22 Aug 2015

Book Covers: learning the hard way by Eleanor Smythe

Today I'm so thrilled to have one of my dearest friends with me, Eleanor Smythe. The author of The Other Side of Town, Eleanor has written a guest post about the trials and tribulations of creating her book cover. It's a fabulous post, so do read on...

Learning as I go seems to be the only way, and it’s true that I don’t know what I need to know, until it stares me in the face. My debut book the Other Side of Town, has good reviews, however the cover seemed to attract negative feedback. Advice given, from various authors and reviewers, was that the cover was likely to stop interest in the book…In this case you really couldn’t tell the book by it’s cover. Once this was pointed out to me, it became obvious that it needed to be updated, to reflect the story and to attract readers.
Old cover (left) and new cover

My greatest skill in life seems to be the ability to beat myself up; actually I should probably write a book on that… sure to be a best seller. I have to remind myself that I trained as an Occupational Therapist and that was my career. I never studied graphic design, art or even English lit, come to think of it and I’m a late starter in the world of technology. Until I published my first book I only used a computer for letters and emails, and of course my work (patient notes etc.) So why do I give myself such a hard time, when I’m unable to get every thing spot on first time? I guess it’s something about not wanting to be a failure, or not wanting to be seen as a failure. With my logical head on, I know that I’m not a failure, how can I be? How can any of us be failures, just as long as we keep trying. However logic doesn’t always kick in quick enough. When I realised my cover wasn’t…lets say appropriate, I went into my usual panic mode. I saw lots of F’s flashing before my eyes. Failure! Failure! Failure! And a few other words beginning with F. I always panic, whenever I have a techno blip and as an Indie author, if there’s going to be a blip it’s always technical. I needed my first book to be perfect, but of course a learning process was bound to bring up errors. In my mind I wasn’t just an unknown Indie Author, I was also becoming an unknown, failing Indie Author, with the question of, why I hadn’t chosen an easy hobby for my retirement, like knitting or gardening.
I am so fortunate to have my very own Wonder Woman and Guru as a friend. During my moment of give up and panic, Author Suzy Turner said, “It’s no problem, we can sort it.” My response was something like “Really?”
We had one of our lets work together days, which usually means, Suzy is attempting to teach me some new skills, relating to social media or marketing…A slow process, usually ending up with me sitting with my mouth open and Suzy clicking away showing me which buttons to press. Apparently I need more followers and more books. This particular workday was going to be very different. Suzy was going to create a “New Cover” This I had to see, there was nothing I could do, my technical ability was now way outside of it’s comfort zone. We scanned the appropriate sites for the images that said this book is actually about someone laying dead in the road On the Other Side of Town having been killed by a hit and run driver. It’s a ‘who done it.’ Not a love story with a sad woman on the cover. The transformation began, I did have input into choosing the images, under the watchful eye of Suzy. Then she worked her magic cutting, pasting, lining things up and twisting images and words about, until we had the desired affect.
Now this is the funny thing, someone said my first cover looked homemade and amateur, when in fact I had an artists input. This one has been greeted with positive feedback and actually was done at home, it took several hours, but it just shows things aren’t always, as they seem. For my next book PLUG! PLUG! Reflections, I will get my advice from the expert, Suzy Turner, Author, blogger, filmmaker and New Cover producer.

Get your copy of The Other Side of Town from Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords.
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Eleanor Smythe was born in the east end of London. Raised a family to secondary school level and then went on to obtain a degree in Occupational Therapy. Although she worked in various medical settings her greatest passion in her career was working with clients in the community, where she claims real life takes place. 
Recently retired and now living in Portugal Eleanor has more time to pursue her love of writing. She has always been intrigued by the way in which peoples lives have twists and turns and how individuals cope with life's challenges. Her stories attempt to embrace the emotional turmoils of life, bringing her characters to life by showing humour, tragedy, conflict and betrayal; emotions that many of us face daily. Her debut book, The Other Side of Town is full such characters.

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