Another (designer) bites the dust…

Oh, the angst of book cover design! I have previously posted several times about my first experience with a designer, such as I need your help! and When does it pay to pay a pro? After a couple of attempts, we’d parted amicably and I then proceeded to design the cover myself, blogging about the continued angst in Do you prefer the apple or the orange? and The never-ending cover story. The final result is now on Amazon Kindle. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback on it, including from The Book Designer’s ebook cover awards!

Then, for whatever reason, when the time came to turn the ebook cover into a paperbook cover, I lost my cool. I decided to pay someone to make it better. What kind of pills do doctors prescribe for perfectionism combined with self-doubt?

Anywho, I’d contacted several designers and asked them to turn the existing design into a wrap. They all promptly turned me down, as they would prefer to do one from scratch and ram their ideas down my throat, but then one agreed. I was so excited! I thought it would be easy, too – I had the exact idea in mind, just wanted someone with excellent Photoshop skills, experience, and a keep eye to polish it.

The designer had one go and sent me a jpeg to review. I very politely explained that I wanted the rip to look realistic and that I wanted some kind of a cool treatment to the title. The designer had another go, slapping a stock-standard title font on and making a complete mess of my photo and bio. She finished the email with “let me know if this is good to go”.

I again politely explained that no, it wasn’t “good to go” and made a dot point list of what I wanted changed, attached photos of examples, and even a link to creating a realistic paper rip.

I got back an invoice with a link to download the final file upon payment. I replied that I was not going to pay, unless I had a look at what I was getting. I got a jpeg. Still a mess.

There were a couple more emails back and forth, rapidly decreasing in politeness, and I think we have now parted ways, albeit not so amicably. I have not paid, so I won’t reveal the designer’s name (unless we continue to battle over this). Instead of battling, I did the wrap myself today, in about three hours. Turns out, CreateSpace have a template creator which automatically makes a pdf with exact dimensions for you. Then it’s a matter of dropping in your existing cover layers, extending the background, and adding the blurb and bio. I’ve even bought a new paper rip photo from Shutterstock. What do you think?

Shizzle, Inc paperback cover 14 November

89 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

89 responses to “Another (designer) bites the dust…

  1. On Becoming a Lemonade Maker

    I love your cover! You have some mad skills! (**secretly jealous **!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you! I did spend a couple of years as a landscape architect and Photoshopping design ideas for clients were part of my regular work. I’m actually amazed that I still remember how to do it a decade later…like riding a bicycle…

      Like

    • Way to go, Ana I do all my book covers for my books and ditto on the illustrators. I had two ask me for the money before I even saw their work on my project. It bees that way sometimes.
      Keep up the good work. By the way I’m talking to the CEO at Create Space after their creator screwed up my book cover, as we speak, but they did refund my money for the proof.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you 🙂 I can’t believe you could be asked to pay for a “cat in a bag”. Glad you are getting your money refunded, but you also have delays and lost opportunities…I’m just lucky to have some Photoshop skills, feel bad for people who have no choice.

        Like

  2. Anna, I’m not a graphic artist, but I’ve (professionally) looked at thousands of book covers, and I suggest two tweaks: make your author photo a little smaller, and adjust the text so it doesn’t bleed into the tear. Hope this is helpful.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you! I do agree that my photo should be smaller, but the reason for title and blurb getting cut off was to make the tear more realistic – the title is supposed to be underneath the torn dust jacket, on the leather-bound hard cover. Perhaps the title font still needs work to make it look so?

