Covering Fiction and #Tenlyres

First off. I am near the end of writing the rough draft of Tenlyres I. So here is the cover reveal for the second part, which will start releasing chapters in late May.

Tenlyres II cover

Today isn’t really about fiction. Today is about art.

Given my big, dumb hands, I’ve never been a natural at drawing or anything that requires manual dexterity. However, I have an active imagination, if I do say so myself. I have a lot of images that never existed in my head, and it can be frustrating not having the skills to create those images.

In general, this does not bother me too much. I get to write about my crazy ideas. I just don’t get to illustrate them. Over the last few years, I have been learning a lot about cover design. I want to chat about that a little bit.

I spent a few hundred dollars on a book cover a few years ago. That book still has not released, but the cover is good and having it inspires me to push toward publication with the story. That book requires fairly drastic editing, so it will be a while yet.

Back to my point. A few hundred bucks for a cover was what I was told to expect to pay. I’m not made out of money (Just yet) and a 300 dollar minimum price tag to produce a novel makes me cringe to consider. So, after I paid for one cover I resolved to design them for myself in the future.

I had photoshop, but little knowledge of how to use it. I had the visual imagination but little skill to put it into use. So I started to study, and practice, and figured a few things out.

At least for independent fiction, a fully-custom cover design is not normal. The excellent cover I spent 300 dollars on was photo-manipulation and not original art. That’s primarily where I’ve been building up my skills.
While I like the cover of my first released novel, “Hunter and Seed,” I know it is a little abstract for the audience. I have been careful to pursue more concrete images in the newer covers, such as my ongoing serial project, Tenlyres.

One wonderful article I read by Andrew Mayne in his book “How to Write A Novella in 24 Hours” is about cover design. I loved that article, and have taken to heart a major piece of advice from it: The most successful covers are simple. I love visual art, especially science fiction concept art, but this was great news for me. I don’t have the ability to create digital paintings, and I don’t have the budget to pay for them. I can, however, put elements together and use my knowledge of composition to figure out the best layout.

I think the cover for Tenlyres II shows a big improvement in my design skills. Just wait for the story that goes with it.

Thanks for reading.