working with a cover
Marketing,  Publishing

Working with a Cover Designer

What it’s really like to work with a Cover Designer

This week I am excited to talk with the author P.J. Friel on her experience working with professional cover artist Damonza for her debut paranormal romance A Twist of Wyrd.

Ms. Friel, who designs covers for other authors, felt qualified to create her own. This is the original cover:

A twist of wyrd
original cover

As you can see, it’s a decent cover. Certainly far above what many would finger as “amateur” work; nevertheless, the author decided it could use some revision.

TMS: So why did you feel the cover was not quite right?

P.J: I basically got cover envy from Tal. lol [The cover for his current novel A Time to Rise  was designed by Damonza] I really wanted a cover designed by Damonza, but the cost was outside my budget.

However, when I looked on his website, I noticed that he offered a cover evaluation service for free. You send him your cover and he looks it over and tells you what is wrong (and right) with it. So, I sent in my cover and he sent me back a pdf outlining his thoughts on my design.

[Here’s a breakdown of what is in the evaluation: Taken from the from P.J.’s evaluation:

This review considers your cover using 5 different components – tone, relevance, attraction, interest and legibility (TRAIL). Each of those sections is scored out of 10, to give your book a final score out of 50.

In each category, she received a detailed description of the ideal cover and where her cover was off the mark. At the end was a summary of suggestions for improvements.]

TMS: Can you tell me a bit about what you thought wasn’t working with the previous version and what suggestions surprised you?

P.J: I knew the text was weak. I was fairly happy with the image itself and he gave me decent marks on that.  Overall, I got a score of 23/50.  I got a 6/10 for tone. Tone is basically genre.

TMS: Ah. We talked about that. Yours was less gritty

P.J: Yes. For Relevance I scored 8/10…the cover matched the content of the book based on the blurb I sent him. (No Egyptian pyramids on my Norse mythology paranormal romance.)

My cover scored 3/10 for attraction. He didn’t feel that it was very eye catching for readers.

TMS: Really? I would disagree. I found it very eye catching

P.J: I did too…until I saw his.

TMS: *laughs

P.J: Interest score was 4/10. Interest is just how visually interesting the cover is. He mentioned her eye being interesting, but that was about it.

Legibility was a huge fail. I got 2/10. That’s my font choices and use of drop shadows and the bokeh behind “wyrd.”  He dinged me hard for all that and I deserved it.

TMS: Text is so hard. I find it’s the “tell” for amateur titles.

P.J: Totally is. And it’s my weak spot. After the scoring, he gave me recommendations on how to fix the cover and showed me several well done covers in my genre.

TMS: Holy crap. He does that for FREE?

P.J: Just the consulting. Not the improvements.

TMS: Right. Still, that’s pretty sweet

P.J: I was going to fix the cover myself, but then I saw where he also offered a service to update a cover instead of designing one from scratch. I asked for a quote and he came back with price I could afford, so I went for it. The difference he made in my cover was impressive. I think he could probably make just about any cover look better.

TMS: Did you have multiple revisions or was it one pass?

P.J: We only did one pass on mine. He sent me a mock up and I asked for one small change. He fixed that and then I was completely satisfied. He sent me an invoice via PayPal. I paid and received my final covers. He also answered my questions about what fonts he used on my title so I could purchase those same fonts to use with any marketing I do.

TMS: Sounds pretty painless

P.J: Completely painless and very quick, too. My experience was 100% positive. I couldn’t be happier.

TMS: Probably makes a difference going with someone with a solid reputation as opposed to hiring some random person off Fiverr

P.J: Absolutely. Damonza is a true professional, offering a valuable and very business savvy service. His free cover consulting led to me ultimately paying for his services and it created a win-win for both of us. If you or your readers are interested, the starting price for his cover improvements service is $95 and prices go up from there.

The link for the cover consulting is:

And here’s the link for his cover improvements service:

Here’s the final result for PJ’s cover:

A Twist of Wyrd
final cover

TMS: Wow. That’s awesome.

P.J: Thanks! I’m absolutely thrilled with it.

Thanks for sharing you experience, P.J. Best of luck with A Twist of Wyrd.

To celebrate her new cover, the book is being offered for free on Amazon until the July 29. Grab your copy today!

*this article was not sponsored by Damonza, we’re genuine fans.

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M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.

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