Category Archives: Book Covers

Deceived Cover Remake

📚 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:

SBibb - Deceived Cover WIP3

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:

https://www.pinterest.com/stephanieflintauthor/ya-dystopian-cover-inspiration-non-romantic/

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:

SBibb - Deceived Cover WIP3

I hope you enjoyed this look at my cover design process! 😀


🌊 Want to read Deceived?

Purchase your copy at:

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Note: Deceived is currently available for free to newsletter subscribers, though that will change once the prequel is released.

Subscribe to the Distant Horizon Universe Newsletter at: https://infinitaspublishing.com/

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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

🍪 https://newsletterninja.net/newsletter-ninja-2-if-you-give-a-reader-a-cookie/

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Behind the Scenes – Lesson Plan For Murder

A cover for Barking Rain Press. For this cover, since the mystery involves the murder of a school teacher, the publisher was looking for something that would convey the theme (as cozy mysteries often do). So we chose to have the chalkboard background with a chalk-like font for the title, along with books and pencils on the desk, which would create the sense of a school setting. We also included hints of the murder weapon by having the concealed pills and the spilled coffee… obviously drank from due to the lipstick stain.

This is the final result:

SBibb -Lesson Plan For Murder

SBibb -Lesson Plan For Murder

Stock images from Shutterstock:

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/stack-old-books-isolated-on-white-110298509 – books
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cup-pens-pencils-isolated-74529190 – pencil cup
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cup-coffee-spilled-on-computer-keyboard-76303951 – coffee cup
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/wooden-table-on-blank-green-board-208701988 – blackboard and table
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/lip-stain-vector-241323901 – lipstick stain
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/pill-bottle-concept-healthcare-medicine-97588814 – pill bottle

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Cover Reveal! — Glitch: Whispers in the Code

Guess what!

Today is the reveal for the cover of Glitch: Whispers in the Code!

*Squee!*

There’s several things that coincide with its release (new newsletter specifically for the Distant Horizon universe, updating the cover for Distant Horizon, and the new website for the Distant Horizon universe), so I’m trying to get everything organized. We’ve finished the read-aloud for Whispers in the Code, so all that’s left is formatting. Yay!

In the meantime, I’m proud to present the cover for the first book of the Glitch saga.

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

Upper YA/NA Sci-Fi with Horror Elements

SBibb - Glitch: Whispers in the Code Book Cover

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

Blurb:

A haunted airship made from living people…

 

Nineteen-year-old hacker Tim Zaytsev is a traitor, but he never expected his betrayal would earn him the highest honor among the international community—a place among the Camaraderie’s elite council.

 

Ushered into a glamorous lifestyle of fancy airships and a chance to use his programming skills to better the world, Tim is assigned the task of finishing their secret Legion Spore project—a living airship made from shapeshifters.

 

Inside the Legion Spore, dozens of humans have been forcibly hooked to the vessel’s computer, but fragments of their memories reside in the airship’s internal code as glitches. Their faces appear in the walls, and their whispers invade the code of the Camaraderie’s base. Tim’s ability to telepathically connect with computers means that he’s the only one who can make the ship fully functional.

 

But programming a computer is one thing. Dealing with a haunted, living airship will not only test Tim’s wit, but his sanity. If he can’t learn to trust himself and his abilities, his mind will be trapped in the Legion Spore as just another whisper in the code.

I don’t have store links yet, but in the meantime you can add it to your Goodreads shelf. 🙂

Add Glitch: Whispers in the Code to Goodreads

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

I hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for updates about the release date and upcoming newsletter. 😀

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New Cover For Distant Horizon!

I’ve mentioned in the past status reports that Isaac and I have been planning to change the cover for Distant Horizon, and now it’s finalized. Isaac and I haven’t switched the book cover in stores yet, and I’m not sure when the paperback version is going to change, but you can expect to see the updated cover on the ebooks sometime in the next few weeks.

Without further ado…

Here it is!

Distant Horizon - New Book Cover

As much as Isaac and I love the old cover, we’re hoping the new one will attract more readers from the genre.

What do you think? 🙂

For reference, here is the old cover:

Distant Horizon - Book Cover

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Behind the Scenes – Hunter of Mysteries

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted the cover to resemble the other books in the series, Night of the HunterDemon Hunter, and Hunter in the Darkness. Ultimately, I played with having a brighter background lighting (the sunset) in this one compared to the storm-based backgrounds of the previous colors.  We kept the lighting on the model fairly consistent with the others. Also, I had to change the position of the ruins to have it better fit the positioning of the model. Per usual, the character is a composite image in order to create a more accurate rendition.

This is the result:

Hunter of Mysteries - Book Cover

Hunter of Mysteries - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from DepositPhotos:
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – lightning sky

http://depositphotos.com/50429945/stock-photo-beautiful-fiery-orange-and-purple.html – sunset sky

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-capital-fortress-kingdom-urartu-van-turkey-image22014223 – castle ruins

http://depositphotos.com/19531251/stock-photo-handsome-man-pointing-with-gun.html – man body

http://depositphotos.com/39716297/stock-photo-knight-and-princess-love-each.html – head

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Behind the Scenes – Hunter in the Darkness

A cover for Melange Books. We wanted the cover to resemble the other books in the series, Night of the Hunter, and Demon Hunter. Per usual, we used the same model, but a different pose of the head, and a different body, so as to vary the general look. We kept the stormy background from the previous cover, and I changed the lighting so that it would look more consistent across the cover as a whole. The font and placement of text remained the same.

