Hello! I am home from the ever-fantastic UK Meet and I thought it might be nice to give a little roundup of the panel I hosted with the fantastic Garrett Leigh and Kellie Dennis.
For those of you who missed the posts on Facebook, Kellie designed three book covers LIVE during the panel, while her progress was projected onto one of the big screens. There were a few moments where our captive audience completely ignored what Garrett and I were saying, they were so enraptured with what Kellie was doing! She’s truly an incredibly talented artist – three covers in 45 minutes. Wowzer. And here’s what they looked like:
Plus one Garrett designed earlier:
What’s even more lovely is that Garrett and Kellie gave away the covers to people who attended the Meet. It’ll be exciting to see what stories they turn into!
So, our panel was clearly about cover art and we wanted to dispel a few myths and put some information out there that a lot of authors probably don’t know. Here’s a summary for those who couldn’t make it;
- Be aware of image licensing. If you (or your cover artist) has purchased a stock image to be used on a cover, you probably don’t have the right to use that image for anything other than a book cover. That means you can’t use the cover art to make, and subsequently sell, T-shirts, mugs, posters, or any other promotional items. There’s a grey area around giving those items away, so you should be fine to make bookmarks for swag, etc. Just don’t try and sell anything with your cover on!
- You can’t buy a stock image, slap a bit of text over the top, and use that as your cover. You MUST change some element of the photograph/picture; whether that’s adding shadows, light, texture, etc. This is where knowing a good cover artist helps 😉
- When we asked our audience whether they liked or disliked “headless torso” covers (also known to Garrett as “sweaty, gritty, man-titty”), most raised their hand to say they didn’t. However, no one said they wouldn’t buy a book on the basis of a sweaty, gritty, man-titty cover.
- Both Garrett and Kellie agreed that in the current climate, book covers with models work far better than concept covers (with the exception of M/F erotica, where still life image covers are still a big thing).
- Be aware of current trends in cover art and how that’s affecting the market. Jumping on a bandwagon to sell a book now isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but consider how it’ll affect the longevity of your book sales. Something that’s very trendy right now might look very dated in a year’s time.
- Don’t be afraid to put a new cover on an old book to give it a boost (especially if the cover is looking tired or dated).
- You need a license to use certain fonts! Don’t assume fonts are free!
- Clean, concise covers are what you’re after. Pick a few elements of your story and use them effectively, rather than throwing everything at it. Remember – most people are going to see your cover as a tiny thumbnail, or on a black and white screen.
That seems to about cover it! (Pun so totally intended). For me as an author, finding a cover artist who I like and who gets what I’m after is so valuable, and I found that working with both Garrett and Kellie. You should check them out –
Kellie – www.bookcoverbydesign.co.uk
Garrett – www.blackjazzdesign.com
One last little anecdote to round it all up; at last year’s UK Meet in Bristol I was talking to Kellie and Garrett about the cover for a book I had coming out, and how I couldn’t find anything that really worked. They both suggested that the title for the book was too long (at six words) and I should shorten it. That book was ‘My Prince’, and Kellie did the cover for me after I agreed to change the title.
Fast forward a few months and I was working on a new book… ‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, and One Time I Kissed Him First’. (That’s fourteen words, plus two more for my name). How Garrett got that to work so beautifully on the cover is a constant mystery!!
If you have any questions about the panel please do give any of us a shout.
Thanks for stopping by!