Naima's Published Titles

Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting a Professional Book Cover Design

In his book How Come That Idiot's Rich and I'm Not?, Robert Shemin emphasizes the importance of a Dream Team to help you achieve your business goals. I enlisted professional cover designers into my Dream Team when I first made the decision to self publish my Dark Fantasy anthologies and vampire novels. I hired Derek Murphy of Creativeindie Covers to design the cover for Bloodroom. I learned about Derek when Joanna Penn interviewed him in her blog, The Creative Penn. He designed the cover for her thriller, Prophecy. I saw from his online gallery that he was capable of creating for a diverse range of genres, and I liked his designs for paranormal novels.
We began with my sending Derek images of book covers on the market in my genre. I told him why I liked these covers and I gave him a thorough description of my book. I also selected composite photos from 123rf and iStockphoto. Derek created about 8 rough, preliminary designs within 2 weeks. For "rough", they looked pretty polished to me. Here you see two of my favorites. However, the third shown here was my ultimate favorite.
I liked the strong image of the book's central character, Julian (the story is told from his point of view). But I asked Derek to tone down the shine on his face; he looked too scary for the leading man in a vampire romance. I wanted him to look like a bad boy who might ravish you, but not rape you. The blood-drippy title was my idea, but it was unreadable at thumbnail size. Derek produced several different text treatments and ornamental flourishes. He was very patient with me. I think I had a crush on this cover. I wanted to marry it. It had to look just right. And so it does! Here's the finished cover for Bloodroom.
I have found most book cover designs run from about $400 to $800. For those of you writing and self-publishing, consider Shelley Hitz, the self-publishing coach, whose blog, newsletter, and Facebook page offer great tips for free or inexpensive resources -- including book cover design! She has been tremendously helpful to me. Also, use OPM (Other People's Money, to borrow Robert Shemin's phrase) and try Kickstarter, a crowdfunding source that focuses on creative projects. In his blog, David Gaughan described his successful experience using Kickstarter to fund production of his novel A Storm Hits Valparaiso. I intend to try it myself next time.


  1. Wow, obviously I should get into cover design. That's really interesting about how the shine on his face might be the line between a "ravish or rape" impression. I have noticed how much the face on the cover of a book affects my imagination as I'm actually reading the novel. Back during my romance novel phase, some of those guys were like 80s gods: Bronzed, over-muscled, veined, and long-haired. Not my type. Cover design really is very important. Congrats, btw!

  2. Oh yes, I remember the Fabio years! And I love the Harlequins from the 70s where the guys all had long sideburns and aviator sunglasses. Little touch of Elvis, there! Thanks for the congrats too :)