Behind the Scenes – SirenSong

Another cover for Melange Books.

For this one, I wanted to convey the idea that the man is the siren, and so I used the fish scale texture and a sort of rippling texture (a slightly Gaussian blurred image of quartz) to hint at the idea of the ocean. The author requested the gold and red tones, and mentioned that the siren works at a theatre, so I played with those colors and the background to give the cover a richer, classy feel. While I usually peruse Dreamstime for stock images, for this one, I looked through the images that Melange Books had purchased earlier during their stock subscription to see if anything matched.

This is the end result:

SBibb - SirenSong - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-young-guy-long-hair-naked-image23337038

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-gothic-castle-interior-image9182498

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-rose-quartz-vertical-image858416

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-skin-blue-siamese-fighting-fish-image7645918

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Behind the Scenes – Fallenwood

Another cover for Melange Books.

This is actually for the book prior to Forgetting Fallenwood, but the book is being re-released by Melange Books, and so it’s getting a new cover. For this one, I tried capturing the feel of the other covers I’ve done for this series, including text placement, colors, blur effects, and the fonts I used. I quite enjoyed playing with the concept of the unicorn, as well. The author had mentioned on the art form that it might be neat to have the unicorn somewhere on the cover. I took the idea and ran. :-)

This is the end result:

SBibb - Fallenwood - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-black-horse-runs-image14200120

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-woodland-glade-image22617867

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-wild-eland-image5106959

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Behind the Scenes – Moth and Rust

Another cover for Melange Books.

Oiy, this one was a doozy. I finally got a chance to play with anthropomorphic characters again, and these aren’t your usual species… here we have a spiny anteater and an armadillo. Let’s just say I got to really play with character creation and setting creation. This one took a bunch of stock photos to complete, and this is an example of where it’s helpful to have a stock subscription to be able to pick up everything at a lower cost. Melange Books had the stock subscription, so that helped. I put together the mock first, and then did the final tweaks once we had the basics. Some stuff went together really easily with the use of auto-align layers, while other pieces had to be separately liquefied or smudged or drawn in. Meanwhile, I tried using fonts and word placement as close to the previous books in this series as possible (we were trying to give the series a more ‘adult’ feel to it by changing styles), while keeping the consistency.

Overall, I’m really pleased with the final result.

SBibb - Moth and Rust - Book Cover

I also put the back cover together for this cover, though the image on the back is not mine. It was provided by the author.

SBibb - MaRwraparound

 

Stock Photos from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-cave-hall-image14618508

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-strong-athletic-man-black-background-image30214805

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-australian-echidna-image6339046

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-metal-texture-image17228342

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-brunette-image17777569

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-armadillo-walking-wild-beach-patagonia-argentina-image32754688

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-echidna-image20668355

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-dancing-floor-ballerina-her-hand-up-isolated-grey-concept-elegant-art-sportive-hobby-image34059181

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-brunette-image17777658

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-isolated-crystal-ball-quartz-pewter-image33701686

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-hand-grenade-image4470988

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-crystal-ball-yellow-image13590487

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-colorful-smoke-clouds-close-up-image37751135

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-rainbow-abstract-fractal-image13255096

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-abandoned-room-rubble-floor-image26141509

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-male-fist-holding-wooden-gavel-image12796869

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-medieval-dagger-image21957385

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-color-sound-waves-image25814440

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-oscilloscope-image-image34795210

Helpful Tutorial: http://www.thepsd.net/2013/11/glowing-lines-photoshop-effect-photoshop-cc.html

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Formatting Print Books – and Behind the Scenes – The Tune of Murder

SBibb - The Tune of Murder - Wrap-around Cover

This is a cover I did for a local author. Initially, she was looking for formatting of the print edition (since she had the kindle version ready), and since I’ve had some experience with formatting books for my own purposes, I agreed to the job. I had a lot of fun examining other books in the genre to try to emulate the style of formatting as best I could, and it’s something I recommend doing if you plan to format your own book. Pay attention to how chapter headings start (like those first lines… is the first letter of the first sentence a drop cap? Is the whole sentence capitalized? Italicized?), and how the chapters are numbered or headed. Look out for orphaned words and sentences at the end of the chapter that land on an otherwise blank page. See if chapters always start on an odd page, if they continue immediately after the previous chapter left off, or on the next page. Check that your numbers and headings are centered (especially where the ruler wants to indent everything). Make sure your table of contents, if you have one, matches up to the correct pages. If you’re using Microsoft Word, learn how to use styles. (This saves quite a bit of time in the long run. I recommend reading Smashwords’ formatting guide to pick up on the basics of simple ebook formatting, which can save time in print formatting, as well). Check for “rivers” of blank space running across the page. Decide (by printing out test sheets), the size of the font and how much space you want between the lines. It’s not necessarily best to go with single or double-space, and you can individually set paragraphs in Word. In some cases, I shortened a cluster of paragraphs on a single page in order to keep a section break from looking unwieldy on the second or third line of a page.

