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What I've Learned So Far: Cover Design


A couple days ago, my dad asked, "Is the cover art what you envisioned when you started the whole process?"

And I responded with, "I had zero idea of what I wanted for a cover when I started."

That's 100%, honest to God, hand on the Bible, the truth. I had no clue what I wanted the cover of my book to look like. I don't know if that's a good thing or not. It's just the reality of things. I, as per usual, essentially stumbled my way through the dark and groped wildly for anything that seemed like a good idea.

But, heaven praise it, God is good, and accounts for my inability to know well, anything.


This is the unabridged, nothing obscuring it, artwork for The Rise of the Raidin (commonly referred to as book 1). I can't fully express in words how truly thrilled I am with how this turned out. I made things up as I went along, randomly would ask if we could do this, that, or the other thing, and my illustrator was patient and caring every step of the way. She must've taken pity on me, because I truly feel like she was way too gracious with my lack of direction at the start.

The search for an illustrator was hard, friends. I searched several different avenues before I finally found my illustrator (Gabrielle Ragusi is her name - look her up!). I was set on finding an illustrator, not a photoshopper. A great deal of self-published (and traditionally-published), young adult fantasy feature a "strong female protagonist wearing a leather jacket, looking fiercely at the reader, with lots of abstract flowy stuff around her" as a front cover. It's probably super trendy, but I never wanted to just follow whatever everyone else was doing.

I've always been a big fan of covers that tell a story, and foreshadow to things that either happen in the book, or happen later in the series. That couldn't really be captured with stock images. Not to mention I wanted to feature the Alpha Team (more on them later), on the cover if it was possible.

After searching Fiverr, Upwork, and the interwebs, I stumbled onto It's set up very similarly to Upwork, but it's designed specifically for authors as a marketplace for them to find help with producing their books. I submitted the request of what I was looking for, and got back a few proposals. One was from Gabrielle. After a bit of back and forth, and looking at her catalogue of a portfolio, I was stupid impressed with her talent and drive. And GOSH GOLLY, did she deliver!

God bless her too. I sent her all sorts of ideas, and she somehow was able to come up with something like eight different concepts to start. I then took that and ran with them, shoving like, three of the concepts together to start to form an idea of where we might go from there.

This whole process has taught me a lot, and I'm grateful to find myself already fairly sure of where I want to go with book 2's cover. I'm playing the long game with the covers, and I hope in the future it'll pay off. We'll see!

So what do you guys think?? Are you as excited as I am??


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