Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Getting it covered

As I continue to work on self-imposed revisions to III Crimsonstreak, we're getting closer to the release of II Crimsonstreak. By closer, of course, I mean fall 2013. It'll get here before I know it.

I received an email from the publisher asking if I had any ideas for the cover.

Of course I did. OF COURSE I did.

I spend plenty of time writing and revising, but I also like to play around with Photoshop. So during a period of writing inactivity (shortly after the completion of the first draft of II Crimsonstreak), I started outlining some cover ideas for the sequel.

I did the same thing for I, Crimsonstreak. I mean, even when I wrote the first draft in 2007, I started coming up with cover concepts. They all SUCKED. Every single one of them. Like writing skills, Photoshop skills improve over time with practice. I toyed with the idea of self-publishing I, Crimsonstreak--seriously, it almost happened--before submitting to Candlemark & Gleam. Because of that, I came up with a bunch of cover concepts. I can't draw worth a lick, so I used stand-in heroes like Captain Canuck and the Flash for Crimsonstreak. I just enjoy tinkering with that kind of thing.

Were those attempts fantastic? Of course not. While I'm not terrible with Photoshop, I'm also not an expert. In addition, I've never been "trained" in publication design; I always go with my gut. I'm the kind of person who can tell you that I like or dislike something, but I often struggle with telling you why. Perhaps that's the essence of design.

When Candlemark & Gleam accepted I, Crimsonstreak for publication, Mastermind Kate asked me if I had any ideas for the cover. It was like asking a person who'd just returned from vacation if they had any pictures ("I just happen to have the slideshow ready, folks! Here we are booking the hotel online..."). I had probably six or seven concepts and emailed them.

The artist's original conception (the back cover picture of Crimsonstreak in a straitjacket) didn't quite give the right "feel" for the cover. When I saw the proofs of two new concepts, I was pretty darn surprised to discover that one of them was based on one of my ideas. We ended up getting a GREAT cover from artist Brooke Stephenson.

That's one of the cool things about going with a small press or self-publishing; you get a little more control over things like that. I've talked to other authors who've recounted stories of being shown their cover and told, "There it is. Enjoy!" While I'm sure it's not like that in every case, it's nice to have some input.