Side note: Having Adobe Acrobat Pro (I have version 9) is seriously helpful when converting a word document to a PDF that Createspace will recognize. I found this link to be fairly helpful in regards to PDF conversion: https://forums.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1331

As for the cover, the author wanted something that resembled the cover for her ebook edition, but since that same cover wasn’t available for print, we opted to try something slightly different. This is what we came up with:

SBibb - The Tune of Murder - Cover

Stock photo from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-candle-illuminates-music-paper-image22544191

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Behind the Scenes – Screw the Devil’s Daiquiri

This is a cover for Melange Books.

In this case, the author wanted an illustrated cover to fit with the style of story he’d written. While I primarily deal with photomanipulation, I decided to give it a try. My first couple attempts ended up looking too cartoonish (which the story is not), so I finally decided to go with a heavily altered photomanipulation using Photoshop CS6. That is… the table is illustrated, the devil tail is illustrated, and the daiquiri was created by using a combination of several Photoshop Filters (Cutout and Notebook at varying levels of opacity and filter options). As for the face and fingers, they’re a mix of illustration and photomanipulation. Though their base is in a photo, I painted in and masked out sections to create the overall look the author wanted. The eyes went through a number of revisions, mostly using the liquefy tool, then painting the pupils and light reflections back in. The hair horns were actually unintentional at first, but the author like the look, so we tweaked them to make them more specific to the image. I also toyed with letter placement of the text to add to the mood of the cover.

Anyway, this is the result:

SBibb - Screw the Devil's Daiquiri - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-curly-hairstyle-young-beautiful-happy-healthy-woman-hair-over-white-background-image33054669

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-black-martini-most-popular-cocktails-series-image5087594

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-aggressive-girl-hands-long-red-nails-isolated-white-background-image33061224

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Behind the Scenes – Take Back the Memory

This is a cover for Melange Books.

For this cover, I actually strayed a bit from the art form, but I based the cover proof on the information that was provided. Since the book was described as women’s fiction, I researched a few recent covers in the genre and tried to apply the coloration and theme of those types of covers to this one, including hinting at the location of some of the scenes in a washed out image below the text (dividing the cover by the scene and character seems to be one fairly common trend among book covers).

The author had already found a workable image for the main character, and since it was from the main site the publishers use to pick up a subscription from, we were able to use that stock image as part of the cover.

SBibb - Take Back the Memory - Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-young-cowgirl-hat-portrait-image32934876

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-african-safari-jeep-image24805178

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-water-texture-image79337

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-paper-texture-image1495336

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Behind the Scenes – Red Sun Over Panama

This is a cover for Melange Books.

The novel is an espionage/mystery novel with a historical setting, and based on the art form, I pictured a setting or rising sun over the ocean with the WWII Japanese flag behind it. I had a few questions based on what I’d read on the form, though, so I sent an email to the author before creating anything to clarify a few points in the story. I’d thought about having some sort of era based aircraft in the background, but I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate to the story. Turns out there weren’t any references strong enough to warrant having it on the cover. However, in corresponding with the author, he mentioned an idea for the cover that sounded very similar to what I had in mind. So I went ahead and created a proof based on a combination of both those ideas, and in the end, this is the result.

SBibb - Red Sun Over Panama - Book Cover

In the case of the flag, I used the stock image for the basis, then extended the suns rays so that they would bleed off the edge of the cover. Another thing I found that may be useful to keep in mind is that deep reds don’t seem to want to translate well from sRGB to CMYK for the print version. As a result, I found that curves adjustments and color balance adjustments can be rather useful in trying to match the CMYK print version of the cover to the RGB ebook version.

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-islands-scenic-ocean-image7860079

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-sunset-image14014412

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-kamikaze-image8000487

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-grunge-folded-paper-texture-image5110364

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