Oops, sorry if I made you worry. I haven’t been sick or committed to a rehab program. Even if I were, most of my close friends will tell you not to get concerned, that I’m beyond help anyway.
I guess I should have said, re-covering. As in I’m redoing my covers.
Why you ask?
Here again, you obviously didn’t see or hear my close friends shaking their heads violently and yelling, “No. No, Do. Not. Ask. Why.”
Ha. Ha. Too Late.
Back in 2014, when I was getting ready push Horses of Tir Na Nog: Book One out in front of the world, I started thinking about my cover. Even before I started writing I’d had a picture from a postcard in mind. The postcard had a girl and horse on it and conveyed the message I wanted people to see but it wasn’t quite what I wanted. Mainly, the girl had blond hair, while my main character, CJ, had dark hair. Which made the background and horse color all wrong too. Other than that, it was kinda perfect.
Simple solution, hunt down the artist and ask him to redo his post card. (Stop laughing. A giggle here would be better because it’s going to get funnier.)
Turns out, the post card was from the Netherlands and the artist lived in Amsterdam. No problem, our next trip will definitely be to Amsterdam! Two trips by me and one by my sister-in-law and no luck finding the artist. We even checked Belgium, France and England, twice just in case. (Hey, we were already there so, why not?)
Time for plan B! Show the postcard to my many artistic friends (actually two friends and a girl I met at our friend’s wine bar) and ask them to slightly modify it. You know, different girl with dark hair, different horse, new background, maybe insert a bit of sky and a cloud or two, have the horse smiling … Just a few changes.
Implementing plan B taught me that artists a) don’t like to be told what to do and b) all had preplanned vacations at the same time as I needed my cover done. (I’m sure they’re all friends with the our friends who always had plans whenever we moved.)
Onward to plan C! Do my own cover. I sketched out my stick figure horse and girl and showed it to my sister-in-law who works for the LA County Museum of Art, restoring art from when cave people roamed around and centuries thereafter that I’ve never heard of.
Her first question, when she finished snorting was, “Why does your horse have a trunk and big ears shaped like Africa?” Before I could answer, she downloaded MS Publisher, pulled up Shutterstock and said, “There you go! Have at it!”
Several weeks later I’d figured out how to get into Publisher and create an account with Shutterstock. Ah, now to find the perfect picture! Do you know what happens when you put “Girl with Horse” in Shutterstock’s search window?
Weeks and weeks of sleepless nights later, somehow, the perfect picture popped up in front of me. (Yup, that would be the one on my cover. Which I love and have no friggin idea where it came from at 2 am one dark night.)
YAY! All I need now is a title and some words and Yip, Yip, (as Casey would say) my cover is done!
Seven painful (make that very painful) weeks with little food, washing potato chips and grease out of my keyboard and lots of beer, my 15th attempt looked pretty good. Well, sorta. Two more attempts and I sent it off to a friend in England and another writer, with artistic talent, in Virginia, pleading for help.
Lots of emails, lots of tweaking, numerous unintentional deletions and I finally had a pretty good looking cover. Which I then uploaded to Amazon to replace my uh, not so good looking first cover.
YES! I did look into having my cover professionally done. Around week 1 and ¼, week 3, week 3 and ½ and pretty much every week after that when I ran out of beer and Office Depot ran out of color cartridges for my printer. Problem was, they wanted 6 months advanced notice and a ton of money. The latter of which I had now invested in Office Depot.
Slow forward to 2018. I’ve gotten better with both Publisher and Shutterstock. Perhaps braver would be a better term. People, well most of them, no longer break out laughing when I show them my idea for a new cover and some have even oww’d and ahh’d. I’m pretty sure those were the noises I heard.
Almost all of the comments I’ve had on my covers have been extremely positive on their overall attractiveness and how the pictures accurately reflect the story within each book. Thus, I’ve kept the pictures and tried to make the overall cover more attractive and professional looking.
And, so here I am. Making you the very first people ever (not counting my coauthor Casey, my wife Sheryl, my friends in England and Virginia, oh, and my neighbor across the street) to see my new amazing, dazzling, suck your eyes in covers!
I’m only going to show you the three trilogy covers for now. Why? Because they’re finished and the others aren’t quite. I promise I’ll have the others done and put them in another post, soon.
All comments are greatly appreciated and accepted. As long as they start with “I love your’ new covers”. If you don’t like them, it’s okay to let me know but, I’ll just ignore them for these covers since I am not doing them over again! As I always do with comments though, I will consider them for whatever I do next; whether I do my own cover or shop it out,