When I began the planning for the cover of CATCHING A SORCERER, I looked at hundreds of images. I went to online book retailers and looked at all the covers in young adult urban fantasy. I looked at covers of the traditionally published authors, the small press published authors and the independently published authors. My plan was to make my own cover, but I changed my mind.
In my research, I found I loved the covers with the girls in pretty dresses. You know, like this one:
But Melantha doesn't wear a pretty dress in CATCHING A SORCERER. She spends her time sleuthing and saving people.
I also liked the covers that showed some action or an object that's important to the story. But how could I choose which action scene and which object? How could I express this to the cover designer without making her read the whole book?
Since the story is not heavy on romance, I didn't want a boy & girl cover. I would be really upset if someone thought they were getting a teen romance only to find action/adventure instead.
I didn't want the cover to be too dark. Despite the darker themes of death and murder, there's a lot of lighter stuff in CATCHING A SORCERER. So I didn't want the cover to be heavy with black. There's a lot of black covers on indie authors' books in the YA fantasy department, and I knew I wanted something different, something brighter.
So I gave these vague notions to the cover designer, and she intuitively created something amazing.
I could have put together a cover myself. My Photoshop skills are pretty good. But after looking at hundreds of images, I knew I wanted something more than just a stock photo with words on it. A quick glance through Kindle and Kobo books, showed me many of the same images on different covers, so I knew I would need to compile several photos to get something unique. I wasn't certain my Photoshop skills were that good, and the price for purchasing several photos would be the same as hiring a designer.
Smashwords has a list of cover designers that work from $40 and up. I found mine by Googling.
Tomorrow I'm going to reveal the final cover.
I'd love to hear what's important on a book cover to you?