      Like

      • If that is what you are going for, yes, it needs just a bit of tweaking. the leather bound spine needs to be a bit more obvious. Maybe some additional highlight and shadow. The title on the leather would not be “lifted off” as it appears now. It would be indented into the leather. Perhaps a bit of depth around the lettering.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’m struggling with how to make the title imbedded – that’s why I’ve tried to pay someone 😦

        Like

  3. That’s really good, well done 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Not sure I agree that the author photo needs to be smaller; but I do agree that the title should not bleed into the tear. I think the cover looks great! It’s very eye catching.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is great. Your cover is great! I totally understand the battle with perfectionism, and I wish docs did prescribe pills for it! But congrats for defeating it and in fabulous style too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It looks great. And well done for doing it yourself! I do agree with the comments from Change it up editing – about not having any text, or picture bleeding into the rip. Great design, will long fab in paperback.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nancy Glynn

    I love your cover! Nice job! I’m going through the same thing, but using Createspace with the pre-made cover I bought from a wonderful artist. Createspace wants me to move text in 0.25 so it doesn’t bleed, so I’ve contacted her and hoping to get that taken care of. I’m pretty pleased otherwise. It’s fun doing all this stuff as a self-published authors, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Nancy! Yes it is, although sometimes it gets to be too much – hence why I tried hiring a pro again. I do love having control over content and look, and having quick access to change things – waiting is the hardest on me.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. If you ever find those pills, let me know. I could seriously use some !!! Blessings ❤ Love your cover of your book !!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on devonrowebooks.com and commented:
    I love the way it came out!! It’s a thousand times better than anything I could ever do alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think it looks excellent, Ana. I’m a ‘newbie’ too, as you know, and firmly believe that all us folks are best placed as indie authors to do as much as possible ourselves. Nice one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The cover looks great. The model’s expression is a perfect match for the back cover blurb. I actually like how the text is ripped too. Overall it communicates fish out of water comedy/romance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome, thank you, Jim! I’ve searched and searched for her, and luckily there are a couple of other photos of this model with equally funny expressions, so I’m set for the sequels 🙂

      Like

  12. I like it but I wish that shizzle didn’t get lost in the text.

    If you do decide that you want to try something else though, my best friend is an illustrator and knows Photoshop really well. Let me know if you are interested and I can give you her contact information and show you some of her work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll go ahead and leave her website URL for you to check out. I know she’s done at least one book cover before. The link is http://liztatom.com

      Liked by 1 person

      • Omg, she’s an amazing artist! I just don’t want to anger any followers or their friends with my picky ways – I have already made two designers unhappy 😦

        Liked by 2 people

      • I can say that anything you do with her would stay between the two of you if that’s the only reason you are hesitant. That’s why I gave you the direct contact since I no longer have anything to do with the situation if you chose to contact her. You seem to be a professional who handles things with class much like you are now by not saying who has angered you. I’m not the sort of person to take sides when it comes to business. She’d probably appreciate someone who knows what she wants since I always never know and have her try to figure out what I want, lol. O can say she’s very flexible and understanding in my experience.

        However, you are fully capable of making your decisions, and I fully respect that. I just wanted to provide you with a contact in case you might still want to find other options since you still didn’t seem satisfied. I just know your book is your baby and you have given me such insight into the self publishing industry that I want to find a way to give back to you. You know, indies helping indies! 🙂

        I hope you end up with a cover you love and feel proud of!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much, Kristina, you’ve been so incredibly supportive! I might contact her, then, because I’m still hopeful to find a designer with whom I can work on an ongoing basis. For this one, I just want a bit of polishing, but as my leave is getting approved next week, there will be two more in rapid succession!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you find me supportive. I was worried after I reread what I wrote that it came across as too forward. I just wanted you to know that I didn’t think you and I would have a problem if you chose to work with her if that was the only hesitation since I myself have done business with her for my own novels and we still remain friends.

        I hope it didn’t come across as anything other than that! If so, my apologies!

        It’s getting approved?! You already know or that’s when they will make a decision?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Goodness, you are so polite and nice in the way you phrase your feedback, I never once thought you’d stepped over the line! Thank you again 🙂

        The approval has been along the lines of “I’m pissed off, but due to company policy, I can’t say no”. Hehe, I’ll take it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh good! You can never tell how people will interpret things, so it’s good to double check sometimes! 🙂

        Ah! I’m so excited that you are going to get it approved!! Congrats! I believe I read you are taking a honeymoon as well? Is the wedding in December or did I somehow miss it? I feel like May was a date mentioned too though for something? Or has my memory confused you with someone else?

