Monique Morgan Guest Post

First I would like to thank Jessica for having me here!:) Let me introduce myself. My name is Monique Morgan, I am an indie author who writes YA books.

Today I would like to talk to you about covers. I know that we have all heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by the cover”, but let’s be real, we all have at one time or another. When you’re an indie author this could be the difference between someone giving your book a chance… or not. I don’t claim to be the best cover designer; there are many others that are far better than I am. However, I have received quite a few positive comments my covers, and let me let you in on a secret… it wasn’t that hard.

I’m a researcher by heart, and the first thing that I did when I decided I wanted to create my own cover, was go to Amazon and look at covers and book reviews for my genre. You will be surprised how many times a review will include something along the lines of “I loved this cover!” What I came away with were these things.
Many of the “loved” covers had:
1. Unique angle. (sometimes this included just the body, or just the arms, half a face, etc)
2. Pop of color.
3. Interesting looking word appearance (author name, title etc)
4. Series covers had something in common.

After my research on the covers I knew what customers where enjoying, but how was I going to make one myself? I’m not a graphic artist. I don’t paint or draw. And that’s were Shutterstock came into the picture. This is a royalty free website, with millions of photos. What’s royalty free? It means when you purchase the image you also purchase the legal right to use it, in covers, advertisements, bookmarks, basically how you want, more details here) The price runs from $19 per image or my favorite 5 images for $49. I combed through their images until I found an image that I LOVED. The only problem was, it was the perfect cover for Dreamer, not Pursuer. But hey, I had a base (the same face without adornments), so technically I could add to it and make it a cover for Pursuer… but how?
More research…:) I needed some kind of software to play with photos. We all know the biggest software out there for photos, and it also comes with a BIG price. So I started comparing reviews for other brands that were far more affordable. I found Corel Paintshop Pro X4 on Amazon, for $49.99. And even better it came with 21 free downloads from Fotolia (another royalty free stock photo site).
This was the first time I had ever used any kind of software like this, so I read the nice little how-to book, and just fooled around with it. Once I got the hang of it, I found it very user friendly. I won’t go into too many details on how to use Corel Paintshop, but I will mention my favorite aspect, “clone”. What this does is copy one part of a picture to another, stroke for stroke. I like to think of it as one of those scratch-to-find-if-your-a-winner things, the more you “scratch”, so to speak, the more of the other picture comes out in the new picture. This is how I made the cover for Pursuer.
What about the title and author look, you ask? I did this with Corel too, using a nice feature called “illuminate”. I spent many hours on Pursuer, but honestly, it was more fun than anything else. Dreamer was far easier, because I didn’t have to make many changes, and I knew more of what I was doing.
So for around $100 I created 2 different covers, I’m working on a third, and I have quite a few images waiting in the wings. Technically it could be done with less, if you can find the images you like on fotolia. Shutterstock and fotolia do have duplicate images on their sites. But I found I liked shutterstock’s images better.
My favorite part was having control of what I wanted, and how it would look. I really didn’t have any background in this area, so honestly anybody could do the same, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and the effort. Here’s a look at my covers, hope you like them 🙂

To learn more about the author or the Alwahi Series visit monquemorgan.com

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