The Writing Cave has lately also been a Design Cavern, as we try to get a jump on cover ideas for our next series. It’s as important not to rush the creative process for a visual product as it is for prose, and you deserve beautiful covers to look at. We won’t let you down.
Our preliminary brainstorming has given us several intriguing concepts, plus several lightboxes and pinboards full of images. It’s really, unbelievably easy to burn whole afternoons on image research.
We’ve thrown together a few mockups, nothing too fancy at this stage. Jen has collaged some rough comps in Photoshop, while Kent fills pages with hand-lettered variations of the titles like he’s daydreaming about marrying them.
The biggest challenge is coming up with unifying imagery for all three books. That’s not quite the whole problem, though. The three books form one large story, and there are ideas at both a micro and macro level that tie everything together. We easily made a short list of relevant symbols. What we want is for each book to have a distinctive main image, and all three of those images to work as a set that exemplifies the theme. (And expresses the appropriate mood, and conveys an accurate impression of the genre, all while looking awesome.)
It’s a tall order. But we didn’t let you down last time.
Book Three of the Divided Man is almost here! To help you get as excited about it as we are, have a sneak peek at the cover.
Elsewhere’s Twin: a novel of sex, doppelgängers, and the Collective Id.
Mark your calendars! Tenpenny Zen, the second book in our Divided Man series, will be available on Monday, March 20.
Our books tend to defy categorization. We’re labeling this one as Cyberpunk although it might more accurately be called Shroompunk. For some reason Amazon doesn’t consider our newly invented genre legit. Yet.
And now, may we present to you the gorgeousness that is the cover of Tenpenny Zen:
Tenpenny Zen: a novel of sex, cults, and an interdimensional henge contraption.
Check back next week for a sneak peek at chapter 1!
It’s one week until launch day for Miss Brandymoon’s Device, the first volume of our Divided Man trilogy! We’re very excited and proud to reveal the cover design Kent created.
Feast your eyes!
Miss BrandyMoon’s Device: A novel of sex, nanotech, and a sentient lava lamp.
As soon as it launches we’ll provide info on all the ways to get your hands on it. Stay tuned!
Last night, Kent completed the cover designs for all three volumes of the trilogy. We’re very proud of them (they’re gorgeous, in our unimpeachably unbiased opinion) and they bring us one very important step nearer to publishing the books.
We can’t wait to unveil these to the world. Stay tuned for the releases very soon!
The cover design project required about 60 hours, and produced a set of three coordinated designs. But it wasn’t anywhere close to an equal distribution of 20 hours per cover. The early stages of the process took up a disproportionate amount, and most of that went into searching stock photo libraries for the right base images to work from. Sites like Shutterstock have a seemingly infinite inventory, but we found it difficult to narrow things down to the right images. Eventually we decided to stop burning time on image searches and instead burn it on photo manipulation. Kent’s Photoshop kung-fu, accumulated over years of professional design experience, was up to the challenge.
Most authors don’t design their own covers. The publisher typically handles that, but if you’re self publishing then that puts it right back on your plate and you need to budget for art and graphic design services. A strong cover is essential, so this is not a place to wing it. In our case, design skills came along as part of the partnership package so it made sense to capitalize on them and get the covers we really wanted.
Every partnership is unique, and the background of each partner confers knowledge that can be leveraged — whether that’s in the form of subject matter, story structure, process, mechanics, or production.
Everything. Takes. Forever.
Maybe we have unrealistic expectations. Okay, that’s probably it. After all, we’ve done this several times, so of course it’ll just go faster and smoother each time from now on, right?
Jen continues to hammer away at the outlining for Son of Science Novel. It’s taking (spoiler alert!) longer than she budgeted. But it really is coming together, and now she’s nearly done incorporating all the mysterious scratches left by mysterious chickens in our various steno pads, from back when we were brainstorming the story. The process might be going faster, except she finds herself distracted by the art project happening on Kent’s side of the writing cave.
Kent continues to refine the illustration for the cover of our trilogy’s first book. It’s getting very close too, in fact, but there’s always one more tweak, one more font to try, one more configuration of the title and other text in relation to the artwork… Kent claims that he’d be making better time if not for the constant distraction of the outline being crafted on the other side of the writing cave. (Jen rolls her eyes.)
It’s worth giving your projects the time they need in order to create work that you’re proud of. With a partner sharing the load, you’ll get through the slow patches in half the time and have energy left for the fun stuff.