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, no, you’re right – the wedding was going to be in December, but got moved to May. My mom can now come from Ukraine, where my parents still live. I do get two honeymoons 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well you have a lot of things to celebrate in the near future then! Congrats.

        PS : I think an interesting topic to discuss might be how you managed to grow your blog too and perhaps even if you think it has helped you in promoting your book. I don’t know if there’s really a way to decipher how many sales are from clicks from your blog though.

        I never realized you had so many followers until today, and I feel like you are getting more comments lately as well, at least if I judge the numbers alone. Or maybe I misjudged how popular you were when I started following you earlier this year, lol. Either way, congrats for that too!

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, you’re right – it’s exploding! I would say having Twitter connected (and I’ve been on Twitter, posting jokes, for about 3 years) has helped. Also my combination of comedy with practical advice is probably catchy. And finally, engaging – I answer all comments, I comment on other people’s blogs, I even answer on Twitter. I will keep this idea in mind, thank you 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I guess it does all add up doesn’t it? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, and then it takes off on its own – I have about 500 new people follow me on Twitter every week now, I can’t believe it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awesome! Congratulations! I hope I get to that point someday. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It says a lot about you that you are genuinely concerned but these are business transactions. Never be afraid of demanding what you pay for. I’m not saying it’s easy! It took me years before I was able to separate my sensibilities from transactions and I do them daily in my unwriting job.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Jim – I seem to be ok with consultants in my “regular” job, all transactional, per spec. For some reason, it’s hard for me to deal with designers, perhaps because I used to be one (landscape architect) and had my fair share of unreasonable clients. Now I am the unreasonable and picky client…

        Like

  13. While I love your cover, I think the suggestion about watching the print near the tear was a good point. It’s actually bleeding the lettering into the tear and cutting off the bottom of the z in Shizzle. Besides that, I think you did a great job. Certainly no worse than any of us who did take graphic courses and I’m sorry you’ve had such crappy luck with graphic designers. Sometimes it’s hard to realize someone else’s idea no matter how clear they are being about what they want. I use to see it all the time in another format and it was never a pretty sight.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m sorry you’re having so much trouble with your cover people.
    I hope you find someone you mesh with in time for your next cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I would suggest tweaking the angle of the wrap on the back side. The angle on the front is too great for it to even out like that on the back. To make it look more natural, I would angle the ribbon on the back slightly more downward towards the bottom, and then switch the text and the picture so that the picture is on the right hand side and the text is on the left hand side below the ribbon. Once it’s on the left-hand side, I would line up the bottom of the text with the bottom of the picture (and make the picture slightly smaller). I would also cut off the ribbon so that it lines up with the left-hand edge of the text. Hope these suggestions help!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Also, if you need any help, I would be happy to do it for you in photoshop 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I might play with my picture – perhaps it’s too large. The red bit is not a ribbon, though – it’s a “rip” in the paper cover, that is supposed to reveal a red leather hardcover volume underneath. In that way, a rip would probably narrow towards the end. I might rip some paper to check! This is also why it can’t stop abruptly, unless I end it with a curled up bit of paper – I’ve tried it, looked cheesy.

      Like

  16. Not cover related, but still neat… Just went to pick up your book and it is the second search return for ‘shizzle’ on Amazon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome! Are you going to read it?? Please, please post a review (unless you hate it, then nevermind). I’m amazed that men have read it and actually liked it already – I would have never guessed!

      Like

      • Well, yah I’m going to read it. Wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. 😉

        I love books from all over the place. I’ve found that enjoying a book generally has more to do with the writing than the genre.

        And I’m happy to post a review. Probably won’t be until after November though. NaNoWriMo is devouring my book time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you again 🙂 Oh, and good luck with NaNo – hope you get to 50K!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Very nice cover. Good rip!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie and commented:
    Girl, you ARE an expert! Great cover…

    Like

  19. That artist’s cover was so crud. Your cover is brill and so captures Isa’s personality. Go for it girl. The wrap around is cool. You need to have the same front cover for your paperback as your ebook version.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah! Yes, once I finish the paperback, I will update ecover, although they don’t have to be identical – for example, lettering one books is generally bolder than on paper books.

