Savage Cinderella Cover Reveal

Good morning Scribes fans! Today I’m doing my big cover reveal for my next book, SAVAGE CINDERELLA, due out, March 15th. I’ve mentioned before that my husband makes my covers so I’ll give you the skinny on how he does it, in case you’re curious.

First, we talk about the book and my vision for what I want the cover to project. Then we peruse the stock photo sites looking for that one picture that screams at both of us, “I’ll tell the story, pick me—pick me!”. I found both the front and back cover photos for  this book at Big Stock Photos. After much research, reading the fine print, and following several discussions on the Indie Romance Ink loop, I realized I didn’t need to pay extended licensing fees on the stock photos for book covers unless I was planning to sell over 5000 print copies or use the photos for merchandising, neither of which seems likely. I can always change the cover later if I need to. So compared to the $300 we spent on Heaven Is For Heroes,

Available September 24th
Heaven Is For Heroes

the $100 I spent for On Thin Ice,

On Thin Ice

and the $13.98 I spent on Savage Cinderella, I can safely say I’ve cut my production costs by several hundred percent. That’s what I call a bargain! I can use those savings for editing services or advertising. A learning curve, indeed!

Once I pick out the photos, my husband–the creative genius techspert–takes control of the next step. He downloads a template from CreateSpace that is based on the size of the book (in my case 5.5×8.5). I chose this size because it puts my 80,000 word young adult novels at a manageable width for readers. The print is large and readable, there is adequate white space on the page, and they are distinct from the typical 4.5×6.5 romance novel sized book. Anything I can do to have my books be reader friendly and stand out in the crowd, is a good thing. The spine width is automatically determined by the page count of the book.

Next, he sets up the template on Power Point and starts fitting the photos onto the template and adding the layers of text. I’d love to give you all the specs of step by step processing, but I’ve watched him do it three times now and the details still befuddle me.  He alters coloring as needed, we agonize over fonts for a while, and finally, when it’s as perfect as we can get it, he saves it to a PDF which is the format required by CreateSpace. Voilà! Hubby crops and saves the cover photo as a jpg. or png. file so I can use it for blogs, advertisements and on my website.

So there you have it. Above is the front cover and to the right is the back cover. We’ve added a QR code with a link to my website and Createspace will add the UPC with ISBN number. I’d love your feedback about how you think we did. We’re still learning and are open to constructive criticism so we can keep improving with each cover. I love each of them for different reasons but it’s fun to see the evolution.


35 thoughts on “Savage Cinderella Cover Reveal”

  1. Thank you, Casey. I do think it does a good job of giving the feel of the story. I worried a bit about the black and white and that it might not stand out, but I actually think it stands out because it is black and white with only her face having a flesh tone that draws attention to her. My husband and I both loved that about the picture.

  2. I like it! It’s very bleak and stark and you’re right, the flesh tone makes her pop right out at you. My favorite cover, though, is still “On thin ice.” I love the mountains and the ice skater 😀

  3. Thanks, Jamie. Bleak is a good word and a tone I was definitely going for.

    I love the On Thin Ice cover, too. That one shows up really well as a thumb nail and even across the room I get comments on the actual hardcopy.

  4. Nice cover!. I use some stock photography on my blog when I want a dramatic image for a post. (I’ll have to look into Big Stock. I’ve used iStockphoto.) Granted, web-sized images are much cheaper than book cover-sized, let alone Extended License rights. I imagine you can add those rights after-the-fact, as needed.

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. yes, if you are using an image for a website, you need extended licensing, and I do believe that I can get them later on if my hardcopies started selling like hotcakes, at which time I might also consider hiring a cover artist to design new covers if I wanted a revamp. So many options! I love that!

  5. PJ, love the new cover (front and back). But even more, I love how you’ve learned to cut your costs down. Great job on both. Looking forward to reading it.

    1. Thanks, Gail. Indie publishing is such an experimental endeavor. If you recall, i had a moment of panic when I did the first cover and realized I didn’t have extended licensing. I went back and bought the picture twice more, trying to ensure that I had all the legalities accounted for when I chose that particular picture for Heaven Is For Heroes. All in all, I spent about $300 on the cover (front and back images), and another $300 on the trailer because I bought and paid for extended licensing on several photos I used to make the trailer. The second time around, I only paid $99 for the front cover image for ON THIN ICE and the trailer cost me nothing (other than hours and hours of my husband’s time learning the ins and outs of i-Movie on his Mac).

      Now that I know I don’t need extended licensing and my husband has worked out the kinks in using i-Movie to create the trailers, this book will cost next to nothing to produce. Which is great because I will need all of my dollars for editing and promotion:-)

  6. PJ, I find your covers give the reader the mood of your books. Your husband does an excellent job with each cover–Attention grabbing are the words I choose to describe them. I hope you sales soar. PS when I get my blog up I love for you to be a guest there showing off all these beautiful covers.

    1. Thanks Marian. Grabbing attention is what we’re after! There are some amazing covers coming out these days and some very stiff competition for readers attention, so we need to grab them with something different and unique.

      I’d love to be your guest!

  7. PJ, I really, really like the Cinderella cover. Seriously, the darkness of the colors and the snow – very cool.
    By the way, I just finished “On Thin Ice” and really enjoyed it. Will be leaving a review on Amazon if it’s there which I assume it is.
    Patti Yager Delagrange

    1. I like that contrast, too, patti. Thanks

      I’m so glad you liked ON THIN ICE, and I appreciate honest reviews wherever you’d like to leave one. The book is available at Amazon, BN and Smashwords. Good reads is also a great place to leave reviews since that is where so many readers find us. Thanks again for the feedback and for taking the time to review the book. You’re a sweetheart!

