Cover Love-- Creating your own book covers

Feb 14, 2011

I have sort of a lukewarm feeling toward Valentine's Day. I love my husband. I don't need a single day of the year to give/receive romance and appreciation. That said, it's a great excuse to find a babysitter and go out on a date. I'm never averse to a little extra romance amidst the everyday romance.

But that's not what this post is about. It's about LOVE, yes...but it's about something I LOVE about writing that, uh, has nothing to do with writing.

I love making mock covers for my books. I'm not an expert in graphic design, and I don't even have Photoshop. My covers are pretty basic; I have two steps.

1. Make a list of words that reflect your book's themes, plot points, and characters. Then do a Google image search for those.

2. I pull the images I want into a freeware program called GIMP. I do some tweaking, effects, rearranging, image combinations, and text creation for the titles.

And voila! I get a temporary face for my book. Here are some designs I've played with for my current WIPs.

This is the cover for Devolutionaries. I had a hard time coming up with a cover for this one. I think this one looks awesome, but I'm not sure it really captures the book. [image removed]

This one is for Black and Blue. While the story is currently waiting its turn because I got wrapped up in another project, I love the cover! [image removed]

And now for my favorite...the cover for The Unhappening of Genesis Lee. A few effects turned the basic picture into something that reflects the story. [image removed]

So, my friends, what fun things do you do with your WIPs that have nothing to do with the writing of it? Have you ever made your own covers, just to put a face on your book?

And don't forget, you can enter to win a critique from agent Sarah LaPolla and editor C.A. Marshall-- and help five kids in Africa get an education!

18 comments:

Emy Shin said...

Oh, these covers are really gorgeous!

Girl Friday said...

Hah, making covers is so much fun!Particularly love the third one. I had a post on the same thing a few days ago, only I used Picnik :)

Jodi Henry said...

oh, I love your covers. I think about mine, but never sit down and do anything like this.

The hubs is learning photoshop right now, maybe I will get him to make me a cover or two for my books.

Enjoy the extra romance today.

Lindz said...

Love em! And I love GIMP. I basically live on it.

I draw pictures of my characters all the time, and then go back and manipulate them in GIMP.

Although I've considered making my own book cover in GIMP, I haven't taken the time to do it.

KarenG said...

These are very cool covers! And thanks for the info, very helpful!

Ellie said...

Your covers are stunning, especially the one for Devolutionaries. I only recently found the delight of making mock covers and now have one for both my novels.

D. P. King said...

Sweet covers! I've been guilty of doing the same thing - nothing elaborate. The blue stone picture on the side of my blog is one of them. It adds a touch of accomplishment, plus it's a lot of fun giving your words something to look at. Nice work! :)

mshatch said...

wow, those covers are amazing, esp. the one for devolutionaries; very intriguing - that cover would entice me to pick up the book and maybe read the first page or two.

Melissa said...

The third one is epic!!! You did a great job! I can't do stuff like this.... I'm horrible at doing paint and stuff on the computer...

Kari Marie said...

These covers are beautiful. I've heard great things about GIMP, but I've never tried it. I'm a Photoshop nerd.

I always have trouble designing stuff for myself. I can never get it PERFECT and then I get mad. Maybe I should try it though. Next time I'm procrastinating...

Bethany Mattingly said...

Love your covers. I use GIMP to make mine too! Your last one is incredible.

The Golden Eagle said...

Those are great covers! I like the first one--it interesting that there's so much technology and I love the virtual feel to it.

I made a cover for a WIP once--it was simple, based on one of Word's templates, but there's something about having a cover that adds a little to the novel. :)

Madeline said...

Shallee, I love them all! And I love GIMP! The third is my favorite, too. :) The picture is so beautiful, it makes me really wonder what the book is about, awesome!

SariBelle said...

What an awesome idea! I've never thought of doing this but now I have to go and make me some covers :).

I especially like your third one, but they're all great.

Michelle Merrill said...

Those are awesome Shallee! I totally want to do that sometime! And that third book? My curiosity is peaked! :)

rh352 said...

Holy flaming cow! The girl on your cover for Black and Blue is *almost* a carbon copy of how I imagine one of my characters looking. Nice work!

I like the other ones too, by the way ;)

Aleeza said...

nice covers! esp the last one--reminds me of the about-to-be-released book
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer--which is a pretty big compliment, cause that book's cover is STUNNING.
i make my covers too--its so much fun! :D

Arlee Bird said...

Popped over here from a post by Karie Marie who's doing the A to Z Challenge. I'll have to check out your advice. Sounds fun and useful.


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