Freak’s Fun Friday: Tweaking Covers

Since I can’t afford to hire a top-of-the-art cover designer, I have to do my own covers. Since I was never quite happy with the results, but couldn’t say why, I took a course on how to create professional looking covers. It opened my eyes.

With only a few minor tweaks, my covers changed from good but not spectacular Indie covers to professional looking covers. Let’s take Scotland’s Guardians as an example. The artist I hired captured exactly what I wanted, and still the cover did not satisfy me.

Then, I tweaked it a little bit. The changes are barely noticeable if you don’t have the covers side by side. But the new version looks much more like I wanted it.

cover for Scotland's Guardians before / after

The best example of my learning curve (from when I started out 2 1/2 years ago) to now is Urchin King. The first cover is extremely busy and indicates historical novel rather than fantasy. Also, it has no color scheme whatsoever and not much to do with actions in the book. The second cover at least tries to show what the book is about (the royal twins). But it is clearly visible that the designer (me) was an amateur. Again, it didn’t even begin to hint at fantasy.

Urchin King old covers

The third cover is a little better, although it still doesn’t hint at the fantasy genre. For the fourth cover, I finally found the right piece of art. But even with a fantasy feel to the picture, the cover still didn’t look like one by a traditional publisher. The fifth and final version does.


Let me know what you think. Can you deduct what I learned just by looking at the pictures?

9 thoughts on “Freak’s Fun Friday: Tweaking Covers”

  1. D J Mills says:

    I love the new covers, and I guessed the course before I read the comments, because I took the same course, and learnt so much. Since then I have been learning to create the images to add to new cover layout for all my books. Fun, isn’t it?

    I also took all of Dean’s publishing courses, and was very happy I did. Helped me set up Tift Publishing, and keep going with writing.

    Next I want to take the Blurb writing course and the In Depth Writing course, so saving my pennies for those courses when I finish the current courses I am doing. 🙂

    1. Haha. I’m currently taking the Blurbs&Pitches course. I think it’ll help (I’m only in week two at the moment).

      1. D J Mills says:

        Good! Can’t wait to hear how you compare it to HTTS blurb writing. 🙂

  2. It looks like your major bit of learning was to do with typography. That’s super interesting how much just that change can change the entire cover. I’ve taken a typography workshop before, but not one that has to do specifically with covers. Gonna have to check me out that course you took. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Cat says:

      I never knew there were things like corresponding fonts. And that was just one little bit of information in the course. The best thing was the feedback I got on my homework. Another great lesson was about branding. I am a happy customer and might take more courses soon.

  3. Mildred Holmes says:

    I’m glad you took a course. It does take a lot of time to learn. It shows on your covers. One thing I never really agreed with was the alphabet style used for most books.

    Using a different font for the title makes it more memorable. My eye is so used to seeing block letters, that I skip over them. First I see the picture, then the title, then your name and then the rest.

    And the picture is one that allows my imagination to soar regarding the story. It makes me want to read the blurb. Sometimes, I’ll just read a bit of the book, instead of the blurb.

    The cover you’ve finished is one of those that makes me want to know more.

    1. Cat says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you like the new covers.

  4. Frauke Nonnenmacher says:

    The transformations of the cover image are really fascinating to see! What is that course you took, if I may ask?

    1. Cat says:

      It’s the cover course from WMG publishing (Dean Wesley Smith). This was the last one for this year but they’ll do another round early next year. The course is quite expensive ($300) but I think it was worth it.

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