Tag s | Branding

The Work of a Cover Designer

We have all heard the phrase “a book is judged by its cover.” And it is true. We all do it. Even when the cover is as small as a postage stamp in an online bookstore.

It is the first impression of what’s inside.

Rarely will you buy the book after you’ve read it. Instead you make the purchase before reading. What you are buying is the promise of the cover, and the title, and the back cover copy. A promise that this one is worth your money.

Our agency often gets to weigh in, with our client’s publishers, on the merits (or demerits) of a proposed cover. It can be a little nerve-wracking when the client sends a cover attachment they have just received from their publisher with the question, “What do you think?” Nary a clue whether the author is glad, mad, or sad. I can’t just get away with an evasive answer like “What a nice rectangle shape!” I have to present my first impression. More often than not the publisher has done a great job. And the times where it’s not what we hoped for there is a healthy discussion as to what needs to change.

On the other hand I wish Indie authors who don’t have agents or a publishing professional in their world would think hard before creating their own book cover on the cheap and uploading it for the world to see. A book cover is more than a stock photo of a forest, a winsome lass or lad, and a funky font slapped on the front. Many do a great job, but when they don’t it is a disaster.

In my work with Enclave Publishing, a division of Gilead Publishing, I have the privilege of working directly with the cover designers on every new release. It is amazing to see what these incredibly creative people can do.

Recently Kirk DouPonce of DogEared Design created a video to show the entire creative process of what he did while making a new cover for Enclave.

This five minute video is fascinating. The attention to detail, like creating a unique knife handle, finding the right fold in the legging of the pants, making the title font almost 3-D. He deserves all the awards he has received.

By the way, the book is a great story for those who love Fantasy. If you don’t, you probably know someone who does. Reserve your copy today by clicking here.

Enjoy the video, then look back at the top of this post at the finished work, then comment below. (click the “vimeo” word in the lower right corner to get a larger version of the video.)

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One Thing

Most successful authors are known for one thing, not a variety of things. Even if they publish many books, their name is identified with one thing. The one thing isn’t necessarily one book, but it might be. Catherine Marshall, author of the classic novel Christy, actually published over two-dozen books. …

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Does Genre Matter?

Earlier this month two literary heavyweights discussed the issue of “Genre” and whether or not it should exist in its current form. Read Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro’s discussion in the New Statesman. It all started because Ishiguro’s new novel Buried Giant is not presented as a Fantasy novel despite …

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How To Stumble Onto Your Brand…

Erin Taylor Young has a remarkable gift for making her readers laugh out loud even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith. Her down-to-earth writing style invites readers into the books that God has given her and sends them away refreshed and assured that we’re not …

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Who is Your Audience?

Recently I went shopping for a new watch. Thankfully, I later discovered I could have the old one repaired and am taking that route. However, since I’m a literary agent, I can relate everything to books, so here goes. At high end stores a salesperson was immediately available. While I …

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One of the buzzwords you hear in publishing today is discoverability. Authors must be discovered by potential readers. To that end, even though obviously selling a car is much different from selling a book, I still think we might be able to learn some lessons from Maserati. I hadn’t thought …

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Writer, Know Thyself!

I recently spent four days with a wonderful group of writers. We meet every year to pray together, brainstorm each other’s books, and laugh uproariously. I always come home feeling like I’ve had a major ab workout from all the laughter! In the course of our discussions, I realized that …

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Your Brand is Not a Limitation

It is All About Expectations

What if you bought a recording from a music group expecting their usual collection of ballads, only to hear guitar anthems? Or what if you picked up a book with a pink cover that promised a love story but ended up reading a novel where hapless and nameless victims suffered gunshot wounds on every page? You’d be disappointed, right? I would be. You don’t want to disappoint readers, so branding has become a consistent topic.

Your Best Friend

Some writers find the concept of branding to be limiting. When they think of branding the TV show “Rawhide”  and Cattle comes to mind.  And despite the awesomeness of such a theme song, they want to keep their options open.

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