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Judge a book by its cover

Good evening! Or morning, depending on whatever time you are reading this post.

I hope you all had a marvelous weekend. Mine was spent chilling with my family and watching my younger brother’s Zoom performance of a play! It was very well done, and I was highly impressed at all the high schoolers who still wanted to perform Shakespeare even during this time. If you want to watch it, check out this link:

Today, let’s talk about writing. Yay!

More specifically, let me tell you another thing that I wished I had known before going into self-publishing:

You are your own cover designer.


You are your own cover designer. It was very easy for me to forget that books have well, covers. I was more concerned with the words inside the book and sort of forgot about the outside of it. For I Have Something To Say, I didn’t know where to begin, so I turned to my marketing friend, Kate Bergeron, and asked her to design some covers for me, and that is the beautiful cover that we have now. She gave me many options, but the bold yellow felt right. The cover used to be white until one day, it just didn’t feel right. So I switched.

Covers aren’t that important, right?

Wrong! I know we all say, never judge a book by its cover, but that’s what we all do. Covers are what draw us in – you want to catch your readers' attention quickly as they scroll online or stroll through a bookstore. If they don’t find your cover appealing, most likely, they won’t even glance at your synopsis on the back.

So covers are important, my dear one. While working on Undaunted, I, once again, didn’t even know where to begin. Thankfully, I had my brother, who is so talented in graphic design, to design the cover for me.

But I don’t have those people around me. What do I do?

No worries, my friend. I’ve still learned a lot about covers! First things first, know your audience (this is a running theme for writing, I believe). For Undaunted, it was written for teenagers, so I needed a cover that would look cool. But I needed a cover that teenagers would find appealing, and most books for teens have dark and mysterious covers. And that’s exactly what I got! I Have Something To Say – a poem of declarations – wouldn’t work having a dark and mysterious cover. My audience was for a wider audience (mainly everybody), so I wanted to appeal to everybody. Most books that I’ve seen aren’t a bright yellow-gold hue. It’s a startling color that, I believe, stops people in their tracks. It draws attention to it.

So know your audience, and figure out what appeals to them.

Now, there are a ton of programs that you can use to physically design your cover…but I didn’t use those. That is not my skillset, so one of my favorite things to do is use Unsplash. Unsplash is great. Free photos that you can use, and that’s how I got the cover for Undaunted. Malachi found a photo that he could work with, he reached out to the photographer, and the photographer permitted me to use it. So if you are really trying to create a cover but don’t know where to start, check out Unsplash. Look through photos and see if anything fits for you. Although the terms don’t mention having to give credit, it’s really polite and kind to ask the photographer if you can use it for your wonderful work of writing.

But if you are also a graphic design gifted person, then that’s awesome! Have fun creating!

But you should still know your audience and have your cover correlate to your book.

What do I mean by that?

If your book is about a monkey that robs a bank, you probably shouldn’t have a cover that's covered in cupcakes. Unless that is, in your book, the monkey also happens to love cupcakes and ends up living in a cupcake factory. But if this book about a monkey that robs a bank has nothing to do with cupcakes, your cover shouldn’t include cupcakes.

The cover of Undaunted doesn’t have any images on the cover, but it does have blue smoke, which makes sense because the main character smokes a lot. And no, smoke is not traditionally blue, but that was a little creative liberty.

So your cover should correlate to what your book is about!

And that, my dear friends, is my writing advice to you today.

Remember, beloved, you are deeply loved and held by a Father Who will not let you go.

Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash


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