Out of all the things I’ve learned (and continue to learn) about self-publishing, I think the hardest curve has been with covers. I am not a graphic designer, by any stretch of the imagination. I love photography and in the past, I’ve enjoyed playing around with digital photography to achieve certain effects… but I can’t claim to know what I’m doing. I mean – when I took photography in school, we were still using film. The entire degree program had exactly two weeks of digital manipulation. I didn’t even own a digital camera until about five years after I graduated.
Graphic design? Way harder. It’s my ineptitude with Photoshop times twenty.
Which is why I’m so pleased to reveal the covers for the upcoming duo of books The Country Alpha: Ned’s Story and The Country Alpha: Veronica’s Story. I knew designing these covers would be a challenge – after all, they’re both the sequel to The Country Omega, but they each have their own storyline that takes the main character, Jake, in different (though complementary) directions. I wanted the covers to reflect each book individually – but still echo the other.
And I think I got that.
What surprises me is that they’re from two different cover artists. Ned’s cover was designed by R.A. Steffan, who also designed the covers for The Country Omega and The Omega Nanny. I loved the way that R.A. turned the black-bordered theme on its ear, and went with the snowy background of Jake’s cabin as inspiration.
Veronica’s story, however, was designed by Suze Howe, a long-time friend who asked for the chance to flex her designing muscles, and turned out something I fell in love with at first glance. I feel like every time I look at her cover, I see some new detail, like the heart pointing at Veronica, or the way the hockey diagram blends with the wine rack.
But especially, I love how well the two different covers complement and reflect each other, too – which is good, because I like to think the books complement and reflect each other, despite being two very different stories. And while my intention is that a reader should be able to read either one of them and not feel as though they’re missing anything – readers who read both are going to get a much better picture of Jake than they would by reading only one story.
I’m nearly done with formatting the stories – and some last-minute tweaks. I still haven’t picked my release date for the books, but I do know it’ll be sometime in November, and I suspect it’ll be simultaneous, unless someone can give me a good reason why that’s a bad idea.
In the meantime, though, I have to tear myself away from staring longingly at Veronica and Ned’s covers, and actually finish the formatting. (Details, yo.)
Have a lovely day, everyone!