📚 Today I’m taking a look into how I redid the cover for the first book in the Deceived series (formerly called Galina’s Saga).
Part of the process for the 🍪 Newsletter Ninja Cookie Challenge I just completed was to get a cover for your cookie (a cookie is a reader magnet for your newsletter).
If you already had a series started, you could provide the cover artists with example covers you already had. If you were starting a new series, a worksheet (blerksheet, for those of you familiar with Newsletter Ninja) was provided to help you figure out which genre conventions to include.
I chose to do my own covers rather than hiring an artist (since I already generally do my own covers).
Additionally, I wanted to redo the cover design for the whole series before figuring out what the cookie’s cover would look like.
This is my process for redoing that cover art, based in part on the process from the Cookie Challenge’s worksheet.
Deceived has been through three cover styles at this point:
While I like all of them, I wanted to really lean into the YA scifi dystopian aspect.
The first cover sort of leans the right direction, but doesn’t really have a good focal point. The second cover is true to the story and showcases the superpowers aspect, but doesn’t quite fit with genre trends.
This is my most recent version:
To create this, I narrowed down a Pinterest board of books in the YA dystopian genre, specifically those where it didn’t look like romance was the main plot (because dystopian romance has a different cover scheme).
This is the Pinterest board I created:
Now, in theory, I should probably be focusing on indie published books, since I’m also an indie author.
However, I chose to include both self-published and traditionally published covers, searched from both from Amazon and from Kobo.
Additionally, while the worksheet originally suggested aiming for the top 100 from Amazon, I didn’t restrict my search specifically to that. Reason being that I wanted to niche down further into non-romantic dystopia (a lot of the top 100 on Amazon were either dystopian romance, post-apocalyptic, or set in space, which has a different look).
Since my strategy is going wide rather than in KU, I figured it might not hurt to choose from a wider sampling. (Testing and time will tell if this was a bad idea).
From that research, I marked all the various commonalities I could see, and how many covers those traits appeared on.
From that list, I determined that the most common elements I wanted to focus on were:
* Blue/White Combo
* Bold Font
* Sans Serif Font
* White Font
* Plain/Simple-ish background (usually with gradient or vignette)
* Grunge/Broken texture of some sort
* Title in Middle
* Large Symbol
* Horizon or City Visible
Ultimately, I chose to go with a white gold title instead of white, because I wanted it to look a different from the Divergent and Steelheart covers (which I wanted to lean toward since I think those are the closer matches for target readers), and I figured the gold would work well to harken to the yellow/orange splash found on a few of the other covers.
I didn’t go with a specific symbol, like I initially wanted, because the story didn’t lend itself to one.
After feedback from Tammi (course instructor), and other students in the Cookie Challenge course, I added a bit more interaction between the title and the cover (more water splash/glass breakage), and tinkered with the gradient. I also made the author names bigger so they’d be more likely to be visible at thumbnail size.
This is the final result:
I hope you enjoyed this look at my cover design process! 😀
🌊 Want to read Deceived?
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Looking for more information about cookies/reader magnets?
I’d definitely recommend Tammi Labrecque’s book:
Newsletter Ninja 2: If You Give A Reader A Cookie