“Don’t judge the book by its cover.”
We’ve all heard this a million times. But the reality check is that people do judge the book by its cover. Since I’ve published three books, I’m slowly learning different tricks of the trade, and a good cover for a book is a must.
I really think long and hard on what kind of cover I want. Colors are very important to me. I also like the covers to look unique. Unfortunately, the stock photos have already been used on other book covers many times. So, I used a professional photographer and a model for the covers of the Chaysing Trilogy. I’m very picky about the vision I have for my covers, so it’s imperative that both the model and the photographer understand what I’m looking for.
Chaysing Dreams Cover
In the first cover, Chaysing Dreams, the model is wearing a white dress. Tess, the main character, is young in this book, innocent and even naïve. It’s mostly a coming of age tale where she’s forced into situations, and she has to find inner strength to grow up. The white dress symbolizes her innocence. At the same time, the woods are dark and have a bluish tint to them. There is some suspense and mystery to this story, so this is portrayed through the dark coloring. In this first book, Tess is haunted by nightmares of being chased through woods. In the cover, the woods appear mysterious and intimidating, just like her dreams.
Also, the model’s pose is an important aspect of this cover. She seems like she’s lost and searching for something. At the same time, her posture is confident. She’s not timid or scared. She looks like she’s trying to find some answers. Athough Tess is a teenager in most of the first book, she’s still a strong young girl.
There are tiny stars scattered throughout the cover. For me, these shiny stars symbolize hope—light through the darkness.
Chaysing Memories Cover
In the sequel, a lot happens. Tess is growing up but has lost much of her memory, especially of the man she once loved. Although Tess is much stronger in this book, she is still lost, searching for answers. For the cover, I wanted to show this through her expression.
Also, the male character is added in this book cover. However, he is mysterious and we still don’t know much about him. Hence, in the cover, he’s hidden within the fog.
Tess is haunted by dreams of a man with gray eyes. To make the eyes stand out, the male model on the cover has glowing gray eyes. Again, this adds to the mystery and suspense of this strange man from her dreams.
Also in this cover, Tess is wearing a red dress. The color red symbolized love and passion. In this particular story, she learns to truly love, and the relationship eventually becomes passionate.
There are stars again around her, symbolizing hope through the despair.
Chaysing Destiny Cover
By now, Tess has gone through a lot in her life. She is a strong, confident woman by now. Tess has hardened herself and is fiercely protective of her loved ones. Oh, and she’s out for revenge.
It was imperative to have a fierce and confident pose in this cover (head/chin up, fists clenched, strong legs). The cover shows how much Tess has matured, and she’s not backing down from anything. And although it’s hard to see, the model is wearing a necklace with a heart and teardrop. This is the gift she had received from the man she had fallen in love with and eventually lost in Chaysing Memories. This necklace is a reflection of their relationship.
Color again is very important. She’s wearing a black dress in this cover because black symbolizes strength and power.
In the background, the sun is setting. I like the symbolism of this. As the sun sets, the light fades, overcome by the forces of darkness. This last book is a lot darker, so the setting of the sun is the perfect background. Also, the sun looks like an enormous fireball, which represents the fire that has been growing inside her through the years.
There’s a creek right behind the model. Again, this creek has a special meaning… it symbolizes perseverance. How? Well, you have to read the story to find out.
Oh and how can I forget? There’s that beautiful guy in the background. Yeah, about that… Who is he? What is his role? Is he one of the good guys or the epitome of evil?
So that’s my hard work on the covers. I’ve never been a director of something like this, but I did have a lot of fun directing these photo-shoots and eventually picking the cover shots. I think it forced me to work out of my comfort zone and really brought out my creative side. Besides, I had a fabulous model and photographer who did a fantastic job doing their magic and creating my vision.
Although the covers may not be like the big publishing house covers, they’re not bad for a little indie author like me. Besides, nothing beats the feeling of creating something yourself and having complete control over it. Now that’s priceless!