During my initial reading about publishing an e-book, I was quite surprised to discover that I’d need to have a book cover designed for mine. A book cover for an e-book? I went to the Kindle Store to find out what this was about, and as soon as I began looking there, I realized the “book cover” is not really an accurate term for what this image is for the book. Not a cover in the traditional sense, the image still resembles a cover and functions as an attention-getting device, as well as a tease to generate interest in the book’s story.
While talking with my writer friend who has published his back list at Kindle, I asked him about the book cover. What did he do? He hired a local professional graphic designer to design the covers for his back list books. He gave me the name of the designer he used and an idea for how much to expect to pay for a cover design: $250-$300. He also described how he’d worked with this designer, the information he gave him about each book, and the back and forth.
When I was finally ready to move forward with the book cover design, I sent an e-mail to the graphic designer Christopher Bohnet of xt4, inc. introducing myself as a referral from my writer friend, then describing the project I had for him to consider. He replied fast expressing his interest, and we were off and running. I provided a synopsis of Perceval’s Secret, a link to this blog for more information, and the general tone I wanted for the cover. Christopher asked me to send him examples of book covers that I have loved. I also told him that I wanted a clean but not too angular typeface, something a bit more rounded. Then I went off in search of book cover examples. I sent him about a dozen, both photo and illustration.
We talked on the phone next to go over design elements and ideas. We talked about the deadline and the estimated cost. After that call, I followed up with an e-mail summarizing the call and putting the deadline and cost estimate into writing. I also confirmed that the artwork would belong to me after I’d paid him for it, but gave him permission to display it in his online portfolio. Then I left him alone.
Busy with my own work, I barely noticed how quickly a month passed. Christopher contacted me at the end of that month with an e-mail and examples of a cover design for my review. I was extremely pleased with how closely he’d managed to put into visual form my ideas and preferences, making it an interesting illustration in bright colors of a conductor’s hands holding a baton, and the hands in shadow holding a gun. Wow.
My needs had changed, however, because the Kickstarter project hadn’t achieved my funding goal. I no longer needed a design that could translate easily to a bookmark, note card and T-shirt front. Christopher mentioned he’d also done a preliminary design with a photo, and I asked to see it. The design with a photo probably would not have translated well to the bookmark, note card or T-shirt, but as a book cover, it was compelling and very eye-catching. We went back and forth about certain elements and Christopher patiently showed me what my ideas would look like. From this process emerged the final book cover design. I LOVE it!
Here it is: