Book cover design can be surprisingly controversial, you only have to pop into any writer’s forum to see people asking, “which do you like best of these three cover options?” and reams of comments along the lines of “definitely option 1”, “can you do a combination of option 2 and option 3?”, “option 3 without the red lines” etc. Every new book cover is a new challenge, that’s why we talk about it so much.
As mentioned in a previous article that I had been living with the original sunglasses wearing pineapple that had been chosen in a Facebook poll for ‘Laughing at Myself’ since 2019. It had well and truly become part of my intellectual furniture.
But by the time it reached publication stage (several months later than my planned release) I needed to review where cover fashions were, and ultimately make a change. My ego quite naturally decided that what we had started with was something lovely, dynamic and very market appropriate. My ideal readers would love it, and I prepared myself for their praise “well done Eden, you really couldn’t do any better”.
I was sitting in a deck chair in the sunshine when the emails started coming in. I took a look and said a loud swear which each one. The Beta reader group did not like it – at all, tastes had changed, and I had to make changes too.
The new design that the cover designer came back with I did not like, and this was not helped by my husband saying, “that’s busy”. Once I had calmed down a bit, I needed to take the designers suggestions for the cover to the focus group made up of my ideal readers. Their comments and feedback changed my mind, the reader focus group were very impressed with most elements of the cover, although they didn’t like everything.
Round three made the small changes, in line with the constructive criticism of the people most likely to buy, enjoy it, recommend my book.
What it came down to was accepting that my little baby (my book) was growing up, and getting ready to go into the world, and I had not been quite ready to let go. There are so many elements of self-publishing that are under the authors control that when you reach a point that someone else has a say it can feel a bit overwhelming. After talking it though with a wise woman (thank you Fiona), I had to accept you wouldn’t take your car to a garage then tell them how to change the gear box, or visit the dentist and do your own filling. When you make use of an expert, let them be the expert, remember you chose them because you trusted their skills.
Just another lesson in the author journey, and one that reminds me why cover design needs a class all of its own, it also shows we are always learning, and always finding out new things about ourselves.
There are lots of lessons about how to create a great book cover in the Make Your Book A Reality Masterclass Membership