Yesterday, I was informed by someone that they were looking for a designer to create a front cover for their zombie horror fiction series.
I spent six hours of work on it, and they decided not to go with my design. I’ll probably never know why. They didn’t say. But the joy of having created it and the fact that they refused it means it’s now mine to use as I see fit. I get to re-purpose it however I like. Graphic design work never goes to waste, so even though I’m not getting paid now, it’s going to use it to demonstrate the process of designing a custom book cover.
It starts with the book’s concept
This book was about a young mom with an 18-month-old toddler struggling to survive in a zombie-infested waste land. Her back is literally against the door and the zombies have her outnumbered and cornered. She’s not just fighting for her own survival. She’s fighting for her child’s survival, too.
What the author wanted
She wanted an image that would show the zombies on one side of the door and our desperate mom on the other side. She wanted a hand reaching through to get to the mom and mom dodging a way. She wanted action and emotion.
Figuring out a composition for the artwork that is going to fit in the 8″ x 5″ space and give the necessary feel of fear, urgency, and horror all at the same time is not easy. There would need to be a front, back, and ebook version. That’s not hard to do once you have the front cover done.
The six hour labor of love
Honestly, I don’t tend to do a lot of zombie work. It’s not a big draw for me. But I did enjoy working on this cover. I enjoyed the challenge of stretching myself, doing something new, trying out new techniques and seeing where they would take me. I spent four hours on it last night and then another two this morning to get it done and submitted.
The disappointment of rejection
Let’s face it, when you put that much into a work of art and it isn’t accepted by the person you designed it for, it can be frustrating and disappointing. However, as I said earlier, such work is never a waste. Just making the effort teaches you something. The attempt sharpens your skills. And you end up with something you can rework later or maybe re-purpose for other uses. And in the end, I get to show you the finished product and tell you a little bit about what goes into it.
Yes, I do custom cover work
If you’re interested in discussing the possibility of me doing a custom cover for your next book, just send me a DM on Twitter or email me. I’ll be happy to discuss it with you. Pricing depends on what you want done and how quickly you’re asking for it to be done.