Anatomy of a Book Cover

Anatomy of a Book Cover

When I first started writing, my former publisher encouraged me to work on a series. So, I started writing what would become The Darcy and Elizabeth Series that consists of the following:

  • The Women of Longbourn
  • Attending a Ball
  • Darcy and Bingley
  • Darcy Chooses Part 1
  • Darcy Chooses Part 2
  • Elizabeth’s Choice

The first three are short prequels which were introductions or leadins to Darcy Chooses Parts 1 and 2. Each of these needed a cover. Unfortunately, from the beginning, we had nothing but trouble farming out the covers. First artist was lousy, and the second was very talented but uncooperative.

So, I began designing my own covers and putting them together in Photoshop Elements which is an abbreviated and less expensive form of Photoshop which gave me excellent results although I was a novice at it. At least the covers didn’t have the problems that caused us at one point to use one cover for all the series. I know, I know. What a dumb bunny I was to allow it. Never more.

Elizabeth Ann West and I were playing with Photoshop and Elements one day, and she basically came up with a cover that I went with two years ago when I put Darcy and Bingley and Darcy Chooses Parts 1 and 2 together in one volume to make Darcy Chooses – The Complete Novel.

Why did I choose this cover? Because it makes a great thumbnail. It stands out and is noticed. When Darcy Chooses – The Complete novel first published, it was #820 in the Kindle Store. Even with this blatantly non-Regency cover, this book has been in the top 100 of two genres for months, two years later. I’m almost afraid to change it.  But my daughter and I are redoing all the covers in spite of the fact that I love what I came up with to go with Darcy Chooses brilliant orange cover. But we will use them for something else as the series needs Regency covers

I was delighted when I found the cover for Elizabeth’s Choice. It is romantic, and it had a ship that went along with their trip to Ireland as well as having a lady. So, the series is being redone to complement Elizabeth’s Choice. That cover was easy as I bought it, and we added the titles and author name. But what about the other four?

Elizabeth’s Choice had the theme of Darcy and Elizabeth’s honeymoon to Ireland. Easy peasy. However, The Women of Longbourn, although having a connection to the series, had a theme related to Elizabeth’s journal and her entries a se’nnight before the Meryton Assembly. How would we show the relationship to the series in the cover? The Darcy Versus Series was a lot easier in that regard as I’ll show you in a minute. In the meantime, we realized that building a cover with similar colors and having the same fonts with the title and author name in the same positions might give us what we needed. And, thus, The Women of Longbourn cover came about, and we are pleased.The Darcy Vs Series didn’t present the same problems that The Darcy and Elizabeth Series is presenting us. It is simpler and carries the thought of Pemberley, Darcy’s home and Elizabeth’s future home.

First of all, there was no series when I wrote Darcy Vs Bingley that started out as a one-shot on FanFiction.net with only one chapter. I mentioned to the readers that I intended it to only be a one-shot and asked if they wanted more. They did, so I did more. In fact, this book shoved Elizabeth’s Choice out of the way and demanded to be written FIRST. As a consequence, it was published in the spring of 2017, and Elizabeth’s Choice was published this past February. This spring I was also working on Warring with Lady Catherine. One day I was speaking with an author friend, and we both realized at the same time that the title really needed to be Darcy Vs Lady Catherine, and the Darcy Versus Series was born. Now I’m working on Darcy Vs Elizabeth hopefully to publish this month.

DVB centered around Caroline Bingley’s rabid pursuit of Darcy, so she could become mistress of Pemberly. Darcy Vs Lady Catherine showed the lack of ethics and morality that Darcy’s aunt was willing to employ to guarantee her daughter Anne became mistress of Pemberley. Since Chatsworth has always been my idea of Pemberley, I used a painting by Marlow done in the late 1700’s. Cropping portions of the painting and flipping the scene gave me what I wanted in a series look. Because of the more serious theme of DVLC, I had my daughter incorporate the tree as a type of threat to Pemberley which is what Lady Catherine turned out to be. My daughter has also turned out to be a gem in getting different looks of the fonts that I’m really pleased with. It pays to have a techie in the family. And this is what the three Darcy Versus book covers look like together.

