Choosing the right cover design for my self-published book

23 Jan

FRY med

I commissioned the cover for my novel, FRY, from Designcrowd. I had always envisaged that the cover would feature a brick wall, surrounded by flames, with the word ‘FRY’ written across it in blood-red letters. This for me, sums up the essence of my novel. However, I am not a graphic designer, so I was open to any other suggestions the designers might have. I posted an outline of what I wanted, along with a synopsis of my book and then waited to see what they came up with.

I was overwhelmed by the response. In the space of a couple of weeks, I received over 60 designs from a number of designers. Some of the designs were variations on the original theme, others completely different. It was really exciting to see what the designers created. One quite captivating cover showed a chilling close up of Alicia, my villainess whilst another showed her looking sweet and innocent as she walked away from a burning building.

My cover is primarily designed to be looked at on the internet, and will mainly be viewed very small, the size of a thumbnail. It has to stand out from a lot of other covers, and I wanted people browsing for books to be able to read the title, and ideally my name. I also asked for a version that would work as a paperback cover, which meant including the spine and back cover. I don’t anticipate selling as many paperbacks as eBooks, but I realise that some people still prefer this format, and plan to release a paperback version in the summer. By then, hopefully I will have had some reviews and a chance to iron out any mistakes which are discovered in the eBook. I’d rather there weren’t any mistakes, but I know it’s quite possible there will be, and it’s much harder to correct a paperback than an eBook.

Once I had received all the designs, I had a tough job on my hands choosing the winner. There were a handful of covers I really liked, but as I don’t have a design background, I was unwilling to trust my own judgement. Luckily, Designcrowd has a polling option, so I shot off an email to a bunch of my friends and family, including a couple of graphic designers, and asked them to vote.

I was hoping that there would be an overwhelming response in favour of one design, but that’s not what happened. My friends and family picked a wide variety of different covers! If anything, this made the choice even more bewildering. However, the poll allowed them to leave comments and these were very useful in helping me to eliminate some. Someone pointed out that the girl on one of the covers was wielding a pair of scissors, which I hadn’t noticed, and would not have worked for my book. People suggested that some of the covers hinted at different genres, and so I was able to rule these out. Another cover looked appealing at first glance but on closer inspection, it looked a bit amateurish in the way that it was put together.

The cover I finally picked, designed by artist, Jose Ochoa is the one that looks most professional. It doesn’t look like three images stuck together, it doesn’t look childish or contrived, it just looks…right. ย If you’d like to see more of Jose’s work, here’s a link to hisย website.

What do you think of my book cover? Do you think I made the right choice?

How do you choose your book covers? Do you feel they capture the essence of your book?

Next week, writer Damon Marbut will be doing a guest post on his views on self-publishing, and why he is still seeking a traditional publishing contract.


13 Responses to “Choosing the right cover design for my self-published book”

  1. rami ungar the writer January 24, 2013 at 1:58 am #

    I think it looks very cool. Personally I think I’ll do all my own covers with Photoshop, but I think what these guys did with yours was really cool.

  2. Lorna's Voice January 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    The cover is very eye-catching and dramatic. I love it. It makes me wonder what the book is about (and makes me worry a bit about what happens to characters in the story). Great job. Your vision came to a very professional-looking reality!

    • Lorna's Voice January 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      I noticed you don’t have a page on your blog describing the book. What is it about? This cover has me curious!

      • Lorna Dounaeva January 25, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

        Lorna, You are quite right! I have a website that this blog is going to be linked to but it’s not quite ready yet, so here’s a synopsis:


        Itโ€™s a terrible thing not to be believed…

        When Isabel Anderson nearly runs over mysterious Alicia McBride, she is ridden with guilt. She helps Alicia get a job at the supermarket where she works, and soon, Alicia is acting like her new best friend. But then strange fires start to break out all over the small seaside town of Queensbeach, including at the caravan park where Alicia is staying. Isabel suspects Alicia knows more than she’s letting on and grows increasingly nervous when her friend Deacon invites Alicia to stay with him. But it’s Isabel the police suspect.

        Determined to confront Alicia, Isabel bursts into her room and sees the word ‘FRY’ branded across her back in capital letters. From then on, she sees the word “FRY’ everywhere she goes; in graffiti, on toilet walls, even on car registration plates. Then her beloved cat, Fluffy disappears and Isabel is convinced Alicia is behind it. She puts up posters all over her neighbourhood, but as fast as she puts them up, someone takes them down. Soon, a whole spate of fires is breaking out and Isabel must stay one step ahead of the flames, and the police. In order to survive, she must question her own innocence, her sanity and the very fabric of her morality. Can she win back Deacon? And will she ever find Fluffy?
        FRY is a fast-paced psychological thriller in the tradition of Sophie Hannah and Julia Crouch.

      • Lorna's Voice January 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

        Wow! Sounds intriguing. It’s out, right?

    • Lorna Dounaeva January 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      Lorna – you should definitely worry ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Terry Tyler January 25, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    I think the cover is really good, but it looks like a horror novel, not a psychological thriller. The blood dripping down, etc. Having said that, it’s eye-catching and SCARY – good ! I like it a lot. I’d be expecting a very blood-and-guts type of book by looking at that cover. However, I’ve been told the cover for my latest book looks as though it’s a novel for men, not women, so what the hell do I know!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lorna Dounaeva January 25, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Terry – you make a good point, it does look a bit horror, doesn’t it? The image comes from an actual event in the book, but the book as a whole is more scary than bloody. Not to say there isn’t a bit of blood…

  4. Lorna Dounaeva January 25, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    FRY will be on Amazon from March 12th!

  5. Jill Paterson February 1, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    Thanks for the follow, Lorna. I’m following you back. WLC.

  6. Pete Denton February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Well the cover certainly stands out, which is the whole point. Thanks for the links to the designers. I’m going to need me one of those ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Lorna Dounaeva February 4, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Do you have a book coming out soon, Pete?

      • Pete Denton February 4, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

        I wish I were that advanced with my book. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Still going through the 3rd draft, then off to some beta readers. I enjoy reading other authors going about their business and readying their work for submission or publication.

        Helps me think about what else I need to do before it’s ready.

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