Official Website for Fantasy Author E.L. Lyons
I am a writer, an author, a wrangler of words, which requires some measure of imagination and creativity. However, I have no skill in the visual arts. I do not have an eye for art, nor do I have the coordination for it. I am incredibly blessed to have artistic friends though, and they’re responsible for my beautiful cover.
Getting a cover done is simple though isn’t it? You just have someone paint you up some scene from the book and call it a day! Yes, that’s what I thought when I started my cover journey. I began discussing the cover with my writing mentor over a year ago, and we didn’t agree on much of anything in regard to style, but we ended up coming to a nice compromise idea after a while of back and forth. I presented this idea to my artist friend, Samantha, and asked her if she could make a digital cover art design. She had never made a book cover, but she’s a spectacular artist, so I was confident that it would look great. Some months and a bit of nagging later, she came back with something that was gorgeous.
At the time she was working on this, she had a bun in the oven and a toddler on her ankles. So when I wanted a detail changed, I decided not to bother her, and asked if my other friend, Shane, could change the color of the trees. Samantha had already sent over the layers for media purposes, so he got to work.
Look, I’m not saying that writers can’t stick their hands in the artists’ cookie jar sometimes, but I did learn a lesson. Giving an artist creative freedom will produce better results. Shane isn’t an artist like Samantha is, but he’s a designer, and he has an eye for detail and an eye for what looks good. I knew this when I asked him to change the tree color, but I still didn’t want him tarnishing Samantha’s beautiful art. Her art captured the characters, and that’s what I wanted. I told Shane that I didn’t want anything else changed, just the trees.
Next thing I knew, I was looking over his shoulder to see my amazing characters cloaked in red on a cerulean background. I loved it. It looked so much more like a fairytale. Samantha had captured the characters–and they were still there in their silhouettes–but Shane
had captured the tone and theme of the story.
I told him he could play with it some more if he wanted, and soon I could see something awesome coming out of those efforts. The image of the trees was removed and the figures became more obscure and mysterious. It was really starting to look like something that truly belonged on a fantasy bookshelf.
So I liked the silhouettes. Big deal. That didn’t mean all Shane’s design ideas were going to be suitable for my book child. When he said, “I think it’ll look good with a white background,” I obviously replied with, “No white, any other color, but I hate white.” Maybe I’m a little biased. Growing up, my mother wore the most boring attire and drove the most boring cars imaginable, and they were all white. White cars, white sneakers, white sweaters. I have always loved color in abundance, and imagining my book dressed in white wasn’t pleasant. Yet again, he didn’t listen to me, and to my surprise, I liked the white background. A lot. It made the colors pop and the little haze of blue in some places made it seem dreamy. I just didn’t know if I liked it better than the dark version he’d made. I polled my friends and family, and the light cover won!
After he cleaned it up a bit, we submitted it to CoverCritics and a very kind contributor replaced the font he had with Brilon, which tied the whole look together.
So what did I learn from this process? I don’t know what I want, and when given room to create, a visually inclined artist is likely to make something better than if you try to keep them within the parameters of your expectations.
Negative Reviews and authors’ bad behavior