The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Tag: cover design

Evolution of a Paranormal Romance Cover

Restless Spirits version 1Out of all of my books, the one by far that has gone through the biggest identity crisis is Restless Spirits. It started out as a paranormal fantasy novel, although it’s kind of chick lit, written as it is from the first person POV of a twenty-something woman trying to sort out her afterlife. The cover had a dreamy looking barefoot girl in a white dress beckoning to the reader. It did a pretty decent job of getting the romance across, but not much else — not the touches of humor, and certainly not the more frightening dark fantasy aspects that verge on horror.

Dominion of the Damned on IndieGoGo – Put a Cover On It!

IndieGoGo… IndieGoGo… IndieGo! Go! Go-oooh! (cue Japanese Speed Racer theme…)

So I’ve mentioned here previously that I was planning to do a Kickstarter campaign to generate the funds I need to finalize my book cover, and also just to learn about the process so I can help other authors get it figured out. But after doing more research, I decided instead to go with Kickstarter’s slightly less popular little sister, IndieGoGo, for two major reasons:

Reason the first: IndieGoGo has a flexible funding account which lets you keep whatever funds you’re pledged, regardless of whether you meet your goal; whereas with Kickstarter, it’s all or nothing — your project has to be fully-funded, else you don’t get any money, and those who contributed don’t get their perks. That’s fine and dandy for some projects, but for what I’m doing with this particular campaign — pre-selling copies of my book — I don’t want my readers to not be able to get their books early just because I couldn’t find $500’s worth of people willing to pre-order ($500 is the minimum funding goal that it will allow you to set). This way, anyone who orders gets their books, and I get paid regardless of how many people order early, and everybody’s happy. The fees on a flex-funding campaign are a bit higher if you don’t make your funding goal (9% as opposed to 4%), but that seems like a pretty small cost for a pretty big benefit.

Reason the second: IndieGoGo lets you route your payments through Paypal, whereas Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments, which I’m really not a big fan of. Amazon Payments tends to hold your money in escrow for a while before releasing it to your bank, which, if you need to raise funds quickly, kind of defeats the purpose. I need access to the funds for my cover ASAP if I’m going to finish in time to get the book out in time for Christmas shopping. Also, Paypal is already hooked up to my accounting software and is just darn convenient.

At some point I’ll do a more in-depth post about what was involved in setting up the campaign. In the mean time, you can check it out (and help me spread the word! …please?) here, and watch my campaign video (which was going to feature me talking, complete with makeup and styled hair, but since my computer decided to stop detecting the existence of my webcam, I had to go a different direction) below.

Cover Wars

Thanks to everyone who offered feedback on the potential cover concepts for Dominion of the Damned. The general consensus was overwhelmingly in favor of the third concept, featuring a girl with a gun standing on a desolate highway, the feedback on which ranged from “least cheesy” to “awesome.” Of course, for practical and budgetary reasons I was hoping the majority would favor the second concept, which wouldn’t cost me anything to produce. But both aesthetically and conceptually I’m in agreement with the readers—I think the cover representing my protagonist is the strongest.

Now the next step is to purchase a high-res copy of the photo, which will have to wait until my next payday, and then refine the concept into something that is hopefully totally awesome and not at all cheesy—although, when you’re talking about a cover to a novel about vampires subjugating the human race in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, I have a feeling that a certain segment of the population is going to find a certain amount of cheese no matter what. And I admit that my vision of zombie hands reaching toward the girl from out of frame probably won’t do anything to decrease the cheese factor. Although that would probably be stretching beyond the limit of my Photoshop skills, so that version of the cover very well may not happen.

Feedback is also starting to come back in on the book itself, and if the consensus agrees with the first beta reader, I’m going to have a fair amount of rewriting to do before it’s ready for prime time. So, allowing for uncertainty and the fact that I ALWAYS underestimate how long stuff like this will take me to get done, we’re probably looking at a June release. Which is fine, as that gives me time not only to make the cover as awesome as I can make it, but also to get new author portraits made. Not that the old ones aren’t perfectly lovely, compositionally speaking, thanks to the EXTREME talents of my baby sister, but they were taken at an incredibly sucky time in my life, and also in the life of my hair. So a new portrait is definitely in order.

My agenda for today also includes drafting a marketing plan for the book, which I’ll share here once I get it nailed down. I didn’t have any kind of plan or do any pre-marketing for Restless Spirits, so it should be an interesting case study to see if any of that makes a difference for Dominion.

But first thing’s first, and that’s perfecting the cover. I’m sure I’ll be hitting you guys up for more feedback once I get it closer to the final version.

More Dueling Covers For Your Consideration

This time for Dominion. I have an opinion, but I’m going to keep it to myself for the time being.

First, the cover I originally mocked up waaay back in 2009 for NaNoWriMo (which isn’t really up for consideration–it’s just so you can see where I started from):

 

 

And now a more stylized and abstract version of the same theme:

 

 

And finally,  one that puts the focus on my main protagonist:

 

Which one entices you the most, dear readers?

Also, thanks for all the feedback on the new Restless Spirits cover. Since opinion was divided pretty evenly over the light vs. dark versions, I went ahead and used both — the dark on the paperback and BN.com, and the light on Amazon and Smashwords. I’ll see which, if any, has the greatest impact on sales, and then go with that one across the board. That’s the beauty of e-publishing–nothing is set in stone.

Light or Dark?

Okay, I tweaked the new cover a bit more, and I need help deciding which I like best: the daytime version or the nighttime one?

Daylight

 

Dusk

 

Restless Spirits Cover, Revisited

I’m thinking of trying out a new cover to see if it has any impact on my sales. Whatcha think?

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