Designing Your Book Cover: Lessons from the Chronicles of Theren!
I’m sure many of you know it’s hard to find a quality book cover, especially a quality cover designer! For Chronicles of Theren, I worked with Violeta Nedkova, an artist I highly recommend. With her permission, the Book Builder’s Blog is going to discuss my experience working with her. More importantly, I hope it will help you think closely about what you want out of your book covers, and what you want out of your book cover designer!
First, let’s take a look at the finished product.
On the right, we have the final cover for First of Their Kind, and below it, the final cover for Their Greatest Game. Both of these covers illustrate different themes, but they also illustrate color cohesion from book to book. And font cohesion! More importantly, they pop. The colors stand out. And they look especially gorgeous as paperback covers with a gloss finish!
I especially like First of Their Kind’s cover because it illustrates the discussion surrounding personhood throughout the novel. A duality exists within Theren’s mind, and that of all synthetic intelligences. Are they human? Are they something different? Should they want to be human? Should they want humanity to love them? Should they value SIs above humans, or vice versa?
With the cover of Their Greatest Game, we begin to reveal the true scope of the Chronicles of Theren. It’s no secret from this cover that the story is heading to space, but the duality of red and blue is still clear throughout. Theren and all other SI are dealing with rapid technological transformation, just like humanity.
How will the race to space define the species and their synthetic counterparts? More importantly, who is playing the game, and what is the board?
For both covers, I love Violeta’s ability to provide texture. You’ll notice the titles of both books have rustic binary running behind the words, a subtle reference to stories like the Matrix, Neuromancer, and other tales exploring virtual reality.
Theren is more than just an android or robot; their mind explores vast virtual worlds in the blink of an eye. And so does Jill, the second synthetic intelligence. The idea that there is so much more to their mind is subtly referenced through the binary code appearing on the page.
Now how did these themes reach Violeta’s mind? How did she create these thoughts into images?
Well, I don’t know her internal creative process, but I know how she worked with me. First, she provided a comprehensive set of questions, some simple, some more complex.
For instance, she wanted to know, at the start, what my book was about. So I provided a summary. Obvious first question, I imagine.
But then she asked more specific questions, questions that go beyond the page. Consider:
What's the mood of your story?
Describe your story with 3 adjectives.
Is there a specific image you want featured on the cover?
Are there any symbols or motifs that appear a lot throughout the story?
The questions got deep very quickly! And then, after I answered those questions, she provided me with concept pieces. Here’s a few examples!
Through these concepts, I’m sure you can see the moving pieces that eventually led to the final product. Violeta professionally took my feedback on each concept, worked with different ideas, and provided new versions. I was probably more picky than she expected, but she wonderfully dealt with my idiosyncrasies. And now I have two absolutely wonderful book covers for my debut science fiction series.
So tell me, readers! What do you think of the book covers for First of Their Kind and Their Greatest Game? What emotions do the bring forth? Have you read the books yet? If not, what are you waiting for? They’re both available on Amazon right now.