Designing the Perfect Cover
I’ve learned quite a few things during my journey as a published author, but one of the most important lessons I learned was to let a professional design my covers. When I first published Devil’s Nightmare, I was like any other starving novelist out there with a limited budget; I figured I could do everything myself. After all, there are some awesome do-it-yourself tools on the Internet for designing book covers. No experience necessary. What’s that? You doubt my creative design skills? Well, let me put those skeptical thoughts to rest with this little gem:
It’s a masterpiece, isn’t it? I mean, check out those flaming letters and the awesome streaks of lightning. It really gives you an idea of what the book is about, right? Of course it does. You can imagine how quickly Devil’s Nightmare hit the bestseller charts with that work of art. The only thing it cost me was a little bit of time. Pure genius, if you ask me. After all, people don’t really judge books by their covers, anyway. Well, to my absolute astonishment . . . they do. Damn! So much for taking the easy road and saving a few bucks.
A friend of mine went through a somewhat similar experience—although his original cover was leaps and bounds better than my no-budget cover. He sailed across the virtual seas of the World Wide Web and discovered Rodrigo Adolfo. So, naturally, after getting a glimpse of his work, I hired Rodrigo to redesign the cover for Devil’s Nightmare. A few days and $250 later, he sent me this cover:
It wasn’t perfect, but it was way better than my generic do-it-yourself cover. I loved the flames, the building, the “three-dimensional lightning” and the subtle reference to Ouija boards. After making a couple of more changes to the title and name, I gave it my stamp of approval. It looked beautiful, especially in print. However, I later realized that while the cover still looked great in online catalogs, the title was hard to read in search results as a thumbnail image. Nonetheless, choosing to hire someone to redesign my cover paid off. The new design finally caught readers’ eyeballs and Devil’s Nightmare sold fairly well.
One of those sets of eyeballs was the VP of Community Management at Booktrope Publishing. In late 2013, he contacted me with an invitation to republish Devil’s Nightmare with them. While flattered, I had no desire to sign contracts with any publishers at the time. I simply wanted to remain an “indie” author. Translation: I was stingy and didn’t want to share my pennies.
As time passed, I noticed several fellow authors signing on with this new innovative hybrid publisher. I finally reconsidered and submitted Devil’s Nightmare for consideration, mainly because I admitted to myself that I needed help finding new readership in this evolving industry. Since they had previously expressed interest, they accepted Devil’s Nightmare and selected it for publication through its horror imprint Forsaken (which, by the way, is awesome). Not only did I get a professional edit (you guessed it, I had previously skimped on that too . . . I had only relied on my experience working at a newspaper and used beta readers), but I also hooked up with the amazing Laura Hidalgo, who after reading Devil’s Nightmare designed the perfect cover that displays key elements of my novel. In short, she nailed it! Oh, and here’s a funny tidbit of information . . . horror totally creeps her out. So, it’s quite ironic that she’s now a part of the Forsaken design team. Here’s the new cover:
When Laura was selecting images for the design, she told me that she had found the perfect image for Saint Hedwig Youth Home. She said it was exactly how she imagined the building when she read the novel. She and I also stayed up late one night discussing those mysterious eyes you see within the title. A lot of work went into making them perfect. The pentacle beneath the title is also very significant. I loved this particular image so much that I rewrote a key scene in Devil’s Nightmare to match the cover. If you read Devil’s Nightmare, I think you will agree that Laura did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the story with just a few images.
Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share the process of designing the perfect cover for Devil’s Nightmare. I’d love to read your thoughts about it or about book covers in general. And before you leave, be sure to sign up for the Rafflecopter contest below for a chance to win some cool prizes.
Devil’s Nightmare Series
Publisher: Forsaken Imprint
Date of Publication: July 15, 2015
Cover Artist: Laura Hidalgo
Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene.
As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?
Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series.
BUY IT HERE
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though.
He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!
Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.
Robert is giving away 2 paperbacks of Devil’s Nightmare (domestic only), 2 ebooks, and for one lucky grand prize winner, a signed copy of the novel, swag, and a $25 gift card. To enter, click on the link for the rafflecopter.