As the two-year anniversary of Ignoring Gravity’s publication approaches, it seemed timely to give it a fresh look. Connectedness, second in the ‘Rose Haldane: Identity Detective’ series will be published next year and I was keen for both books to have a co-ordinated image. That meant finding a new designer for both books and also third in the series, Sweet Joy [currently evolving].
Below is the existing cover which has been an important part of my branding as a debut author. Enter cover designer Jessica Bell, who sent me a long and very detailed questionnaire. This was an instructive process and made me re-consider my own vision of the book, no doubt evolved now since publication in November 2014. Jessica says her questionnaire enables her to construct the ‘perfect cover without having to read the book.’
In particular she highlighted my phrase: Trees/leaves/roots/growth are a constant metaphor throughout the series for family history/family tree. I would like the covers for each of the books to have a common theme. Something simple.
Jessica explains: ‘This really sparked my ideas for this cover as I very much like ‘simple’ as well. I find that the less a reader’s eye has to focus on the better, as long as what they’re looking at is striking.’
The first three drafts [below] were quite different and I had an immediate instinctive gut reaction.
I printed them out, stuck them on my wall, and lived with them for a while. I wonder if you can guess which one I liked?
Cover one – I liked the whitespace and airiness of this design. The upside-down tree immediately meant two things to me, branches reaching to the sky and roots below the ground symbolizing the intricacy of family connections and relationships.
Cover two – this felt too busy, too much going on.
Cover three – I liked the use of blue and the emphasis on typography. Jessica’s proposal was that the other books in the series should be varying shades of blue.
I asked Jessica to develop covers one and three:-
Cover one – sharpen the outline of the women’s shoulders.
Cover three – change to the font used in cover one, and use only one quote.
After revision, they looked like this [below]:-
At this point, I decided on cover one [below]. Jessica made a few tiny amendments and we were good to go. The key to this design is the use of the tree which also appears the right way up on the back cover of the paperback. I loved Jessica’s attention to detail. She explains: ‘I had the idea to use an upside down tree to resemble roots. So I killed two birds with one stone there. The mirror image of the woman at the bottom literally represents the sisters, and symbolically represents blood connections, family relationships, shared genes, fertility, birth, and procreation (notice the leaves and branches faded into the silhouettes?) all of which Sandra mentioned in her questionnaire too.
‘Funnily, once the cover was put together, Sandra mentioned that as a whole it looked like ovaries and womb. That was a pleasant surprise, as it definitely wasn’t intentional. But the mind works in mysterious ways. Who knows? Maybe it was a subconscious thing.’
Jessica is now working on the front cover for Connectedness and this was firmly in her mind right from the beginning. ‘Seeing as this cover is the first in a series, and I had to create a branded look to use for forthcoming covers as well, I feel that the simplicity and clear positioning of the images is going to go a long way. We can keep the placement of the images and text exactly the same, in greyscale, yet we have the choice of changing the background colour, title colour and images, without jeopardizing the branded design.’
Please let me know what you think about the new cover.
How did I find Jessica Bell?
I’m a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors which has a fund of self-publishing advice and services.
‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby [UK: Beulah Press]
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Cover reveal: the new look for IGNORING GRAVITY, designed by @MsBessieBell via @SandraDanby #novels http://wp.me/p5gEM4-26y