This is the result:

SBibb - Hunter in the Darkness - Book Cover

Stock images from DepositPhotos and Dreamstime:

http://depositphotos.com/11103958/stock-photo-chichen-itza-mayan-pyramid.html – pyramid

http://depositphotos.com/19515051/stock-photo-man-holding-gun.html – man

http://depositphotos.com/39715889/stock-photo-couple-with-bows-and-historical.html – head

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – eyes

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

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Behind the Scenes – Demon Hunter

A cover for Melange Books. We wanted to match the cover to the first book in the series, Night of the Hunter. We used the same cover model, but a different pose, and similar lighting techniques. However, we switched the background to have more of a setting-based focus, and gave it that stormy lighting to convey mood. We also kept the typography the same and in relatively the same position so that the series was evident.

SBibb - Demon Hunter - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – sky

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-new-orleans-lafayette-cemetery-above-ground-tombs-image60673899 – cemetery

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-business-man-holding-gun-monochromatic-background-image48451524 – man

http://depositphotos.com/39716167/stock-photo-couple-with-sword-and-historical.html – head

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Behind the Scenes – Song of the Sword

This is a cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to keep with the theme of the previous books: Dragon SwordSword of DoomSword of the Quest, and Star Sword. Again, I piece-parted images of the model to get the dramatic pose we wanted, and per usual, I added specific lighting to the background and foreground using overlay and softlight blending layers, in order to make the image look cohesive. Adding a bit of “fog” at the base of the image allowed the title to stand out better while blending out the legs of the model where the stock image was cut away.

SBibb - Song of the Sword - Book Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Site no longer functional):
two images of the model

Stock from Dreamstime:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-dark-ominous-rain-clouds-lightning-image18357018 – sky
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-castle-kreuzenstein-leobendorf-near-vienna-austria-image45372240 – castle
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-roche-rock-ancient-ruined-chapel-perched-top-rocky-granite-outcrop-known-as-located-mid-cornwall-dedicated-to-st-image32326080 – rocks

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Behind the Scenes – Star Sword

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to keep with the theme of the previous books: Dragon SwordSword of Doom, and Sword of the Quest.  I used the same model (piece-parted to get the pose we wanted). In order to try speeding up the process, we fully discussed the author’s vision for the cover before I started piecing everything together. I asked him to clarify a few of his ideas, and we managed to get this put together withing four proofs (minor tweaks on each. I toyed with the idea of the flames pouring over into the series title to add more drama and flare.

This is the result:

Behind the Scenes - Star Sword - Book Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club (Site now defunct):
katana and three images of the (same) model

Stock from Dreamstime:

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-bonfire-flame-fire-forest-autumn-flames-image34236555 – fire
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-meteor-shower-isolated-black-background-image49030556 – meteor
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-roche-rock-ancient-ruined-chapel-perched-top-rocky-granite-outcrop-known-as-located-mid-cornwall-dedicated-to-st-image32326080 – ancient ruins
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-black-smoke-red-flames-photo-special-nature-protection-action-intended-to-make-better-habitat-rare-heathland-image39123676 – lower fire

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Behind the Scenes – Sojourn: Enclave

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to match the style of the previous books, The Wildlands, The Deadlands, and The Beastlands. We considered adding the other companions from this book onto the cover, but the cover looked crowded and lost the consistency of the previous covers, so we chose to stick with the two primary characters. This one used several stock images in order to achieve the effect of the dilapidated, overgrown city. Masking was super-useful for this one, as I removed parts of the skyscrapers to make them look broken, and then cloned in bits of the sky on a separate layer to make it look more natural.

SBibb - Book Cover - Sojourn: Enclave

Back Cover:

SBibb - Back of Book Cover - Sojourn: Enclave
Stock images from Dreamstime:

https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-long-span-concrete-beam-image11695956 – concrete wall
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-asleep-image21589475 – vine overgrowth
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-atlanta-downtown-skyline-scenes-january-cloudy-day-image66709798 – cityscape
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-beautiful-inspirational-sun-beams-over-ocean-image30676892 – sky

Deposit Photo Stock
http://depositphotos.com/106813230/stock-photo-cheering-successful-woman.html – cliff/grass
http://depositphotos.com/116621478/stock-photo-tourists-walking-in-the-mountains.html – male hiker
http://depositphotos.com/75580811/stock-photo-friends-group-playing-guitar-in.html – male head
http://depositphotos.com/27318771/stock-photo-little-child-carrying-a-suitcase.html – girl hat
http://depositphotos.com/106813710/stock-photo-woman-over-mountain-view.html – girl head
http://depositphotos.com/116999012/stock-photo-young-woman-backpacker-hiking.html – girl body

Destruction in Background:
https://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-old-building-image18217109
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-old-building-image18216992
https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-demolished-building-grungy-detail-partly-image49371768

Weapons:
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-quiver-made-leather-isolated-white-image34543777
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-archery-equipment-bow-quiver-arrows-target-image29842224
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-hunting-rifle-image12746386

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