So. You've been waiting. You've been reading the bits of Where I Stand that I've been posting on Mondays. And you've been wondering: when are we going to see the cover?
Wait no more, my devoted readers! I present to you the results of hours scrolling through Shutterstock and 45 minutes on Microsoft Paint: the cover of Where I Stand.
I'm just grateful I was able to find a decent image to use. I had no idea until recently that most authors, even established ones, just use stock images for their book covers. I'd found another photo that I wanted to use. However, after contacting the photographer, I realized it was way out of my price range. Plus, that picture was pretty dark (the girl's hair was black and the ocean was stormy) and it didn't fit with the first book's cover very well. So yeah. Shutterstock for everyone!
Sometimes I wish books came with commentaries. Movies do; you can watch the film while hearing the directors talk about what went into each scene and the specific challenges they faced while creating it. I've only ever watched a commentary for one movie--Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. And I didn't stick around for the whole thing. But it was really cool, seeing the research and effort that had gone into making each scene of the movie. At least, I enjoyed it. It was like going to a museum and seeing how things work.
But even the commentaries don't mention the cover art. They might mention the lighting or the animation or the cinematography, but never the cover art. And that's kind of a shame. People aren't supposed to judge books or movies by their covers, but they do. Artists spend a whole bunch of time trying to come up with something that's interesting and original. And something that captures the theme, plot, or essence of the art that follows it.
It's not simple.
It's almost as hard as coming up with a title.
But once you're finished, it's so worth it.
And yes, you can do it without Photoshop. Microsoft Paint has this thing called Transparent Selection where you can erase part of a picture, select it, and superimpose it on another picture. It's the best thing since sliced cheese.
That being said, it's the content behind that cover that makes the cover worth creating. And with that content, dear readers, I'm requesting your assistance.
I've finished the book, but I know that there are still a few things that need to be cut or added to take the story from good to great. I just can't see the flaws because I'm too wrapped up in the story. So I need some of you to be Beta readers for me.
If you're interested, just send me an email at email@example.com. I'll send you two documents: Where I Stand in a PDF form, and a Microsoft Word document that has a few questions I'd like you to answer. If you fill out that sheet for me before September 1, I'll email you an exclusive short story that won't be featured on my regular blog. (As if getting a free book wasn't reason enough to be a Beta reader!)
First rule of being a Beta readers is pretty simple. You can't share Where I Stand with anyone else. My book is my baby. I've been working on it for two years, and if anyone steals it, I'd be devastated. Second rule: don't be shy with your feedback. You hate the book? Let me know why. Don't be afraid of hurting my feelings. I work with fifth and sixth graders. I'm used to criticism.
Third rule: enjoy the book and tell your friends about it! I'll let you know when it's released on Amazon, just in case you want to support me financially. I really appreciate every single sale; it's a wonderful encouragement.
What's your favorite book cover? And do you actually watch the director commentaries on movies? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear readers, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.