Designing my eyecatching cover for THE PRINCE’S MAN

With the cover reveal for DESPRITE MEASURES imminent (yay!), I thought I would share the design steps that went into the cover for THE PRINCE’S MAN.

Those who attended my facebook launch party might recall I ran a competition, with the question: how many photographs are there in the cover picture? The answer: 4

  1. Mountain background
  2. Rider
  3. Horse’s head
  4. Horse’s bridle

For the best education in cover design, follow THE BOOK DESIGNER’s monthly Cover Contest – his comments and insights on what works and what doesn’t for an ebook cover are clear, sometimes cutting, but always useful.

I picked my designer from a cover I really liked, that was entered in the contest. I contacted the author and asked who her designer was, and she’d done it herself! So I asked if she’d fancy having a go at another, and she agreed. Fortunately I didn’t have a tight deadline, so we tossed ideas back and forth over several months. In comparison, the cover for DESPRITE MEASURES was done in just over a week, but I employed a professional cover designer as I had a tight time-schedule.

At the start, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to show a single rider, or the three main characters. I knew I wanted the mountains, and Jennifer came up with the gorgeous range you see on the cover at the first attempt. She then pasted together roughly a couple of idea so I could make a decision, and here they are:

ScreenShot - HorseHead

Mock Up - WS Version

Not sure where the idea came from that I wanted a semi-naked rider, but that’s what she had in her mind!

Anyway, looking at the two versions, it occurred to me (I was rather slow here) that the cover should reflect the title rather than the story, so the single rider won the day, and we embarked on finding a rather more appealing figure. Having cleared up that I didn’t need a semi-naked man, this was the next offering:

Mock Up - CU Version 2

Nice rider, shame about the horse!

I couldn’t conceive Nightstalker as such an ugly beast, so I sent Jennifer a batch of pics of Friesian horses, and she came up with a couple of options:

Mock Up - CU Version 4

Mock Up - CU Version 5

Getting closer now! As you know, we went with the second of these variations. The next issue was that, as you can see, this horse is wearing a headcollar, not a bridle. So next on the menu was selecting a suitable bridle. I’ve lost the selection photos, but the one I chose is taken from a young stallion in the Spanish Riding School, and Jennifer’s skills were tested, digitally removing the headcollar and replacing it with the bridle, which she had to extract from a white horse’s head!

For the sharp-eyed (horsey) people, you might have noticed the slightly odd way that Rustam is holding his reins – that was a step too far to sort that out, and isn’t going to catch the eye of the average person, so we left it be.

So now we had to decide which direction he was going to face:

Cover1-PrincesMan (2)

or, as we finished with:

Cover2-PrincesMan (2)

I couldn’t decide, so Jennifer made the final choice, based on the way the light falls on the side of the mountain, and also on Rusty’s face – and she’s right!

The type colour for my author name is taken from the my blog and twitter backgrounds – my branding colour, if you will.  Along the way there were other versions with the type in slightly different positions, but the one above was the final (print) version, and this, of course, is the final ebook cover:


And it’s doing its job of catching the eye of the prospective purchaser – 1650 sales and counting….

So there you have it – it was a really fun experience that resulted in a successful cover; so if you are designing your own, be prepared to change your mind as you go along – it’s useful to start out with an idea of what you want, but your designer may know better!

And in case you’re wondering, here is the cover that caught my eye:

51uBTGTNbfL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_Jennifer Quintenz is a film and television writer, author, and graphic novelist. She has written for Twentieth Television, Intrepid Pictures, and Archaia Studios Press. She currently lives in Burbank, California with her husband and son.

And here is her next: 5117Byig7fL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Did you design our own cover? Or are you thinking about one right now? Any questions, I’ll be happy to answer 🙂

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