Author Business / My Stuff

Book cover design for A Spell of Death

Something you may not know about me: besides being an author, I’ve also designed and created all my book covers except the first one (which I provided the rough design for). Here are the three I created:

With A Spell of Death, book 3 in Bloodborne Pathogens, I had a challenge. I ended up two ideas that I really liked. I had to pick one, and I think it was the right choice, but I still love the other one:

Alternative image for A Spell of Death cover
The other image option

One of the biggest challenges that I’ve had is finding appropriate stock photos for a kick-ass, Asian, female lead. I don’t know where some people get their idea of “kick-ass female” but scantily clad women getting cozy with guns is not what I was looking for.

To solve that issue, I created the images using a method called photo compositing — combining multiple images into something where they look like they’re one (hopefully). I did a pretty good job but there’s still lots of room to learn and improve. And all of the covers I’ve created so far are a variation of a theme, all in the urban fantasy/vampire thriller genre, so the next challenge is creating covers in different styles for different genres.

Most of my learning so far has been via Youtube. Some of the channels that I follow are:

I also learn a lot from a couple of Facebook groups on cover design. They’re closed groups, otherwise, I’d share a link, but you can probably find them if you search for “Book Cover Design”. My personal nemesis is typography, and groups like this can over great suggestions. For typography, the list of fonts by genre over on is a fantastic resource.

However, one of the best learning resources is reviewing the top sellers in the genre. If I had done more of this from the start, I might have changed a few things about my covers. One of the key lessons I’ve learned is that the cover doesn’t need to tell the story, it needs to speak to my readers.

Another key lesson learned is to honestly assess your abilities and interests. At the time the first book was published, I had some knowledge of the tools involved and some basic design sense but didn’t really understand the techniques…I didn’t have the ability to develop the idea into a final cover. But I knew I had enough of a foundation that I could learn. And an interest in learning how — I enjoy doing it. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t be worth the time I spend.

If you’re also interested in photo-composting or cover design, what are your favourite learning resources? Let me know if you’d like to see a deeper dive into one of the covers — the images that went into making it alongside the final cover.

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