The great cover debate…

One of the problems with self-publishing is that the writer exists in a microcosmic world. Unlike more traditional routes where many decisions are taken for you and to a degree a certain amount of the weight is taken form your shoulders, you can end up doing everything yourself. Particularly if your a clinical obsessive with control issues who tries to do everything possible themselves….

Luckily for me I have a great support system for friends and fellow writers who are only too willing to lend a hand. Unluckily for me I am a clinical obsessive with control issues who tries to do everything possible themselves…. So while there is support out there and people who are only too willing to help and do things for me, I often find I have locked out that help and retreated to my own little self-contained world and don’t ask for advice and help when I actually need it…

I am, in my experience, not alone in this. Writers in general spend a lot of time in their own heads, we sort of have to, that’s where the imaginary people live. Also, while we may not admit it to anyone, we kind of like it that way. Those imaginary people that talk to us and tell us there stories, they are as real to us in many ways as our friends. And yes I know how that sounds, no I am not a little mad, I know Hannibal, Bad Penny, Richard the Piano Player, Sonny, and even the cat are not actually real. But they are a little real, figments of my imagination, aspects of my inner ide, but a little real all the same…

Okay, maybe that is just me and I am a little mad, but if that is true I will take it over being entirely sane any day of the week. But back to the point.

Now some self published or indie-press published authors do make use of cover designers, blurb writers, Social media managers, all kinds of things. Those writers who do are probably wiser than I, but again clinical obsessive with control issues who tries to do everything possible himself… I design my own covers. Which I shouldn’t do, I should pay those wonderful people at Sixth-Element who publish the Harvey Duckman books to design covers for me, because that would take away the angst that accompanies designing them my self from me. (except of course I like designing my own covers, its a form of procrastination that is still creative…)

The problem with designing my own covers is that I’m not really an artist or a graphic designer, I just know how to use a few design tools and manipulate images… I don’t necessarily have an eye for it and I tend to go down the odd rabbit hole. Which for a clinical obsessive with control issues is not a happy place. I also tend to stumble upon new ideas by trial and error experimentation and get carried away with a new idea. Its about that point I really have to stop and actually ask for advice. Which of course is the one thing I never do…

So for once I did and on Friday I invoked the wisdom of the crowd. I mean whats the point of having a support network of writers, artists and friends, if you don’t use it. So I did and I sent them all this and asked they to tell me which cover spoke to them…

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A little background may be in order. The Maybe trilogy is a new trilogy of books set in the same universe as my Hannibal novels. They are however entirely separate to those novels and set about 150 years before Hannibal’s time, right at the start of the divergence of his history and our own. So they are entirely separate and can be read independently of the Hannibal books. But they are linked in terms of been the same universe. As such (and because I discovered how to put a series of different filters on the de-facto background I use for my steampunk novels) I decided I wanted to diverge the covers, so rather than use the dirty brown of the cover on the far right, I wanted to use another colour to differentiate between the two series. While keeping the general theme…

There is an argument that says I shouldn’t do so, and that I should keep the common colour scheme… But I am reasonably convinced even after opening the floor to debate that a new background colour for the Maybe books is the way to go.  There were as you might expect a multitude of views on what colour I should go with. Some people going with their gut reaction, some taking a while to consider the options. And I am entirely grateful for everyone who contributed to the debate on Facebook and Twitter. It was good to know people cared enough to venture an opinion, because in the isolated world of the self-published writer it is all too easy to forget your not actually alone in this grand enterprise and help is always there if you ask for it.

That is the most important of lessons and one I think every writer needs reminding of from time to time. It also rekindled the spark of faith in the writing community, they are all wonderful people as a rule, its good to remember they are there. 🙂

And the results? Well there was a consensus of opinions. Though every cover had a few supporters. And in the end I and still a clinical obsessive with control issues… So the final choice will be made by me, but as I have a little time to mull it over I’ll not be doing so for a few weeks yet. So i am still open to opinions if any readers have them to share…

But it was a reminder that there are plenty of people out there who care enough about my stuff to venture an opinion. And a healthy reminder that the characters in my imagination are not the only people I would be listening to. Though of course Hannibal has an opinion, but what he knows about art you could scrawl on the back of a fag packet I am sure…

 

This entry was posted in amediting, amwriting, books, fiction, Hannibal Smyth, Harvey Duckman, indie, indie novels, indie writers, indiewriter, reads, self-publishing, steampunk, writes, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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