Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Making an Indie Book Cover – the Parker way

Making the book cover for my self-published middle grade novel, The Devil’s Backbone, was a family project. I asked my photographer husband if he would shoot an original photo for the cover. He said yes; he takes lots of photos. Then I asked if he would also design the cover. After a slight hesitation, he said yes, on the condition if I wasn’t pleased, I could hire someone else to turn the photo into a cover.

Stage 1:
Look at ALL the book covers in the children’s section of the bookstore. Yes, all of them. I knew I wanted the cover to be a photo of a scene from the book. I shared comparison covers with my cover artist.

Stage 2:
Convince my son (who portrays the ghost, Kit) and his friend (who portrays the main character, David) to be on my book cover. They both said yes right away, even before I told them there would be pizza after.
Select costumes and props (the ghost’s hat and mailbag). This took WAY longer than expected.
Choose a location for the photo shoot.

Stage 3:
White board drawings by the cover artist

-Wait for weather to cooperate.-

Stage 4:
The Photo Shoot at Gordon House on the Natchez Trace, an important place in the book. What a fun day! And my daughter (also a photographer) documented the day with more photos. Here are a few shots from the day. (photos by John A. Parker)

Acting out the scene to get into character. The boy on the right is an actor.

Here I'm saying something like: you see the ghost is desperate for David to take this mailbag.

And somewhere in the middle of all the photos, the Money Shot! This is the photo that turned into the book cover.

After the photo shoot, I went through the over 500 photos taken that day. Right away, I knew one was my favorite. Hubby looked through the photos and chose his favorite photo. We compared and we had picked the SAME ONE! No joke. (you see, that’s why we’re married).

Stage 5:
More discussion about fonts and other stuff. Finally the photo turns into a book cover. Here it is:

 I think Mr. Parker did a great job on his first book cover design. I love it! And not just because my name is on the cover.