      Like

  20. Absolutely EXCELLENT Cover 👍👍👍👍👍 (5 thumbs up award) 🐵

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I like it :).
    What is that saying? If you want something done right, do it yourself?
    It seems you are proving it :).
    I generally like the minimalistic artwork, there’s less there to tear the eye away from what’s important and you’ve managed that :). The minimalistic approach, that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Looks good Ana! You’ve done a great job – I’ve stumbled through cover creation too – my mistake was using a picture with sufficient DPI on a kindle format, but then not being able to up that DPI for the print version. It turned into a complete redesign (and more changes to come)! I linked my woes to the bottom of the post if you want a good laugh at my misfortune, or you can just take comfort in knowing I’ve struggled with the designs too! http://www.thanekeller.com/2015/10/new-cover-design-2/

    Like

    • Thank you, Thane! In the future I will start with the paperback and then cut it down to ecover. I like your new design, my only question is philosophical – is it worth saying “a novel” on the cover? It has always puzzled me, as I’m not sure what it adds. Is that to emphasise that it’s not a short story? The reader will see the number of pages on Amazon.

      Like

      • I think you’re right – especially because after you format with Createspace, they provide the kindle files for you. I’ll be doing the same. It’s funny you should mention “a novel” We debated that back and forth and it seemed like lots of trending cover designs used “a novel.” It’s actually tradition back to the 1800’s when poetry, lyrics, and journals ruled the day. Distinguishing a novel back then was important. In the end, while novels are the norm and not the exception today, we decided to keep the tradition 🙂

        Another note in the same vein on the part of a designer – I’m informed the additional text can help balance out a design if something is needed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I didn’t know that CreateSpace do that!! Thank you, Thane!

        There’s no right or wrong way for the design, but thank you for explaining your reasoning 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah! I didn’t know either until I finished the set up last weekend – definitely changing around the order of the next book now that I know – it seems there’s always something else to learn in the world of self publishing! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • Omg, me too! When I put my ebook out, I had no concept of where I was going to take it all, I was just happy to have something finished. I have a clear goal and a game plan now!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. olivia barrington

    Ana, this cover is sheer perfection! You have done a fantastic job on every little detail. The tear is very realistic, it even shows the spine of the leather book. You have mad skills in photo shop! I love it! This is my perfection showing and business sense… on the front cover make the N and the O in your name red to match the rip to make the reader’s eye travel from the title to your name thus associating the two together. Author and book. This will help establish the link in their mind. Your picture is not to big. You want people to know your face. I hate those tiny little pictures of authors. I always wonder why they are so small? It’s makes one think they aren’t proud of their work. I don’t think you need anyone’s help on this.The back cover is perfect don’t change it. You constantly impress me with your talent. When does your leave start? Bet you can’t wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Olivia! I will work on it a bit more this weekend and I need to hurry – got my interior file back today, so the last touches on the cover are all that prevents me from uploading it to CreateSpace and getting a paperback ready.

      My guaranteed one month of annual leave starts on 12 December, but I may have to come back for 2 weeks in January. No matter – management is onboard with the additional 5 months!!

      Like

      • olivia barrington

        That is great!! You will probably write at least two sequels in your time off and get your wedding/honeymoon in ,too. Do you have all of your wedding planned so that you can write? Talk about multitasking… ahh to be young and full of energy for life. You need to write an autobiography when you get older. It would be fascinating and inspiring for other women. Good luck with the finishing touches. Show us the final cover. Back to work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s the Plan! Young? Well, thank you, Olivia – I’m about to turn 43 🙂

        Wedding is going to be very simple, it’s more stress to plan the honeymoon…as far as autobiography goes, I was just thinking how awesome it is to have this blog – it’s my diary on the Internet, never to be lost (unless we lose the Internet, but I won’t be able to go on living if that ever happens!)

        Like

  24. Who needs cover designers? This is excellent – clever, original and eye-catching. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I love your cover!! What a great job! I may contact you for advice if I’m ever ready to e-publish.

    Liked by 1 person

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