My Cover Design Is Finally Done! 🎉
Hello friends and fans,
Against the recommendation of every self-publishing guide and blog out there, I decided to try my hand at designing my own cover for Lord of the Clouds! Not only would this save me a sizeable amount of money from my self-publishing budget, but I felt like I had a pretty solid vision of what I was after. I am going to detail some of my journey and experience with the design, but if you just want to see that sweet, sweet cover already--scroll to the bottom!
To be fair, I do have some experience and background with tools like Illustrator and Photoshop; though, I haven't used either of the applications regularly in close to a decade, having worked as a professional software engineer for about the last ten years.
A few weeks ago I downloaded Adobe's Creative Cloud and dusted off the old trusty workhorses, Photoshop, and Illustrator. After quickly parsing some guides from Amazon's KDP platform on proper cover dimensions, I set to work.
It didn't take long for my rusty brain to become thoroughly frustrated. Short-cut keys and operations I would have executed with ease several years ago, escaped me, forcing me to trudge my way through the design as I relearned the tools. Running short on time and growing increasingly frustrated, I did hit a wall at one point. Thinking about throwing in the towel, I went on Upwork.com seeking a professional designer to hand the task over to, maybe I had bit off more than I could chew.
On Upwork.com, I started writing out a detailed proposal of what I envisioned for the cover. Just the act of taking a time-out to write everything out in a design spec, did something for me; I'm not sure what exactly, but when I sat in front of the beginnings of my janky Illustrator design a second time, things started to flow much more easily. My resolve renewed I deleted my work request from Upwork, tossed out my first draft, and began again. That combined with the costly price-tag Upwork estimated for the quality of work I sought (somewhere around 1.2k), I pressed on, eventually coming to a cover design I genuinely love! I feel that it captures the essence of the book well, while remaining mysterious and hopefully captivating.
As a quick aside, I guess the lesson here is you sometimes need to step back from your work and try to capture your ideas/vision in other media and mediums. Stuck on a particular scene in a book? Make a quick and dirty, low-stakes painting of it. In Lord of the Clouds, in order to maintain consistency in a location that features predominantly in Part Two of the book, I modeled the entire location in Unity using some of their prebuilt terrain and building tools. This mental exercise aided me in making sure the location felt realized and consistent within the narrative, I hope.
Early on, before I had fully conceptualized the cover design, I had known I wanted to leave the title and the author attribution off of the front cover, (possibly an easter-egg when you read the book😀). With some constructive feedback and a few of my design intuitions confirmed by a handful of friends that are smarter than me, I declared my work done!
SO without further ado, I present to you, dear reader, the cover to Lord of the Clouds. Drum roll, please.
Please let me know what you think in the comments! Get in touch via the site or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading!