As you probably already saw in my previous entry I've been working on the book cover for my Paranormal/Mystery/Sci-Fi novel "THE BRIDGE". It's been an interesting experience. I do not recommend it for everyone unless you're an artist yourself. I'm loving it because I have way more control over the creation of the image that is going to basically be my "Introductory Handshake" to the world. I've seen images used on books that I thought were interesting but did not always have all that much to do with what actually happened inside the story. There were some with a scene displayed on the cover that never appeared, even remotely in the story and I always found that a bit frustrating. I know we all want to capture the audiences imagination and interest, but I want to make sure I'm being fair about it.
Now given that the title of my novel is "THE BRIDGE" I could've just gone with a bridge from around the right time-frame as the one in the story, but I wanted to add some clues as to what or who the reader may encounter on that bridge. So I added the figure. In the story itself there is a legendary ghostly figure who haunts that bridge, "The White Lady" who is supposedly searching for the baby she lost from it many years ago. Is this figure her? Why does her hair seem to flow and move like Medusa's? Is she even human? Are we seeing some kind of Gorgon? Or is she something much more unique and different?
I'm not telling at this point, can't give away too many spoilers. But you can see and understand why I've made the choices I have with the image. I went for such a stark black to draw the eye to the figure itself and the title which I incorporated into the image. This is the "Star" of my show in this image. I want the audience to take note of these things and then let their eyes travel over the rest of the image, which is the stage she is standing on, so to speak. I learned this from my many art classes over the years. You have to decide where you want the audience's eye to be drawn to, while still allowing them to enjoy the rest of the piece. And that's what I've done here.
Now whether you're doing your own book cover by hand or on the computer using Photoshop, or a free book cover creator offered by some of the e-book programs, or hiring an artist to do it for you, make sure you keep things like this in mind. What is the "Star" of the image? Is it actually relevant to the story? Is it the image of your hero or a key villain? Either is okay, but I recommend having your hero somewhere if you use the villain so people know who's the good guy. Why would you use a villain more prominently on a cover? Simple, the more impressive your antagonist seems to be, the better your hero is going to look when they rise to the challenge and overcome the villain's plot. Look at post movie posters, when we see Darth Vader or the Emperor looming large on the page, dwarfing Luke and the others, we know our heroes are up against incredible odds and we're already rooting for the good guys to win and are anxious to know how they're going to do it.
As you can see, just as much thought needs to go into your cover as it does your story. As I've said before in this entry, that cover is your way of introducing yourself and your product to the audience and the world. Make a great impression, one that really knocks their socks off!
That's all for now. I may try for another update before Christmas. In case I don't get the chance, I wish you all a wonderful and happy holiday season, whatever you're celebrating my friends. I'll be back before the end of the year, hopefully with a big announcement. Until then, take care and keep writing.
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