Since my announcement last week (which, by the way, was THE most awesome day for me, thanks to all of you for your lovely comments and tweets), a few of you have asked me about the book cover for Yours Truly. Because I made it myself I thought I'd tell you a bit about how the design came about. Please note that I am self-taught and absolutely not a professional. Proper designers probably work in a much less skewiff manner!
There were some very specific things I knew I wanted on my cover before I started to design it. I knew:
The title would be written in the sky
There would be a silhouette of a village
There would be hints of pink and if I could sneak some green in there too, that'd be peachy.
There would be sparkles/stars
My book is clear romantic comedy/chicklit/whatever the kids are calling it these days and I wanted that to be apparent in my design. So I got to work using an image editing program called GIMP (like photoshop but free).
Here is a screenshot of the first design I came up with:
The design? Not exactly inspiring. While I liked the stars and the silhouette there was something about the font that didn't quite work. The IRRESISTIBLE was wibbly and unclear and the handwriting font too skinny - I like a bit of flesh on my fonts. The pink chef's hat looks nothing like a chef's hat (do chefs wear pink hats, ever?) and there's a 'Where's Wally?' style fork (Where's Fork?) hiding behind the B in IRRESISTIBLE. This book cover felt like YA to me. So I adjusted a few things and here is what happened next:
A bit better. There's a moon. I liked the moon. Who doesn't like a moon, frankly. And the fonts were much sharper. But it still didn't look professional. There was a whisk now too. (Where's Whisk?) Natalie Butterworth really wants to be a chef and I wanted to get that across. Were hard-to-spot flying utensils the way to do that? Probably not. But I'd paid for these little pictures of forks and whisks and really wanted to use them.
I liked the pink IRRESISTIBLE on this one, but for some reason the whole thing made me think of halloween. Not good when you want to release a book in the summer.
I had another bash at it.
I got fed up with Ruby March and decided to go with the much warmer Becky Ellis. Using my own name had not yet occurred to me. I was too scared. The design was improving. The white font was beautiful (I searched for HOURS to find it) and the IRRESISTIBLE was quirky, but maybe a little too harsh. I had introduced a cloudy heart and some glitter and had gotten rid of the flying utensils (you can see the bottom of them - two little black dots on the right hand border of the image. Still trying their best to fly in and ruin my cover, the little shitheads).
I was kind of happy with this one. But the more I looked at it, the more I realised that the sky looked really green. And because my book wasn't set in Sellafield, this didn't seem appropriate.
I showed this version to the Novelicious team who said they liked it, but there was something personal missing; there was no Natalie Butterworth in the picture.
This came next:
I bought the people from a stock image site. I had to adjust them a bit. I gave Natalie Wellington Boots and a slightly fatter arse. The guy (I won't tell you the character's name - you'll have to find out for yourself!) in the original image I bought had a receding hairline so I gave him some quiffy hair, which is my favourite kind of hair on a boy.
I wasn't sure if the colour was right, so I sent the following picture out to trusted pals.
The majority voted for the blue version in the middle. And so it was! A cover for The Irresistible Truths of Natalie Butterworth!
I woke up in bed one night, realising that I had forgotten the most important thing about this design.
It was for an EBOOK.
It was supposed to go on AMAZON, which meant that it had to look good as a thumbnail.
And what about online promotion? #theirresistibletruthsofnataliebitterworth is a craptastic hashtag. AND I kept spelling IRRESISTIBLE wrong!
I decided to change the title. YOURS TRULY was a title my clever agent had really liked and the more I thought of it, the more I felt it suited. It was short and to the point. It was pretty and memorable.
I spent another gazillion hours finding the perfect font, the right colours, getting the drop shadows just right...
I was in love! Some of my favourite authors had given me quotes, there was a sunset, the font was dreamy. I showed it to my agent who loved it, but missed the sparkle of the previous one. Also, a friend (the same one who told me to go under my own name) came up with a brand new shoutline (the old one wasn't connecting with the new title).
And here we were...
Apart from the space on the left ( I'm still waiting for a couple of other quotes and want to choose the one that fits best to put on the front), it is my dream cover. And there's not a flying fork in sight!
YOURS TRULY WILL BE OUT AS AN EBOOK ON JULY 4TH! Hurrah!