Cover Adventures: Creating Covers

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

This month’s question for February 1 is: If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

Cover Adventures: Creating Covers

My first three books were traditionally published in the 1990s with two different publishers.

While I wasn’t thrilled with the cover of my first book, The Man on the Romance Cover (’93), at least the faces matched the magazine pictures I had sent them, providing a sense of how I saw the characters.

With the second and third books, Tomorrow’s Wishes (’94) and New Beginnings (’96) published by Avalon Books, who sold books chiefly to libraries, I had no say in the covers and wasn’t consulted. I mailed them the manuscript each time, and then one day a box of books would appear on my doorstep.

When I began to write fulltime—my dream come true—and became an indie author/publisher, I already had the rights back from those first three published books, so I updated the books’ text, retitled them, and created new covers, using my artistic background and formatting education.

My designs were okay but needed something more. I found a cover designer, loving her work. She took my designs and improved them, then created Grendel’s Mother from just an idea. I provided the stock photos for my seven Laurel Ridge novella covers, along with three other books. She did a fantastic job with all the covers and was a joy to work with. She left the business upon the birth of her second child.

A designer from a writer’s group I recently joined introduced herself with a redo cover of that nonfiction Fire book—a cover that was gorgeous, but the design didn’t fit my overall series design. Quickly, through a Zoom meeting, we became friends and I mentioned that I needed a cover for my Christmas story screenplay that I was publishing, Charlie’s Christmas Carole. She’s an absolute delight to work with, so I’ll be using her for future books.

With the help of a good friend, we redid Love’s New Beginnings, and then she helped me create the template for my non-fiction, Finding Your Fire & Keeping It Hot, which is the first in a series of books that writers will find helpful. I’ll be creating the other covers now that I have the template

With the anthology, Lost and Found that I edited and was a contributing author, the lead author and I designed that book’s front cover, which then I finished the spine and the back.

As an indie author/publisher, all of my covers have been a collaboration, where I find the main stock photo, relay my idea for additions, and then the designer takes what I’ve presented and runs with it, adding their spin, which is always perfect.

I enjoy seeing my visions come to life, and it allows me a bit of artistry playtime now that I’m not painting or sketching anymore. I put that hobby aside in favor of writing decades ago because I saw writing as a career, wanting to devote the bulk of my time to it.

Today, I would have trouble handing over total design of my covers to a publisher, even one of the big five publishers. I would always want to have a voice, even if only a small one.


Purpose of The Insecure Writer’s Group: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting.

The awesome co-hosts for the February 1 posting of the IWSG are Jacqui Murray, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Pat Garcia, and Gwen Gardner!


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in #IWSG, Covers, Laurel Ridge novellas, Publishing books, Writing Behind the Scenes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Cover Adventures: Creating Covers

  1. Collaboration, that’s the word I should have included. Long way to go in indie publishing, but already, I’d find it hard to surrender every aspect of cover design to a publisher. So lucky that my cousin and lifelong friend is happy to share her skills. As my late mentor said, at almost 90, publishing has changed. Add horrific structural bills heading for us – this is the way.


  2. That’s great that you’ve found cover designers who make awesome covers for your books. It’s too bad you had no say in your covers when your books were traditionally published.


  3. Nancy Gideon says:

    Covers SELL books or don’t sell them. My hideous first vampire romance was a prime example – totally said horror instead of romance. I LOVE to pick out my own cover art and have been lucky enough to do so with several of my publishers and now that I’m self-pubbing, it’s a favorite part of the process.


    • Diana Stout says:

      Thanks for the comments, Nancy. The trouble with covers is that what attracts one reader doesn’t attract another. So, how does one know what will attract the best? We don’t. Such a crap shoot!


  4. Ronel Janse van Vuuren says:

    Sounds like you’ve been on quite a journey with covers. I like the look of them 🙂

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day Strategies to Be a Successful Author


  5. Diane Burton says:

    Congrats on finding a cover artist that you like working with. Not having a say in your own work is so disheartening.


  6. mlouisebarbourfundyblue says:

    Thanks for an interesting post on book covers, Diana. I’m glad you have found a cover artist you enjoy working with. Happy February.

    Liked by 1 person

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