This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Since my announcement last week (which, by the way, was THE most awesome day for me, thanks to all of you for your lovely comments and tweets), a few of you have asked me about the book cover for Yours Truly. Because I made it myself I thought I'd tell you a bit about how the design came about. Please note that I am self-taught and absolutely not a professional. Proper designers probably work in a much less skewiff manner!
There were some very specific things I knew I wanted on my cover before I started to design it. I knew:
The title would be written in the sky
There would be a silhouette of a village
There would be hints of pink and if I could sneak some green in there too, that'd be peachy.
There would be sparkles/stars
My book is clear romantic comedy/chicklit/whatever the kids are calling it these days and I wanted that to be apparent in my design. So I got to work using an image editing program called GIMP (like photoshop but free).
Here is a screenshot of the first design I came up with:
The design? Not exactly inspiring. While I liked the stars and the silhouette there was something about the font that didn't quite work. The IRRESISTIBLE was wibbly and unclear and the handwriting font too skinny – I like a bit of flesh on my fonts. The pink chef's hat looks nothing like a chef's hat (do chefs wear pink hats, ever?) and there's a 'Where's Wally?' style fork (Where's Fork?) hiding behind the B in IRRESISTIBLE. This book cover felt like YA to me. So I adjusted a few things and here is what happened next:
A bit better. There's a moon. I liked the moon. Who doesn't like a moon, frankly. And the fonts were much sharper. But it still didn't look professional. There was a whisk now too. (Where's Whisk?) Natalie Butterworth really wants to be a chef and I wanted to get that across. Were hard-to-spot flying utensils the way to do that? Probably not. But I'd paid for these little pictures of forks and whisks and really wanted to use them.
I liked the pink IRRESISTIBLE on this one, but for some reason the whole thing made me think of halloween. Not good when you want to release a book in the summer.
I had another bash at it.
I got fed up with Ruby March and decided to go with the much warmer Becky Ellis. Using my own name had not yet occurred to me. I was too scared. The design was improving. The white font was beautiful (I searched for HOURS to find it) and the IRRESISTIBLE was quirky, but maybe a little too harsh. I had introduced a cloudy heart and some glitter and had gotten rid of the flying utensils (you can see the bottom of them – two little black dots on the right hand border of the image. Still trying their best to fly in and ruin my cover, the little shitheads).
I was kind of happy with this one. But the more I looked at it, the more I realised that the sky looked really green. And because my book wasn't set in Sellafield, this didn't seem appropriate.
I showed this version to the Novelicious team who said they liked it, but there was something personal missing; there was no Natalie Butterworth in the picture.
This came next:
I bought the people from a stock image site. I had to adjust them a bit. I gave Natalie Wellington Boots and a slightly fatter arse. The guy (I won't tell you the character's name – you'll have to find out for yourself!) in the original image I bought had a receding hairline so I gave him some quiffy hair, which is my favourite kind of hair on a boy.
I wasn't sure if the colour was right, so I sent the following picture out to trusted pals.
The majority voted for the blue version in the middle. And so it was! A cover for The Irresistible Truths of Natalie Butterworth!
I woke up in bed one night, realising that I had forgotten the most important thing about this design.
It was for an EBOOK.
It was supposed to go on AMAZON, which meant that it had to look good as a thumbnail.
And what about online promotion? #theirresistibletruthsofnataliebitterworth is a craptastic hashtag. AND I kept spelling IRRESISTIBLE wrong!
I decided to change the title. YOURS TRULY was a title my clever agent had really liked and the more I thought of it, the more I felt it suited. It was short and to the point. It was pretty and memorable.
I spent another gazillion hours finding the perfect font, the right colours, getting the drop shadows just right…
I was in love! Some of my favourite authors had given me quotes, there was a sunset, the font was dreamy. I showed it to my agent who loved it, but missed the sparkle of the previous one. Also, a friend (the same one who told me to go under my own name) came up with a brand new shoutline (the old one wasn't connecting with the new title).
And here we were…
Apart from the space on the left ( I'm still waiting for a couple of other quotes and want to choose the one that fits best to put on the front), it is my dream cover. And there's not a flying fork in sight!
YOURS TRULY WILL BE OUT AS AN EBOOK ON JULY 4TH! Hurrah!