  8. Hi PJ,
    Great job with the cover, goes perfectly with the story. I see in it mystery, her innocence (simplicity) and beauty. When I don’t know an author and I’m just looking at books by the covers, I like seeing how they draw my attention. This one would catch my eye because of her look, even though the scenery is very somber, I’d want to know about her because of that far away look and sadness in her eyes. The only critique would be for her to have longer uneven hair. Other than that she’s perfect, pale, skinny and dressed for the part.
    You know, thanks for sharing the process of publishing books, I’ve always wondered about that but haven’t had the courage to ask. A lot of hard work and hours go into it, that’s for sure. All that hard work will be rewarded. ;D
    One more thing, I like that you put for reader 14+ because as a mom of a 13yo it’s hard to look for books in the YA because I’d want to know if it would be appropriate for my kid or not. A lot of books now are grouped 9-12 then YA but it’s not the same for a 13yo as a 18yo., some topics might not be appropriate or ready for them or of their interest.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Lorelei.

      I put the 14+ rating on all of my books so far, not because they have overt sexuality or profanity (which none of them does), but because the subjest matter in all of them is mature. In Savage Cinderella, this girl was kidnapped, raped, beaten, and left for dead. None of that happens “on the page”, but it is a harsh reality that “children” shouldn’t necessarily be exposed to. YA readers are getting younger and younger and some are very mature readers, so this was a difficult descision for me. Because Penny in ON THIN ice deals with a teen pregnancy, I felt that I needed to address the actual sex, so there is one fairly steamy section of the book, but again nothing as graphic as adult romance. There is also a lot of sexual tension in HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, but Jordie and Alex never do the “deed”. i don’t want to sugar coat the teen experience of sexuality, but I also don’t feel it needs to be graphically displayed for teens to feel real. I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading the books, and in fact there is nothing in any of them that a parent wouldn’t want their 13 year-old to see, but I wanted to set a standard in case parents like yourself wanted to check them out first.

  9. I love, love, love this cover. IMHO it’s the best one yet — and I can’t wait to see/read how this story turned out. The very dark and gritty subject matter will definitely resonate with your readers.

    1. Thanks Suze! Your opinion carries a lot of weight with me since you are such an avid reader. Not to mention you know this story, so if you say it fits, I’m inclined to feel pretty good about that:-)

      As for the grittiness and my readers, we’ll see. I have a habit of making a sunshiny ending come out of every dark situation. This story is no exception.

  10. Hi PJ, Your new cover evokes fear, loneliness, and strength. The black and white starkness of this cover is so different from your other colorful covers, and tells me that I’ll be reading an entirely different kind of story. It’s rather frightening, and even though I know a little bit about the story, I’ll probably read this one during the day time when the sun is shining! Good work from both you and your hot honey!

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Myrna! This is a very different kind of story for me for several reasons, so I’m glad that message comes through in the cover. Reader expectation is something all authors need to consider. Although this is a contemporary YA novel, has an element of romance, and does have a hopeful ending, as do my other books, this one is told in third person point of view. I wanted the hero, Justin, and more importantly, I wanted our villain to have a POV. I consider this story more of a YA romantic suspense than a straight romance. The POV issues were especially challenging for me after having written the first two in first person where I found it very natural to be in deep POV. We’ll see if readers like this book as well as the others.

      Thanks for dropping in. I’ll tell the hot honey you send your regards:-)

  11. What have I learned here today, PJ? I learned I need a husband. And not just any husband, but a husband who is as talented as yours to do my covers and trailers. LOL

    Seriously though..the covers — all of them are awesome and so very different/unique. You guys have done a wonderful job. I’m so impressed.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Since I’m just trying to figure all this out for myself, these things are so good to know. Can’t wait to read Savage Cinderella. I don’t even know what it’s about, but I love both the title and the cover!

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. He is definitely one of a kind and as my mom would have said…a keeper!

      I wanted the cover to be unique and eyecatching, but since it isn’t making the story idea stand out, I’m thinking I might add a short, catchy tagline on the cover. Something like, “How far will she go to hide…”

      Maybe I’ll start a contest and ask for suggestions. Ooooh, I like that idea.

      1. Oh no! I hope I didn’t give you that impression. I could have clicked on the back cover image and enlarged it so my tired eyes could have read what it’s about, but I’m having comp issues tonight. I like the cover and even without knowing what the book is about it makes me interested in knowing more.about what this poor girl is going through and why.

        But, I like the tagline “How far will she go to hide…” too.

        I would definitely pickup this book or click on the eBook link for more info just from the cover and title alone. I’d tell you otherwise. I’m all about helping each other do the best we can. It’s a hard business to be in especially without honesty from your writer friends. 🙂

  12. PJ, I love that you post about your actual costs and the experiences you’ve had with your indie pubbing journey. Last week, you were talking about projects in other genres. You should publish an ebook about how to self-publish on the cheap. People could learn from your experiences. 😀

    1. Thanks, Catie. I’ve thought about that and haven’t ruled it out, but I feel like I’m still in the learning mode. Once I’ve worked out all the bugs, I’ll definitely consider it. I figure it will take me another six months to a year and a few more books under my belt to nail it down. I would hate to steer anyone wrong because of my lack of experience. I’m taking notes and always available for questions.

  13. Thank you, Gail. So glad you liked the story. Writing is an ever-evolving pursuit, so I’m looking forward to improving the craft as I go. I’m also happy to share my experiences so that others can learn from my mistakes. That goes for life as well as the indie-publishing journey, which is one of my main motivations for writing YA:-)

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