When I self-published my first novel, Shadows in the Mist, back in 2006, I formed my own publishing company and switched from being novel writer to being publisher and art director of a product I was bringing to the market. My novel is a supernatural thriller set during World War II. I was an unknown author at that time. So I decided the cover had to be good enough to compete with all the other novel covers out there grabbing people's attention. I also wanted bookstores and readers to take my self-published book seriously. More than anything I wanted a book I was proud to share with the world, so I invested most of my publishing money into the cover design. The investment paid off. My book not only won a gold medal in an international contest, within one year it got bought by Berkley/Penguin for a small paperback deal and also by a German publisher to be translated in German. For any writer considering self-publishing, my advice is hire the best in the business to design and illustrate the cover. Below you will see the various stages my covers went through from initial sketches to final products.
When I self-published the trade paperback version, I had the great privilege to work with two talented, award-winning artists--cover designer, Kathi Dunn, and illustrator and painter, Les Edwards. Kathi Dunn was awesome to work with as she designed the layout of the cover and offered professional guidance throughout the process. She and her associates not only know how to design an eye-catching cover, they also understand the publishing business and what makes a cover sell books. It was Kathi who recommended that I hire an illustrator to paint a cover that would bring out the story. To see more of her award-winning covers, check out Kathi Dunn's website.
Shadows in the Mist's cover was an author's dream come true. To see many samples of his book covers, check out Les Edwards' website.
Shadows in the Mist as a small paperback. They assigned the book an art director to give the cover a whole new look. Illustrator Eric Williams was hired to paint the cover. He's an award-winning artist who has an impressive body of work. Eric, along with my art director, made the cover even scarier, bringing out the horror elements of the novel. I was ecstatic to see how Eric applied his unique style to my story. He first sketched it by hand.
Eric then painted the final piece in Photoshop. I love his brush strokes and the layers of texture he applied to give the cover a mystical feeling.
After the painting was complete, Berkley's design department added the title accented with black phoenixes to reference the Nazi occult element to the story.http://www.ewillustration.com/