Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Indie...Stuff. And More.

Good morning, good morning, good morning! No matter what time of day you're dealing with, it's morning somewhere.

That being said, today is the second Wednesday of February (even though I'm posting this Tuesday Night) and that means the Indie Life bloghop!

Now, I'm just starting to get my feet wet in the Indie pool (although I'm trying for traditional on some of my work) but I still have tons to say on the subject. Every subject, really. Hm...anyway.

Over the last two years (since I quit my job to write) I've learned a lot. Website, check. Editing, check. E-book formatting, check. Lots of research, lots of...well, checkmarks. I've still got a great deal to learn, and I'm loving it.

One thing I still struggle with is cover design. From the information available on the internet you'd think that the principles of cover design were a trade secret that must never be discussed. I found "Look what I did!" and "See all my wonderful covers" (most of which made me cringe) but no real information. Here a little and there a little: the law of proportions, the rule of thirds, etc.

Now I know a lot of people are going to gasp in horror at the idea of doing my own covers, but there's a simple fact at work here--I have to. I am currently unemployed and I have NO discretionary income. The editing that I can't beg someone else to do is in my lap. The formatting, ditto. I CANNOT pay someone else to do this for me.

So I work at it. I think I'm just starting to have some idea of what makes a good cover design, and usually it's well outside my own abilities. That being the case, I do a lot of experimenting and try to figure out how to get the effect I envision with what I do have (Since I got GIMP it's been much easier).

So below are a couple of very tentative cover design ideas.

The world I usually play in is extremely diverse, with quite a few different races (including dragons, mer, humans, aliens etc). The stories are cross-genre science-fiction and fantasy and I simply do not have the skills to create people of the various races. Maybe someday, if I keep working. That being the case, someone suggested that I come up with a symbol that would create a "brand" for that world, and I settled on the gordion knot. This version is a picture of a sword I have in my room, with the gordion knot (an endless knot, with no beginning and no end) wrapped around it. I wanted the "knot" metallic, but I haven't figured out how to do that (yet) and I think the contrast on the sword needs to be stronger.

Gordion knot again, because it's in the same world. For this one I culled a tree from one of my paintings and used a foggy background. It doesn't seem as coherent as the sword version, but the clean background just didn't look right. It's tentative for the second book in the EarthSoul series (currently only two books, but with the potential for more). I like the tree, but I think the green is all wrong.

Same world, but I had another idea. For this one I used some foggy day pictures of the trees in my yard and a picture of my great-great grandmother. I like this one the best of the three, and although it gives me the "feel" of the book and represents a couple of the book elements it really doesn't say "Sci-fi/fantasy" to me. Believe it or not, the green text is easier to see in the small size than the black. I tried both. This is for the first book in the EarthSoul series.

Let me know what you think. Have you ever tried to create your own covers? Would you mind sharing?


  1. Yes, I've done some of my own covers. I have Photoshop and really work at it. I enjoy it. Plus, I'm picky. Once my business is off the ground, I'll outsource, but for right now, I don't mind.

    Nice work.

    1. I enjoy it too--I'm just not very good at it yet.

  2. I wouldn't know where to begin on creating covers. I have a hard time trying to figure out the most simple things on my computer but I've triumphed the formatting and editing thing. Me eye-brains cross when I think of making my own covers. So I pay for them...dearly.

    Great post! Love your voice.

    Oh I liked the first cover and the last one.

    Hugs and chocolate,

    Found you through the Indie Life.

    1. I like computers, but they don't like me. Eventually I'll figure it out.


  3. I love the one with your grandmother and green is my favorite color. Go figure I live in the desert. Still, I really like what you've done!

    1. Thanks. I think desert people like green BECAUSE they seldom see it.

  4. For me the first one is a sharper image, so I like that, I like the tree with the gordian knot, but I'd probably like it better with a different background. We had to change the cover of our books. The first one of the first book actually got a bad review. My husband paints in oil, but had never done graphic design, etc. I finally convinced him to give it a go. It seems like everyone, including myself, loves the new covers. I think you're wise to experiment:)

    1. I'm still playing with the tree. Lots of possibilities there, but nothing that looks exactly right. I figured out how to darken the sword, so that one looks a bit better.

      Next I need to try one for Labyrinth, which was my NaNoNovel last year.