. I started looking at everyday objects and my surroundings to get a grasp of the land and try to imagine how it would look in this post-apocalyptic world.
My surroundings are beautiful on the Sunshine Coast. Surrounded by beaches and greenery – but that wouldn’t be the most accurate depiction of a world ravaged by war. It would have more death and ruins. More destruction. I started flicking through old photos I had taken, both in Australia and overseas, and two stood out for me that I have continuously used when thinking of my cover art.
These two pictures are from different sides of the world but so accurately convey the desolation that my created world would have. I’d love to utilise a style similar to Lauren Kate, with girl in the middle and the world behind her. A background of emptiness would be my goal – something similar to one of the two photos above. I’d have my main character on display in the cover art. I don’t know what kind of pose I’d have her. Maybe in a power pose with her sword or just looking at the sky or something, I’m not too sure. But I do know I’d keep it basic, but not too basic. I do enjoy simple covers, but my eye isn’t drawn to them. I never would have read A Discovery of Witches if my sister didn’t gift it to me, simply because I wouldn’t have picked up the book due to the cover. It is an obstacle I’m trying to overcome – because many amazing novels have simple covers. But I would want my cover to draw the eye and catch readers interest so that they will read the back and be intrigued enough to read my novel.
I keep finding new inspiration every day for my book cover. I watch people move as I’m out and about and I note down expressions and reactions. I am constantly aware of my surroundings and when something sticks out to me, I take a picture. I want to get as much inspiration as possible in order to have a book cover be exactly what I’m looking for. I ensure that I am always alert and looking for different ways the scenery, and people, can be drawn and portrayed.