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Cover Design 101

Cover designer is one of those hats I didn’t expect to wear when I started Mirror World. At the time, I was fairly new to Photoshop and I’ve never considered myself to be an artist. But the most important part of designing a cover for a book is having a vision of what it should look like and being able to communicate that vision to create a final product, whether you end up making it yourself, or finding an artist or another cover designer to realize it for you.

So how is it done, then?

Step 1 – The Vision

As I read or write the book, I try to keep an eye out for a scene or for facets of the book that would make for a good cover image. For Unintended, for example, the scene on the cover is the from the end of the first chapter. It takes place after our main character Kenzie has just accidentally married someone other than her intended prince and looked back to realize that he’s left the symbol of their union, the white flowers, to be run over by a wagon wheel.

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“He was right behind them, hurrying to fall in step with the procession, the white-flowered wedding bracelet shredded where it lay discarded by the wheel of the carriage. As Kenzie watched, the carriage started moving again and the perfect white flowers she had so painstakingly woven together from a rare out of season patch in her homeland were crushed and forgotten.”

If the book is by another author, I usually ask them what they have in mind for the cover and their suggestions, even if they don’t have a full cover image in mind, will usually lead to me having some ideas.

 

Step 2 – The Concept

Once you have a vision of what the cover should look like, it’s time to start looking for concept images. These are images that represent parts of, or the whole of the vision you have in your mind. Keeping with Unintended’s cover, this involved finding a wheel, an example of the white flowers, the cobblestones, and a puddle with the reflection of a castle in it to give the fantasy feel. You want to find examples of the colours you want to use and the things that will appear in the image and get them as close to your vision as possible. It’s also helpful to gather passages from the book that describe the various elements you want to include, especially if you’ll be giving these things to an artist or designer to work from like we did with Unintended.

Step 3 – The Design

Now that you have your concept art, it’s time to put those ideas together and create a cover image. This can be done any number of ways. We have artists who paint, those who sketch, and digital artists, and then there’s also the method of using composite images. For the purpose of this blog, let’s say we’re using composite images. For Black Lightning, by K.S. Jones knew she wanted a certain scene from the novel, but she didn’t want to show her main character, Samuel’s, face. Out of the concept images, I found the ones that most closely described what we were looking for, and that I could blend together using Photoshop to create the image we needed.

Step 4 – The final image

Typically in step three, I will be working with low quality watermarked sample images and playing around with them until I get something that works well. If working with an artist, I’ll be seeing their rough work as they try and recreate what I’ve described to them. In this step though, the design has been agreed upon and approved by all parties, and now it’s a case of making the finished product using quality materials and attention to detail.

After that, you just need to add the font – which is of course another crucial design choice 😉

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Cover Reveal: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret by Sharon Ledwith

Suit up and get your spy gear because The Last Timekeepers are back and they’re going undercover! In the Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, our heroes are sent to Amsterdam during World War II to uncover a dark secret and keep a precious book from falling into the wrong hands. This action-packed time travel spy thriller is the sequel that Timekeeper fans have been waiting for. If you haven’t started the series yet, go on and pick up The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, then come back here so you don’t miss the big reveal.

I have to say, I am very proud of this cover. I designed and created it myself and it took about a million tries to get it just right. I hope that means I’m entitled to a little bragging. Well, anyways, see for yourself:

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Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Title: The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret

Series:  The Last Timekeepers, Book 2

Author Name: Sharon Ledwith

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, WWII

Release Date: October 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

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And here’s an excerpt:

“I wonder what else is down here.” Drake beamed his cell phone across the basement, hitting jars of jams, pickles, and relishes. His stomach growled.

 

Jordan pulled the cheese from his pocket and handed it to Drake. “Trade you for your phone.”

 

“Best. Trade. Ever.” Drake passed his phone to Jordan.

 

Jordan walked over and grabbed a jar of pickles off the dusty shelf. At least they wouldn’t arrive at the baron’s place hungry. He hoped his uncle had managed to stop Amanda’s bleeding. His hand tightened over the jar, the ridges of the lid cutting into his palm. A scrape from behind the shelves made Jordan jump.

 

“Hello?” he asked, pushing jars aside. He flashed the cell phone into the small, dark area.

 

“Who ya talking to, Jordan?” Drake asked with his mouth full of cheese.

 

“Shhh, Drake.” Jordan listened. Hearing nothing, he shrugged and turned back around.

 

“I thought I heard—” Jordan stopped and pointed the phone at Ravi. His jaw dropped. “A-Are you serious, Sharma?”

 

Drake spat out his cheese, snorting with laughter.

 

“Is there a problem?” Ravi asked, tying the bowtie of his tuxedo.

 

“You look like a penguin with attitude!” Drake slapped his knee.

 

“Say what you want, but I’m glad we didn’t hit the cleaners on the way to school now,” Ravi replied, pulling down his sleeves, “or else I wouldn’t have these dry clothes.”

 

Jordan chuckled. Suddenly, he heard a door creak open, followed by heavy footsteps squeaking down the stairs. Panicking, Jordan stuffed Drake’s phone in his track suit jacket’s pocket and waved Drake over by the shelves. Drake slipped behind Jordan just in time, before the small light bulb above the bottom of the stairs clicked on. Jordan swallowed hard. There, staring directly at Ravi was a portly man in a blood-stained apron. Tufts of blond hair sprouted from the sides of his balding head. His brown trousers were pulled up past his waist, making him resemble an evil garden gnome. In one of his hands, he held a huge butcher knife, its blade flecked with blood.

 

Wielding the knife, the man pointed at Ravi. “Who are you?”

 

Ravi licked his thick lips nervously. “The name’s Bond. James Bond.”

 

Unearthing the uncanny one book at a time.

Sharon Ledwith #1 Headshot

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

 

Connect with Sharon:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seledwith

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.ca/

Google+: https://plus.google.com/116758820349834035390#116758820349834035390/posts

Author’s Website: http://sharonledwith.com/

Cover Reveal: This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J. M. Walker

First of all, if you haven’t read She Dreamed  of Dragons by Elizabeth J. M. Walker, you should. She Dreamed of Dragons is a young adult novel about a dragon mage learning to control her fire powers while participating in a royal tourney to discover the next heir to the throne of a magical kingdom. It is a sweet and magical coming of age story that readers of all ages can treasure.

This Night Sucks, also by Elizabeth J. M. Walker, is nothing like it. Launching June 17th!

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Funny, irreverent, full of foul language and the humorous perspective of a ‘former nerd girl’ who just ‘grew boobs and is figuring out the whole make-up thing’, This Night Sucks, is a novella you don’t want to miss. Just as well written as Elizabeth’s first novel, it is also shocking, hilarious, and full of sass. I could go on about it, but I’ll just let you read the blurb for yourself:

Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date.

The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire which, in turn, takes Lana and Pete’s date from a hot and steamy make-out session to an unexpected vampire-hunting expedition.

And here is the cover!

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Cover design by yours truly, Justine Alley Dowsett, with art by Rita Monette.

Saphs Book PromotionsTitle: This Night Sucks
Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker
Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy
Release Date: June 17, 2016
Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing

For pre-orders, please visit our store.

EW_bwElizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel, This Night Sucks is her second.

Connect with Elizabeth J.M. Walker:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-J-M-Walker/620043831422660
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-J.-M.-Walker/e/B00PO8Z0MG
Goodreads Author Page:http://www.goodreads.com/ElizabethJMWalker
Publisher Website: http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com/
Author Website: www.elizabethjmwalker.com