So I admit that by doing this I am revealing that my novella will be a trilogy. If you read The View from Here, you will be aware that as fun and exciting the ending was, it could stand alone or continue.
So much has been written about the importance of covers, and how you should look at the covers of the books that sell in your genre and use that as a guide. There’s only one problem: I don’t care for most of the covers.
But wait! The cover is what entices the reader first. It should give a glimpse of what the book is about.
OK, then. So I once again looked at best sellers. This is what I discovered are the most common themes for Sci-fi/Post-apoc:
- Spaceship racing away
- Spaceship heading toward you (Oh, no!)
- Battling spaceships
- Spaceship entering a vortex
- Spaceship emerging from a vortex
- Futuristic city
- Futuristic city with aliens
- Hunky guy with laser gun
- Sexy girl with laser gun
- Hunky alien with laser gun
- Sexy alien with laser gun
- Ruined city
- Ruined city with guy in makeshift armor
- Ruined city with girl in makeshift armor
- Ruined city with guy AND girl in makeshift armor
- Ruined city with guy in government issued armor
- Ruined city with girl in government issued armor
- Ruined city with guy AND girl in government issued armor
- Ruined city with zombies
- Ruined city with zombies and a guy in makeshift armor
- Ruined city with zombies and a girl in makeshift armor
- Ruined city with zombies, a guy AND a girl in makeshift armor
- Hunky guy battling zombies
- Sexy girl battling zombies
- Hunky zombie
- Sexy zombie
When I was designing my cover for The Knot at the End of the Rope, I thought of the title story and used that as my staring point. I redesigned it later to include more motion (and emotion/terror) in it. The font was chosen because it reminded me of the early 50s/60s sci-fi covers.
For my next book, I wanted to convey the idea of relationships and mystery. This is not an action story; it is an adventure. As I wrote it, I was reminded of the computer game “Myst”. Remember that? No? If you were looking for action, it wasn’t for you. If you wanted to wander around thinking, “What the heck happened here?” then, this was it. I spent hours at a time on that game.
Sci-fi covers had become to busy for me. Too cartoony, too computery (yes, that’s a real word*).
I was happy with the final result, and only one reader said it was “Meh.” So, when the story was set to become a [spoiler alert] trilogy, I had to decide how I was going to approach the cover. Everything I tried looked too different. It wasn’t really a different story, more of a continuation, so how to continue the theme? Use the same cover? Can I do that**?
I might be ignoring some expert and tried and true techniques, but in the end none of those made me happy, and you know the old saying, “If Leon ain’t happy . . .well, he’s a grumpypants. Just leave him alone.”
So, here is a sneak peek of what I hope to be the next two covers. let me know what you think by voting below. What are those vertical lines? Just a guide to where the spine will be.
Thanks for reading!
* No it’s not.
**It turns out you can do whatever you want. It’s your book. Plus, I think it will look awesome as a boxset.
Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry, Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions, Journeys, and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales called The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. His newest publications are the novella trilogy, The View from Here, which is a continuation of one of his short stories, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.
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