Thursday, 13 March 2014

Soulmates Saga Makeover

The Soulmates Saga is getting a makeover!  Well, the book covers are. 

I always knew what I wanted on the covers of the books in the Soulmates Saga.   I also knew that the movie poster-style covers I constantly daydreamed about was not something that I could achieve.  Not without forking out a lot of money.  And that wasn’t something I wanted to do when I had no idea whether I would be able to sell my books in the first place.

So I had to limit my design ideas to concepts I could actually put together on my personal laptop.  I didn’t know much about royalty-free stock images back when I was readying my debut romance novel Chasing Pavements for self-publishing, let alone aware of the fact that had I hired a book cover designer instead of doing it myself, they would have used stock imagery to create a cover for me.

I only learned about some of the processes involved in professional book cover design in the beginning of this year, when I was forced to acknowledge the fact that, though I loved the existing covers (why wouldn’t I, I created them?), they didn’t reflect the books’ themes, plot twists and turns, and quite frankly weren’t as eye-catching as e-book covers must be in order to attract readers.

So the search began for a designer to update the cover of Chasing Pavements.  The majority of the designers in the search results were US-based, understandably due to the bigger e-book market in the US.  I decided it made better sense to work with someone in the UK and not have to deal with the time difference, and apart from two, all the UK-based designers I contacted were fully-booked for the next few months.  Ultimately, it was Peter from that I went with.  It was double the budget I had in mind, but I decided it would be worth it if we accomplished the perfect cover.

From just a few e-mail exchanges, Peter was able to gauge the look and feel I wanted.  I was pleasantly surprised by how he used the colours and tones in which I always pictured the scenes in my book, without me communicating this.  Unfortunately, it was impossible to find the right stock images to create the cover I had fantasized about since the moment I decided to self-publish the book, but Peter made several changes until he created a design I was happy with.  What was most helpful was that towards the end of the process, Peter would show me how the next draft was coming along, so that I could see the direction the design was heading and give my thoughts.  This is something that really speeds up the process and helps achieve a design that both designer and author will be pleased with.

Then I was left with a problem.  Though my new cover for Chasing Pavements was a 100 times better than the old one, it also couldn’t have been more dissimilar to the cover of the book’s sequel Make You Feel My Love, and they just didn’t look right together.  This meant that I needed to update the cover for the sequel and upload both new versions together.  Peter offered to create a cover for Make You Feel My Love, but unfortunately he was going away on holiday during the period that I needed the new cover (I didn’t want to wait too long before showing off the new cover of my debut novel).

So the search was on again.  This time I contacted a mix of UK and US-based designers, and I knew to ask first whether they would be able to create the design I had in mind.  I liaised with a couple of talented designers (Brandi from and GX of, but together we struggled to find the right stock images to compose my ideal cover for Make You Feel My Love.  I was prepared for this disappointment however, so prepared that I had a plan B, one which I knew I would be able to create myself by spending only a fraction of what I paid for the first cover.  Provided I found the right stock images.

Thankfully, I did.  And they were perfect, exactly what I needed for plan B.  Very lucky indeed.  It took me just one evening after work to download those images from, another evening to play around with them to see how best to put them together, and then one last evening to pull it all together and put the final touches.  So, while I spent a couple of months and 100s of pounds on the first cover, I spent less than a week creating the second one myself and shelled out only £35 for it (well, I didn’t use all 12 images I can download via the On Deman subscription I purchased from, so it works out much cheaper actually!).

Just goes to show, there is a learning curve with everything, and that if you have a little patience and know-how, you don’t have to spend a lot to produce something special.  The new covers will be revealed on Saturday 15th March, 2014.  Exciting times!

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