Doing my own covers has been a challenge but has been great fun as well. And I love working with my daughter. Although both of us have strong personalities, we really work well together…to my surprise. And both of us are enjoying this adventure in writing and design.

If you are not as happy with book covers that you are buying or having done, you might consider doing your own. It is very rewarding, and most times you can also get exactly what you want.

When the rest of the Darcy and Elizabeth Series covers are done, I’ll show you the final results…possibly in my next post along with my Four Lords’ Saga Series covers as well. Have a lovely day.

 

16 Responses to Anatomy of a Book Cover

  1. You are fortunate indeed to have a talented techie daughter to help you with photoshop. I write 17th and 18th century novels. Searching for premade covers is tough as the faces, hairstyles and makeup on ladies are too modern. My first novel cover was criticized as portraying a “fluffy romance ” which the story definitely is not. Luckily I found a brighter colored premade cover for the sequel, Lucina’s Destiny, which is not strictly speaking period appropriate but shows the essence of the main character’s personality.
    They are pictured side by side on my Amazon product page and would love some opinions.
    As for your covers. I like the orange Darcy best.

    • Thank you for your nice comments. I count myself very fortunate to have a talented techie daughter who has many other wonderful attributes. And I agree that finding premade covers for historical novels is difficult because so few artists concentrate on that area and fewer still know what is needed. In fact, my daughter and I are still learning exactly what is needed for them. Check out selfpubbookcovers.com
      I looked at both your covers, and I think that the second one works the best as it catches the eye, title is readable even as a thumbnail, and looks nice. The first book also looks nice but fades away as a thumbnail. The title nor your name is readable. To me, it’s important that one or the other be readable as a thumbnail. In my case, it is usually my name that stands out. Check out Lucinda Brandt’s book covers. Her name will always stand out. And I like the ‘Darcy Chooses’ cover also. 🙂

  2. How creative… I am amazed at the whole process. I think the author has a better feel for what the story represents and therefore has a better eye for what the cover should look like. Well done that you proved that point. Many times I’ve looked at a cover and thought… what were they thinking??? Turns out the author didn’t even pick the cover.

    • Thank you, J.W. I appreciate your comments. I agree, however, many authors don’t have the skill. They do need to know that it is fairly easy to learn how to do book covers. Elements and Canva online render very good book covers and are not as complicated as Photoshop which still flumoxes me. And authors can also learn what works by looking at book covers of popular books in their genre. For me, it has eliminated a lot of frustration trying to deal with artists and finding a bunch of problems instead. And I’m much happier with these book covers.

      Although I would have loved to have stayed with the gorgeous covers we developed to go with the orange ‘Darcy Chooses’ we had to recognize that they weren’t doing the job of attracting more Regency readers. Sometimes we have to go with what works rather than what we think we can’t live without. 🙂

  3. You’re doing a great job with the covers, Gianna. I got into making covers for a similar reason, actually. My first published books (They’re YA Fantasy), I didn’t love the covers my publisher was doing. I asked, “If I make covers and you like them better, may we use them instead?” Here’s what I did (if you want to see): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FK1CN56

    Now, those are ‘expensive’ covers using paid graphics merged together into one scene. For Renata’s and my covers we almost always use free graphics and images provided by my family, who all travel a lot more than I do. For example, this is a picture my dad took somewhere in Spain: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018MP0Z4K/. I figure, who’s to say that’s not England (probably some people… but that’s okay).

    I love your idea of using several parts of the same painting. That was really smart. These covers for the Darcy and Elizabeth series are beautiful!

    • Thank you, Summer. I’m delighted you like them. You did a good job on your YA Fantasy covers. Everything is clear and distinct on them. And sometimes that is hard to achieve. There is a lot that can be done with free graphics and photographs. A lot of nice covers can be made with them. And, let’s face it. Designing covers is just plain fun 🙂

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