Covers

4squareWith a short story coming out with every full moon, cover art can be a real problem. You want each to be unique, but that can grow more and more difficult as the collection grows.

When my editor and I were brainstorming cover art, I suggested finding a theme, like a logo, and only changing a few little things each month. She had a great composition of a curtained window looking out at Earth and the lunar landscape. Each month, we changed the colors, and put different silhouettes in the frame.

Silhouettes are the perfect choice when you’re doing so many covers. It’s difficult to find exactly the bit of art that fits your story, and when you do, the details of the person’s hair or eyes might be completely wrong. Silhouettes avoid this problem, and lend themselves well to idea that most of these characters could belong to any number of different ethnic identities.

With the transition to self-pub, I’m simplifying the covers even more. The window still looks out at Earth, but there are no curtains. There is a line to designate the transition between the floor and the wall. With the exception of the view outside the window (which is always exactly the same whether or not that particular view would even be possible in the story) there are only three colors. The wall is one color, the frame matches the floor, and all text and silhouettes are black. If the story is one of the short shorts (less than five thousand words, usually around two thousand) it also has the little mouse holding the “short short” sign. These extra short stories are intended to be perma-free. Smashwords does that easily, but Amazon requires a little arm twisting. It is very helpful to me, the author, if readers go the link at the bottom of Amazon’s page and click “Tell us about a lower price” and let Amazon know the story is free on other sites.

The hubby is being very helpful about processing the artwork for me. He puts the pieces together, and gives me files with and without text, as well as black and white. I think we’ll use the black and white art when we put together the collection.

I like the simplicity of these covers. It’s easy for a reader to tell at a glance “Oh… that’s one of the books in The Cities of Luna.” Putting them together creates a neat graphic effect.

Hmm…maybe I’ll play with GIFs and FLASH…