The last “1000 Words” short story, Socks, is now available on Smashwords. It’s young adult themed, mostly sci-fi romance with a hint of a dystopian background. I say a hint because they’re never actually in a dystopian society, but it was in the back of my mind when I wrote it. Needless to say, I had an interesting time working on the cover. It didn’t like me.
First of all, I wanted a pair of socks on the cover, one of the elements in the story. So I decided to make it plain and simple, aiming for something like the cover of Matched. Only, if you think about it, that cover isn’t really simple. Clean, yes. Not simple. (Awesome book, by the way, if you like dystopias and romance).
So I did up a pair of socks to look like the ones in the story, threw it on a white background, used a grungy text in watermelon pink to match the coloring. Too plain (as you can see below).
So then I decide to do a soft background, one with an industrial or city look and a grungy texture over it. Ah-ha! Awesome! I showed it to a few people… who pointed out that socks would do nothing to sell the story, especially considering that it was pink… and looked nothing like a dystopia. (Nevermind that at this point I realized the story isn’t dystopia. It’s sci-fi, maybe post-apocalyptic, but not dystopia). I was disappointed, since I thought the cover was well done… until someone else pointed out that it looked like a children’s book.
As you can see below… it doesn’t fit the market.
So I tried again. Borrowed from the background, grabbed a couple pictures of people, did some more tweaking… and hated the cover. Didn’t look right, wasn’t going well at all, and I needed to be formatting the print version of “1000 Words,” not fiddling with covers.
Finally, I tried again. I borrowed the original background and softened it. Found a picture of a girl in my stock, tried to give it that sci-fi dystopia look. Made it kind of ambiguous. Image was kind of soft, so I played with that more in my favor. Added text… no socks this time, and didn’t make it pink. Played on the gray, grungy look. Liked the title being center, and added a bar running behind it.
I actually like this cover. Now the only problem is that it looks military sci-fi/dystopian… when the story is sci-fi romance (in a post-apocalyptic world). *Sigh.* Well, it works for the point of showing cover art, but if I had more time, I’d try again. Maybe a couple teens laying back on a grassy hill, overlooking the destruction of the city. A nice, opening scene. And in the gray sky, “Socks” would be written in the clouds.
Why didn’t I think of this three days ago? Now I know I need to get more couple stock photos.
So there you have it. The process behind the cover art for Socks. What did I learn? You can make a cover you like, but if it doesn’t look the genre, you’re still going to have problems.
Read Sockfor free on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/154150
Up next: I’m working on revamping sbibbphoto.com, where I’ll split it into two sections. One will be for “real world” photography, while the other will be for book covers and illustrations. Also, I’ll soon be announcing the release date for the print version of “1000 Words,” and I’m currently in the process of formatting it for an eBook.