writing

Speaking of Covers

Thanks to Vania Margene Rheault, a prolific poster on Twitter, who offers a steady diet of useful advice for writers, I bought a cheap package of photos on DepositPhotos.com. There’s a cottage industry on creating book covers. More than anything, I think the cover is designed to signal a book’s genre.

My audience—my potential audience I should say—is unlikely to discover, pick up, and sample one of my books based on the cover. Perhaps they would if I wrote in a particular genre.

As with the Classics I posted about, my books fall into three categories. There are those set in Gilded Age New York. For these, I use portraits that I try to mimic something about the story. I had to redo a bunch after I learned about rights issues—I’d been using Singer Sargent portraits at first—and the world of Open Access created a plethora of possibilities. A Studio on Bleecker Street is about a woman who becomes an artist. For the new cover I went with an image a bit out of sync for the story—the image is from 1906 and the story is set in the 1870s—but the way the subject’s face is done and that her clothes are not entirely out-of-date led me to use it. The painting is entitled Study in Black and Green and is by the American John White Alexander. It’s at the Met.

With a new batch of photo options on DepositPhotos, I set out to find a potential new one for I Am Alex Locus. I considered four three possibilities, these three and the one I picked:

The story is about a 23 year-old woman whose mother died suddenly nine years earlier. She grew up in an affluent suburb just north of New York City and lives on the City’s upper west side. After stumbling on a secret/mystery about her mother’s death, she undertakes a quest to learn the truth.

I ran the covers by someone whose opinion I trust. While I liked the first one, with its very high-resolution image, I had to agree that it was too intense. So I went with the second.

One of the things about publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as well as on other sites is the ease of correcting and changing things. I now do non-Amazon ebooks chiefly on Draft2Digital, and its pretty easy with it too. For wider circulation, I use IngramSpark for paperbacks and hardcovers. Because I’m a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, I get to post five books a month for free–otherwise it’s $50 for each revision–so I go there after doing KDP.

One of the things about publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as well as on other sites is the ease of correcting and changing things. I now do non-Amazon ebooks chiefly on Draft2Digital, and its pretty easy with it too. For wider circulation, I use IngramSpark for paperbacks and hardcovers. Because I’m a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, I get to post five books a month for free–otherwise it’s $50 for each revision–so I go there after doing KDP.

So I changed the text of the novel to reflect the new source of the photo and, voilà, I have my new cover and it’s already up on KDP in all three formats and as an ebook on Draft2Dgital. (I also took advantage of making a change to make some slight but significant changes to the text itself.)

I have done some videos on making covers. Hit the Video Link above. Or here.

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