Guest post: The Art of the Book Cover: An Visual EvolutionA picture can say a thousand words, right? We've all heard that saying, and it's true. That's why choosing the right design and artwork for your book cover is as important as having a good editor edit your book. Your book cover is your story's calling card. It is the first thing people see, and, it is what draws them to your book. Let's be honest, we've all seen the cliche bad cover. If your cover looks like you spent 10 minutes learning Photoshop, then spit out a cover, people will assume your book had the same amount of detail given to it. If you aren't a graphic designer or artist, scrape up the money, beg, borrow, or steal, and pay someone to do your cover for you. I can't stress this enough. (If I may, a word of advice. If you're in the process of choosing a publisher, look at their covers. I believe that the quality of the cover, just like a book, speaks about the quality of the publisher.) When I started working with my artist to design Colour Wielders' cover, my romantic, new adult, urban fantasy, I knew I wanted to attract an audience that read this genre. I also knew that I didn't want a generic cover; I wanted a work of art. One of the reasons I decided to let Curiosity Quill Press publish me was their covers. In looking at them, I was immediately drawn to the fabulous Ricky Gunawan's work. So I'd like to share with you the evolution of my cover.
Above, is Ricky's first sketches based on a cover art worksheet. Yes, they are rough. If you don't have a very clear picture in your mind of what you want, this is a great place to start. I went with the first one and worked from there. After picking the basic concept, Ricky sent me the b&w sketch.
This where I started to see the cover take shape, and where the fine tuning began. I knew I wanted Arik, Quinn, and the sword to be the dominant themes of the cover. But I also needed nature to have a strong representation as well. From there, I let Ricky's imagination take over.
Then, Ricky added color. Because the title is Colour Wielders, and the idea of color plays a major part in the story, the way the sword was portrayed was vital. I wanted it to seem alive with Quinn and Arik's power. So when I received the next image, I will tell you I almost cried.
Through their joined hands, you can see their magic combine and travel down the sword. When I saw this, I was blown away.
By this point, many emails had been exchanged. Every time Ricky sent the next graphic, I put the image into a drawing program and started making detailed notes. I used arrows to point at what I wanted changed, then added comments in text boxes. My point in telling you this is the devil really is in the details. Be nit picky about anything and everything. I will admit that I used to be a graphic artist by trade, so I had an advantage on this process. But I also sought the opinions of friends. Do the same. Look at covers that you like, and asks yourself why you like them. Then, don't be afraid to tell your artist exactly what you want. A good artist will work with you. If I wanted something Ricky couldn't deliver, he told me, then explained why. This kind of give and take is imperative.
This is the final version of Colour Wielders' cover. I love it. It says so much about the story without giving it away. My biggest advice is don't settle for a bad cover. Just like you wouldn't send you kid out into the world in tatty old clothes with dirt on their faces, don't send your story out there that way either. Your baby deserves the best face you can give it! To see more of Ricky Gunwan's amazing works, check him out at http://ricky-gunawan.daportfolio.com. You can purchase a copy of Colour Wielders at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo To read more about Dawna Raver, visit her webiste at http://dawnaraver.com
Review - Colour Wielders
Author: Dawna Raver
Publish Date: Apr. 19, 2012 by Curiousity Quill Press, 381 pages
Series: Heirs of the Magykal Realms#1
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, New Adult
When I picked up the Colour Wielders by Dawna Raver I didn't know quite what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had some of my favorite things:
1. Mythology? Check
2. Magic? Check
3. Fairies? Check
4. Lots of yummy men? Double check
Our story starts off with a bang. One heroine Quinn Sinclair makes a very bad choice in men on her 22nd birthday. Quinn, it turns out to be, is a princess to the fairy kingdom with some very special powers. Power that everyone else wants to control. Having been left in the dark her entire life, along with her brother Iain, Quinn is confused by the red-haired man circled with colored ribbons who busts in to save the day.
Quickly we find out that this man is Finn, her father and the king. However, he erases Quinn's memories as he previously did and she has no idea who he is.
Soon we are introduced to a whole cast of characters who each have their part to play. We have two Norse gods, Tyr (the god of War) and Loki (the Trickster God). As well as Morgan Le Fey, straight from the Arthurian legend.
All the baddies in this book are after Quinn for her unique and powerful gifts. It will be up to the crew of characters to keep her safe and complete the quest they are give.
Here's what I liked about the story: It captured me from the beginning with action. Something I'm always a fan of. I love the large cast of characters, each with their own interesting story. I also like that Raver was able to convey which characters had Scottish or other accents and I could clearly hear it in my head.
Here's what I didn't like: In the first few pages, after living a mostly normal life, Quinn is told she's fae. Her reactions was a little too "Oh, I'm a fairy? That's cool. I completely believe the crazy man wielding a knife at me. I have no objections what so ever." She accepted the truth with absolutely no question. The second problem I had with this book is the fact that she goes through a pretty traumatic experience in the first chapter with her so called boyfriend. A typical person her age would be a little jaded afterwards or at least cautious regarding men. But Quinn for some reason has no reservations about throwing herself at two men she's never met before, in the sequence of two days. If you've read my blog you know I'm not a fan of this. At all.
But with all that being said. The plot line and characters were more than enough for me to look past those few dislikes and stay invested in the story. I really loved the blending of Norse and Arthurian mythology along with fairies, Druids and all kinds of other creatures. There's even freaking unicorns!
Overall, this book get a sold rating of 4 from me. I'll be looking forward to the next book in this series.