The Progress and Process of a Book Cover


I went to school to be an illustration major. Although I sometimes use the skill of layout, design and illustration for magazines or books, more often, I use this for my own book covers. Since I always knew I wanted to illustrate my own books, it turns out it was good skill set to acquire.

I don’t often get to show off my rough drafts, but I thought I would do so as an example of how a book cover evolves. No one gets anything right the first time. All artists make rough drafts. I didn’t save the worst of my rough drafts but here are some that I saved so I can show you what isn’t working.


Who is my target market? Cozy witch mystery readers. What do other books in my genre look like? They are illustrations of cute witches. That means I want something different from what other authors have, but something that still looks cute and fits the genre. When I look at my competition, I am looking at authors with an Amazon ranking of the top 100 bestsellers because those authors are doing something right and part of that is their covers. 


First of all, I started off with a good illustration. I didn’t make this particular piece. I am currently too busy writing to make art, though I did make another piece imitating her style but using imagery I wanted for another book in the series. I bought this piece from Iren Horrors on Deviant Art. Her whimsical witch illustrations capture the cute feel I am looking for.

I adore this font and feel like it captures the quirky, whimsical feel of the book, but it isn’t legible. My name isn’t very legible either. 

I tried different fonts and changing the layer styles of the fonts with drop shadows, bevel and emboss, outer glow and other styles until I find something that works.

Still trying.

Playing with compostion of words.

After all that work, I realized I need titles more like the other witch books out there. I decided to make Womby’s School for Wayward Witches my series title and use this image for the second book in the series.

Finally, I found the one.