I naively thought my first attempt at designing my book cover wasn’t all that bad, that is until I asked my boyfriend what he thought of it. His response was noncommittal, and then he suggested we go to the bookstore and look at different covers.
In my first attempt, I was trying to emulate an eccentric habit my young protagonist practices. He has autistic-like behaviors, one of which is using his pointer finger to trace equations in the air. Other people can’t see what he writes, but he sees golden letters. So I tried to create that effect and what I got you can see below in the first graphic. What a mess. When people first look at the cover, they have no idea such a thing relates to one of the main characters.
Thank goodness my boyfriend dragged me to that bookstore. I looked around for a while and hated everything I saw. Book covers are either too contemporary, too cluttered, or over-designed for my tastes. But eventually I came across the Penguin Classics.
I want my book to look old fashion and all the classic titles had very simple yet elegant designs printed directly onto cloth-covered hardback with no jacket (I hate dust jackets!). After looking over the different designs for the classics, I took another crack at it and came up with the much improved design in the second graphic below. It wasn’t until I finished this one that I realized how rough my first draft actually was.