Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cover Design Decisions by Farah Evers || A CAT'S TALE


Today, professional cover designer Farah Evers is visiting with me, talking about the process behind cover creation. Farah designed my new cover for A CAT'S TALE as well as all of the covers in my Loki's Wolves series.

Getting acquainted with the FED process

Having created over 130 covers, I’m now familiar with what passes as an appropriate and marketable cover in various genres. I’ve had a few years to look into that.

Usually, when clients request a cover from me they have to fill a form. Through said form they will answer questions pertaining to their stories. Then there’s a “Thoughts” field where the author can tell me what they’re thinking or hoping to see. I don’t usually allow the author to dictate what goes on a cover, but I do take ‘thoughts’ into consideration. 

There are many reasons I don’t allow full author control, but one of the reasons is that you, as an author, are too close to your work. Let alone the fact that cover design is a whole different beast from writing in the genre. There’s more technical stuff involved, marketing and research strategies really, rather than just pure creativity. Not that creativity isn’t as important to the process. It sure is.
While some people regard covers as a matter of opinion and taste, I’m here to tell you that because a designer doesn’t know your story inside and out like you do, they have a secret weapon in the creation process. This makes for powerful covers!

Professionals will look into the market (not the indie market) and see how the industry approaches your genre.    

I also have a “I want my cover to resemble the style of:” on the form. This field is usually for authors to name other book cover designs whose styles they’d like emulated into their own. 

Exceptions to the rule!

I’m uptight and rigid about my rules because I like to maintain a high standard. However, my leniency will break through for some people. What I’ve described above as the normal process doesn’t apply 100% when I’m dealing with certain clients. 

When Melissa Snark requested her cover for A Cat’s Tale, I waited for her input. We have a special work rapport. Snark usually points to models or images she prefers to see on her covers. I’m not fond of putting models and faces on covers, but I will make exceptions in some cases. (If you’d like to know why, visit my website. I have an article that explains when models and faces should be placed on covers.)

Snark also requested her signature font be used, which I didn’t fully agree with because fonts add to vibes and general feel of a cover. Snark’s signature font is by nature quite harsh. Putting it on top of deep bleeding scratches just didn’t give out the right feel. I decided to use a soft, more subtle font, which was used on the final version of the cover, even though I purposely chose it to soften the original concept.

Anyway, this time, Snark didn’t pick out a model. She pointed to a cover idea she wanted. She
Concept Draft Cover
showed me a female back with scratch marks and said she liked that. It was an easy concept to replicate. We agreed on feline scratch marks as opposed to human nail scratches to indicate that the female was a werecat. The scratches were placed on a naked male back. The image had an erotic feel to it from the couple depicted. 

Trial & Error

The cat scratch marks, were a little too deep and red, which gave off a bit of a scary vibe, rather than a paranormal feel. Of course, any cover project can be salvaged, saved, changed, fixed…etc. until it meets the right criterion. There were several revisions, but I didn’t present them. People fail to realize that the cover process is mostly progressive work. Initial ideas come about and are worked through until the cover reaches its final design. I have a reputation for hitting a homerun 90% of the time, but when there’s author input, I become nothing but an execution machine; a bit robotic in my approach. I lose my conceptual edge, which is what separates me as a designer. I’m not saying it’s necessarily the ‘correct’ way, I’m just saying that’s how I operate.

Final Cover
With a bit of patience and a few more revisions, the cover could have been fixed. But, sometimes when a concept doesn’t catch on with the client, it just doesn’t. Far be it from me to impose anything on anyone. At the end of the day, authors need to like their covers. I know in traditional publishing, they won’t have a choice, but this is the indie world! So, Snark pointed to an image of a couple kissing, and a Siamese cat’s eye. Those were the ingredients of a typical PNR cover. The collage effect is something we see in most indie covers, whether they’re erotic, PNR, horror, or whatever. The indie world loves collage. I assembled the cover, and quickly knew this was going to be a big yes from her. It was a big yes from the indie community as well, as this type of cover is what’s considered popular.

If you enjoyed this little rambling. Keep an eye out for my next article on FED entitled “Book Covers Are Not Movie Posters.” I discuss everything from the collage effect to indie cover trends, and much more.




About Farah Evers:
  • 13 years experience in the field of Graphic art & design. Scope of work includes professional website design. (Evers Hosting)
  • Over 130 covers and counting...
  • Award winning book covers.
  • 2013 Epic Ariana Award winner for Paranormal/Fantasy genre.
Small Publishers that contract with Farah Evers Designs:
  • Twin Trinity Media
  • Random Distraction Publishing
If you'd like to contract with FED as well, email: info@farahevers.com

Farah also talks about what makes for a sensational cover here.
 
http://farahevers.com/

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for having me! It's always a pleasure being on The Snarkology. I wanted to emphasize that the success of "A Cat's Tale" is mostly due to Snark's insights as to what she wanted on her cover, and not much credited to me, other than my experienced hand on execution.

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    1. Farah,
      I appreciate you taking the time to visit with me today and share your insights on cover design. (I need to dig up the link to the first post you did for the Snarkology on covers.) I'm not a visual artist so I find the subject really interesting even though I could never execute a successful cover no matter how much I tried.

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