Whoever said that you should not judge a book by its cover was obviously swimming against the tide. Judging a book by its cover is precisely what most people do. You only need to stand in a book shop (you remember book shops don’t you?) and watch people browse. The books with the great covers are constantly being examined.
Anyway, I wanted a great cover. And I wanted it as soon as I finished my first draft (around March 2014). Somehow that made my attempt at writing more real. It gave me comfort. I could see what I was aiming at. I had to have that cover!
Anyway, here it now is.
But how did I get there?
Step 1 – I hired the services of an expert in the field, one with experience in my genre. I hired Paul Deuis of Jethryk (jethryk.com.au/). Paul was the brain behind ‘Data Extract‘, a science fiction magazine focusing upon Doctor Who. Paul and I met and spent time going through my expectations, my visions, my dreams and hearing me drone on and on about the novel. Paul gave me sound advice and gave me lots of design ideas. After a while he even was prepared to let me have a go at creating a picture that could be incorporated into the cover. At this point let me say how important it is to have a good relationship with your cover designer, because you are relying upon them. And Paul was great.
Step 2 – Now I needed to actually decide what picture I wanted to create. Perhaps one representing the climax of the story. It would be exciting. I would also borrow inspiration from some of the old Pulp magazines that featured monsters looming over their potential victims. OK – that was easy.
Step 3 – How was I going to create this picture? Paul had given me the specifications for any picture file that I was to give him. I did not have much money to invest in buying fancy art programs for my computer. Most of my spare cash was going in hiring Paul. So I needed to do things with freeware and open source.
One decision was easy. Between Paint.Net (www.getpaint.net) and GIMP (www.gimp.org) I could do an awful lot for nothing. And Youtube was full of people just waiting to tell me how to do clever stuff in these programs. But mostly that stuff was modifying photos and I did not have an appropriate photo to modify. I needed something that could make a base image.
That is when I turned to DAZ 3D Studio (www.daz3d.com). DAZ 3D Studio is wonderful. It is a free program for posing, manipulating and “photographing” 3D objects. Better still, the licence permitted any picture created from this program to be used commercially for things such as book covers and the like. Perfect!
So that would be my plan. I would use DAZ Studio with models to create a picture. I would then manipulate and improve it with GIMP and Paint.Net.
Part 2 will follow my path in doing so.