Cover art is, hands down, one of the most important pieces of a book. It is the ‘claws’ of the zombie, the thing that truly grabs you and pulls you in. It is the first thing a reader sees, the thing that draws them to the shelf to pick up that book and read the back flap.
For our coming anthology, we need something to spark immediate interest. Not that zombies are not interesting in and of themselves, but the undead over-saturate literature as much as they over-saturate television and movies. They. Are. Everywhere. So, why would anyone pick up our zombie book over other zombie books?
The cover, of course! And, if I do say, it’s a mighty nice cover.
Ok, so books need to put on their Sunday bests, but how? There is no formal attire shop for a book. If only, dear readers, if only.
The work begins with a concept, an idea. The type of book generally has an impact on what the cover will look like because things in the same genre will have a similar appearance. Don’t believe me, go to any library and walk through the romance or sci-fi section.
Since Cold as Death, A Zombie Anthology makes its debut this weekend, we’ll work with that as our sample.
The topic: Zombies
A rather broad topic but we’ve established that there are undead and the ‘cold’ part gave us an idea of something in cooler colors rather than the typical blood or earthy tones one might imagine of the shambling undead. We now need an image to work with so, off to the various sites and places that sell stock images.
Now, slight side bar: we use InDesign to build our covers (as well as doing internal formatting) but that is not the only program available for creating your masterpiece. Canva, Adobe Spark, Microsoft Publisher, even Microsoft Word all have various capabilities for building your cover art.
Once the image was chosen, it was dropped into InDesign and the colors altered to give it that cool feeling. Next comes the fun part.
We have been privileged to give talks at various events on the ins and outs of the publishing industry. One such talk involved the usage of fonts both in the book and on the cover. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal but fonts do matter a great deal. They help set the tone and mood of the book, even offer a glimpse of what can be expected.
Something like the horrendous Comic Sans would look incredibly different on our front cover than the one we’ve chosen. It would not give the same creep appeal we were going for. Placement of the title and by-lines also matter. If you have a wonderful image, you don’t want to cover that whole image with words. Let it be seen, let it sell the book you want the world to read.
Alright, so we have the fonts and the image, but, the cover isn’t just the front part of the book, it’s also the back. How does that happen?
The size of the cover will vary by the size of the book. Something like Harry Potter is vastly different than a cover made for War and Peace. There’s, like, nine Harry Potters in War and Peace! There are places online that can help you determine the dimensions needed for your full-size sleeve. The number of internal pages will help determine the spine width and, ultimately, the decision will need to be made whether you will have a full wrap or just a front image. Full wrap has the image go all the way to the back flap while the front image only is what we have for Cold as Death – the back flap is just a nice indigo cover that bleeds away from the image.
Either way, finding a spot for your back blurb will matter as well as any reviews or other tidbits you feel need to go on the back flap. Once that’s all put together, however, then you’re done, good to go, ready to let that literary baby fly!
We have reached that stage. Our cover is done, our pages packed full of entertainment, and our zombies ready to shuffle their way into your hands this weekend, in digital and print formats available through our website.