Covering For Mark Williams Part 4 – by Athanasios

More shoes on covers? There’s no escape, it seems.

Danielle Blanchard Benson is another MWiDP author who has been lucky enough to grab the inesteemable Athanasios for her cover-designer. Check out Athanasios’s Covers For Hire site (link below) to see the scrumptious covers he delivered for Danielle.

But for today it’s another look at the darker side of Athanasios’s work, as he rounds of his four part series on cver design with, rather appropriately, part four.

Here’s Athanasios.

Covering for Mark Williams – IV

In the three last posts I went on about how some of the indie book covers I’ve created came about. My primary focus, however, is promoting and plugging my Occult/Horror Thriller Series, Predatory Ethics. Thus far Predatory Ethics has two installments, Book I: Mad Gods, Book II: Commitment.

After finishing Commitment, the sequel to Mad Gods I needed an editor. A notion came to me: why can’t I offer someone at IWU or IWI a cover for their editing services. I posted this and was contacted by a few people and settled on JA Beard. I had already exchanged posts and messages on facebook with JA since we became facebook friends in early September. I sent off my .doc and he told me what he wanted his Mind Crafter cover to be. I did my usual Google research, found reference images and put them into the mockUP I sent him.

We then tried a few font choices and settled on the last version shown here.

The following is an encapsulation of the email exchanges:
JA:
My book is a slightly Asian-tinged fantasy. I say ‘Asian-tinged’ because though it’s a second world fantasy, the setting is influenced in many ways by Tang-era China.
Pitch blurb:

Title: Mind Crafter
Author on cover: J.A. Beard

I was planning on something slightly more abstract. I wanted a lotus because it fits in with the general cultural background of my story, thematic resonance, and all that, stylized portion is a bit more eye catching, kind of somewhat fits in with certain nightmare ideas as well, even if it isn’t a literal thing from a scene) It dominates the image with those elements arranged in front or around it or something.

I’ve attached some of the elements I want you to use.
ME:
I went ahead did the mockUP and sent it to him.

JA:
We’re basically 95% there. Great.

The background, in particular, is very excellent. I’m actually kind of wondering if despite what I said, going a bit more East Asian in the font would actually be better. I was also thinking another dagger. I know the angle is different, so maybe you’ll have to adjust the angle or whatever. Final is the last version in

Following another week and another post Justin Kemppainen contacted me for his book Haven. He wanted a cover to the sequel and to revamp the current Haven cover. His reasoning was to have continuity between Exodus and Haven his original release. The title change was Fall of Haven with the first installment being the original Haven re-titled, Fall of Haven I: Uprising and the sequel Fall of Haven II: Exodus. He gave me his description and examples and I found them with Google. The final of are all here.

JUSTIN:
The first requires text alteration but keep the same image and idea, receiving a bit of polish so that things like the text are actually visible.

The second is a new cover based upon Haven. The concept image for the second cover (Exodus) is attached as well with notable differences:

– The character has his face concealed by scarves and shadows.
– No wings or feathers
– Wide-brimmed hat should not be pointy.
– Eyes should glow probably blue or silver.

ME:
I think I get the gist of what you want from your emails. The first should just be a punching up of your earlier work with the same background image but with a more vibrant and eye catching text that will be able to carry across to your intended sequel, as to give the series some cohesive look.

JUSTIN:
I like the fonts and colors for each element of text, but it could get a bit bigger for sake of readability. I like the style and arrangement of the book and series title, I just think it could get a bit more size.

– The added color and contrast looks really nice. I’m guessing it’ll see tweaking.

Other than that, I think it’s looking quite good so far. Looking forward to seeing it refined.

If I were to list the reasons I have any affinity or facility in making covers, writing or anything creative, I would list the retention of unrelated and pointless knowledge coupled with an open mind. I cannot explain or describe why, how, or what I remember but at times I bring it unwittingly back and can use it to spark something for a visual, a plot or an idea in one of my stories or covers. This is very useful in my day job and my side projects.

Many call it being artistic or letting creativity blossom but I don’t put that much though into it. If I did it would lessen and somehow impede it. So I tell those people to stop with all that artsy-fartsy crap and just plain enjoy something that connects with you.

I can guess and call it intuition or instinct but that’s only a guess. I just know when I have found a great idea or notion. I know it for my own Predatory Ethics, their covers and any other cover I’m commissioned to do.

As a parting bit of fun I’ve included the three latest covers I’ve finished for upcoming and existing indie books.

I’m always willing to help with indie authors with their covers. More examples of my work are @: Covers For Hire or email me @: mad-gods@videtron.ca
Athanasios’s webpage is
http://www.mad-gods.com

Athanasios’s Covers For Hire page is
http://www.mad-gods.com/coverHIRE.html

Mad Gods buy pages are
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004QOA768 & https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48579

Commitment buy pages are
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006098CSC & https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/99372

Thank you, Athanasios.

With our new site almost ready to go live we’ll be giving our various designers, formaters, editors, technicians, etc, their own permanet pages where you’l have a one-stop shop for indie resources. That’s coming very soon.

