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Friday, October 25, 2013

Redesigning the Prossia Cover, syndicated from @RaphyelMJordan


The following is syndicated from two posts by Raphyel: this one and this one. Both are posted here with permission.

This post is part of a series which started with this post.



Prossia had been out for a year and some months when 2012 rolled around, and I was sitting back, relaxing, and just waiting to see if it was going to take off. Yeah, I know -_-. If you’re a fellow author, you’re probably hollering “Nooooooo!” right about now. Up to this point, this was one of many numerous mistakes that I had committed throughout my first months as an author. Fortunately for me, I managed to do one right thing later on that year, and that was attending the Superstars Writing Seminar in Las Vegas.



While there, an arsenal of professional writers like Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, David Farland, Dave Wesley Smith, and James Artimus Owen, taught me the ins and outs of what they were doing to make their passion into a successful occupation. I was given numerous opportunities to sit down and chat it up with these amazing authors, and boy, did I learn a lot! However, one of the most inspiring lessons came from James A. Owen. See, he was an illustrator who loved to do his own book covers as well, like me! So, I took him over to the side one time during the seminar, and asked him what he thought about my current cover for Prossia.

He actually liked it, for the most part (I, of course, geeked out over that :P). He felt I definitely had the skills to design my own covers along with drawing some illustrations in the interior. However, there was one main issue he had with the current looks of my book. It was way too dark. People wouldn’t be able to read the title of my book from a distance or really see much of the illustration. If that was the case, it wouldn’t stand out that much if it was placed in a group of other novels.

After the seminar was over, I went home and checked out other popular YA sci-fi novel covers. I quickly realized they had a certain “liberty” about them, compared to other books. They were vibrant, energetic, exciting, much like the persona of a teenager! So, after putting my research and advice together, it was back to the drawing board! By the time I had finished, I had seven comps for Prossia’s new cover. I did have a personal favorite, but I wanted to make sure I picked the BEST one and not make my decision merely based on a matter of personal preferences. So, I placed the images in a poll and asked people which one they thought was the best. The results, to my pleasant surprise, were quite staggering, with half of the voters voting for one particular pic. So, I had the layout for my next cover…





Once my poll for the new Prossia cover ran its course, Cover#5 ended up blowing the rest of the competition out of the water. So, what gave me the idea to the winning comp? This particular one went all the way back to James A. Owen suggestion about the original cover being too dark. While I tried to brighten up the covers as much as possible, however, I really wanted to show the cosmos in my cover. Only one problem: space is black. Still, if I needed to brighten things up, I might as well go as bright as possible! :P

I took the Aly picture done in Cover #4 and simplified it, wanting to give this cover an edgier vibe. The blue was just a natural fit as well.

Now that I had a solid direction to go, it was now time to get some insight from some more professional eyes. So, in came my fellow Superstar Writing Seminar attendees. I had noticed many authors had submitted potential covers to the group before and got some great feedback. I was hoping I could get the same treatment, and goodness me, I wasn't disappointed. :) While the monochromatic scheme was cool, many felt the cover was still missing a bit of a punch. On top of that, the font I used for the title was nice, but lacking in originality. It was also a hard one to read from a distance.

Once I got all of the feedback it seemed I would get, I ended up putting the cover on the backburner for a while, given I had prequels and republishing manuscripts poking the brain ;). Even so, I messed around with it as much as I could, whenever I got the chance to do so. In the meantime, I had also called up one of my old college buddies, Brianna Higgins. I had my hands tied with wanting to meet deadlines, doing commissions on the side, and trying to find one of those fancy "day jobs" that offer health benefits. In short, I was in need of desperate help, wherever I could find it. Higgins was an illustrator and graphic designer, like me, but she had a special knack for typography. So, I showed her my Prossia logo and asked if she could make up a font based around it. Long story short, you've more than likely seen the font already, if you've seen my ads. ;)

Good art can take time, in some instances. You think it's done and then you smack yourself in the head when you realize you didn't notice the obvious. Once I finished the new manuscript, I found myself spending minutes to hours working on the final cover, changing the contrast, moving the text a bit to the left, adding a little more white in the corner after if became too busy, and then, as many images do, due date arrives and you have to call it a wrap. In that instant, I got out of my chair, stepped back from my monitor to get a good look at it from a distance. I wish I could say I had something profound to say. Nah, I just went "Wow..."

Days later, I received a box in the mail. When I opened it up, a brand new novel with the title "Prossia" was staring right back at me. I sent the printing house the okay for the book and started going to the proper channels to put my book back on the market. Mission accomplished. Prossia was getting republished...



Read the next post in this series HERE.

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