Friday, February 17, 2012

Does your book cover have you stumped? See what artist Carole Lane James offers

My career designing book covers began with my love of graphic design. As an artist, it seemed a natural progression from paintbrush to keyboard. I worked in the field of menu design for restaurants for several years. The chefs made the entrees, and I snapped pictures and applied them dramatically on the menu with the goal to entice each guest into choosing the more expensive menu items.
Of course, the food alone couldn't make guests feel special. The art for the entire menu incorporated designs to give viewers a sense of atmosphere, from the front cover to the back page.
Book covers should do the sameentice readers to open the cover and become a part of the story. If the cover doesn't catch their eye, they don't read further. Give them a reason to open the book and turn the page.
When I began writing my first book, I had a picture in my head of my protagonist. I would sit back in my chair and stare at my words with a vision of the cover buzzing in my brain. I decided to create a book cover for my manuscript-in-progress. I couldn't get myself to wait until the writing was finished--my fingers itched to put out a correlating design. Besides, the artist in me needed the escape and to create visually for a while. As the chapters grew on the pages, the graphic image in my mind would change and grow. I fell in love with designing covers, right then and there.
The heart of the story needs to be the first thing a reader sees on the cover. That's not always an easy task with the miniature size the cover is reduced to when shown on a Kindle or other e-reader. By the time I began my second book, I was hooked on designing covers for others, too.
Every story leads me to a final design, telling me the depth, darkness or light to portray the words, beyond the first glance. My inspiration stems from the words on the page; they tell me where to begin. From there my imagination takes it to the final product. With so many authors publishing e-books today, it is essential that covers grab the readers’ attention while customers scroll through the list of books to choose from, which offers only a very small view.  
I love to watch that blank page come to life, telling a story, inviting the reader in. If someone is flipping through a snapshots of books, I want the cover to stop them long enough to take a better look at what’s inside.  I use many different styles to convey the type of book it is.
Cover art by Carole Lane James 

Happily Ever After is the novel I'm working a cover design on for talented romance author Christina Cole. The book will be released around mid March. Christina has been a joy to work with. She had an idea of what she wanted on the cover, and together we created a design that conveys the story and visually tells the heart of it.

The demands today on the pocketbooks of many struggling authors often don't include a budget for a well designed cover. I plan to meet the needs of those who can't afford a big-name designer by filling this niche with quality yet affordable graphic designs. Some traditional publishers also now require authors to pay for their covers. I can accommodate this need as well. I design each cover around the individual story; no two are alike, and the rights are retained by the author or publisher.
Every book is a work of love and endurance and deserves a good cover design. Authors work hard and put so much into their writing, the covers need to reflect their dedication. And that's what I want to do for them. Visit me at 

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say what a pleasure it's been to work with Carole. I love her ideas, and I'm awed by her talent.