Whether you’re a publisher or an indie author, one of the most challenging aspects of producing a book is finding cover art and doing proper title design. As publisher/author, you want something attractive, eye-catching. Even if it isn’t going to be sitting on the shelves of Barnes & Noble, you still need it to stand out in online listings of books. Also, as publisher/author, you want artwork that conveys some aspect of the book in a meaningful manner. In this post, I’m going to cover the steps undertaken that created the final version of Irredeemable’s cover.
My collection, Irredeemable, contains as its central theme the notion of duality, that the distance between being irredeemable and finding redemption is small. That all it takes is one decision, one personal act to not be so terrible. That’s when I jumped into the deviantART website.
If you’re a fan of viewing jaw-dropping contemporary artwork, you’ll love deviantART. It is a repository of artistic riches. My publisher (Seventh Star Press) and I decided to find something suitable on deviantART. In less than an hour I found the artwork that adorns the cover of Irredeemable.
I contacted the artist, Tomasz Trafial (as an aside, you really should check out his gallery here: http://trafial.deviantart.com) and queried him about licensing the work “open” for book cover rights.
Thankfully, Tomasz sold us the rights to use the artwork. To me, it was perfect. The two faces define the metaphor of duality for me. It also functions as an eye-catching optical illusion. Do you see it? Are the heads facing each other, or are they half-heads facing the viewer? Push them a little closer, and you even have a suggestion of the classic “Faces or a Vase” illusion. The image also has a bit of an edge that fits the tone of the stories in the collection (mostly dark SF, dark fantasy, and horror).
Now that the artwork has been selected, the folks at Seventh Star Press began work on the title design. The artwork wasn’t an easy fit for a trade paperback cover. It’s a bit too wide to fit on one side without resizing. I mentioned that I would be okay with the faces appearing on either side of the book, but the art wasn’t wide enough. SSP’s designer decided to shrink the image and block off the top and bottom of the cover.
It is important for any cover to pass the Amazon thumbnail test. When your cover has been sized down to 200×300 pixels (72dpi), are the title and the author’s name legible? You want potential customers to be able to see these two key bits of information in the return list of an Amazon search.
Once all was said and done, here is the final version we decided to use:
I’d like to extend a big thank you to Jessica Nelson of AllwaysUnmended for the opportunity to geek out over cover art!
Irredeemable is available online as a trade paperback or eBook. You can read the first story in the collection, “Caspar,” for free at my website here: http://jason-sizemore.com/2014/05/06/free-fiction-caspar-by-jason-sizemore-from-the-collection-irredeemable/.
Jason Sizemore is a writer and editor who lives in Lexington, KY. He owns Apex Publications, an SF, fantasy, and horror small press, and has been nominated for the Hugo Award three times for his editing work on Apex Magazine. Stay current with his latest news and ramblings via his website http://jason-sizemore.com/ and his Twitter feed handle @apexjason.