Launching the new year here on MWi we’ll have the one and only Christine deMaio-Rice here next Tuesday, looking at some of the covers she’s been doing, and following Christine will be our S&S and Rose Red cover designer Jeroen, and also Anne R. Allen’s cover designer Laura Morrigan.

But the aim is to give writers as much choice as possible, not limit your choices, so to all you other MWiDP authors out there please let your other cover designers know there will be a spot here to share their wares. And of course for any other resource providers, like editors, proof readers, etc.

That, after all, is the point behind MWiDP – to bring authors together to share resources, share ideas and maybe even share the writing burden.

Christine, for example, has recently done some fantastic new covers for Sarah Woodbury’s historic fantasies.  We have Sarah appearing here on MWi in the very near future, and we’ll be showing off those new covers alongside.

MWiDP author Karin Cox is also editor to Cheryl Shireman, among others (not least David Gaughran). We hope to have Karin here to tell us more aout her editing services shortly, and take a look at some of her poetery while we’re at it.

As for the ultimate sharing that is co-writing… Regulars will know Saffi and I not only write together, but we’ve already teamed up with the two fantastic teen writers Miriam and Charley for our new YA series St. Mallory’s. On top of that we’ve also teamed up with our tech expert Elizabath Ann West to write our new chicklit mystery series China Town, and have a co-write planned with Beyond Nostalgia author Tom Winton.

And of course we also have the anthology series, with Saffina Desforges Presents Volume 2 due out to kick-start 2012.

Just to add here that Saffina Desforges Presents Vol 1: The Kindle Coffee-Break Collection is currently free on Amazon as part of a Christmas promo, and is ranking #1 in the free anthologies category.

And speaking of freebies, Anne R. Allen’s The Gatsby Game is also free for Christmas on Amazon.

And so is Cheryl Shireman’s wonderful You Don’t Need A Prince.

I leave you with Cheryl’s cover, which isn’t an Athanasios cover, but is one of my all time favorite indie covers. Even if it does include a shoe!

 

 

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  1. Thanks, Tom/Athanasios!

    Heck! 2012 sure is shaping up to be an incredible year! Make sure you join us for it… 😉

  2. Re: Red Carpet Dreams ~

    Those are some killer shoes. I use shoes on my covers… but I’m a chicken when it comes to heel heights. I am in awe of how well-heeled you are. 🙂

    • I’m not sure which thought is worse – wearing something like that or being on the receiving end of someone wearing something like that!

      Btw Barbara how about getting your cover artist to come over to MWi and reveal all about the wonderful covers for the Fractured Fairytales series?

        • barbara silkstone
        • December 27th, 2011

        Thanks Mark. I’ve been in the driver’s seat on those covers. Stock art and what goes where.

        I had one reader in his late 70’s … fell in love with Wendy’s legs. He was really disappointed when I told him they were illustrated. From now on…
        they are my legs. (I wish)

  3. My hat collection is going crazy fro 2012… writer…publisher…tech guru…marketer…. and somewhere in there, Mum! 🙂

    Love the cover art, can’t wait to see more and more of Athanasios’ work as he stretches himself to more and more genres. 🙂

  4. Ha! Imagine my delight when I was reading this great article and all of a sudden up pops the cover to my “You Don’t Need a Prince” !!! Thank you so much for your enthusiasm for this book, Mark. This book was a work of love for me, as you know, so its wonderful to find so many new people enjoying it.
    And, as they say on television – for a limited time only – the ebook version of this book is free through Amazon. A particularly nice thing if you have a new Kindle Fire and can see all of those great photos in color!
    Readers – please enjoy, and share this book with another woman in your life (or a sensitive and brilliant man like Mark Williams who first read Prince in a coffee shop – but that’s another story). 😉
    Thank you so much, Mark. Great article by Athanasios and a wonderful little surprise for me.

    • As I’ve said many times, Cheryl, You Don’t Need A Prince is something very special, and should be required reading for everyone!

      • Totally snagging that book (though I have no Kindle Fire), and will probably get a printed copy for my Mom. I suspect she’d probably enjoy it.

        :} Cathryn

    • barbara silkstone
    • December 27th, 2011

    Cheryl, I was jazzed to pick up a copy of Prince. Can’t wait to read and pass on the wisdom. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Barbara. For those of you who don’t know – this book was based on an email that I sent to my daughter who was going through a difficult time in a relationship. That email began passing from her to her friends and then on to other women. Now, I hear from women (of every age) who tell me how much they love this little book. It means so much to me, and my daughter, to hear that. Once in a while, as a parent, you get it right. 😉

    • Barbara, make sure you’ve got a box of tissues handy!

      And be sure to check out the first post I ran for this book, back in June. Both Cheryl and her daughter joined me on MWi for a very special post which most weeks, six months on, gets more traffic than almost any other!

      http://markwilliamsinternational.com/2011/06/12/the-power-of-love-cheryl-scarlett-shireman-on-the-prairie/

  5. Well that was the last post for MWi. I had a great time showing everyone what I’ve gone through to put together the covers I’ve done.
    Thanks Mark & Saffi for letting me reach the people who follow your blog and I’ll be doing more stuff for Mark including some ideas I’ve got for the forthcoming St Mallory’s books.

    And whatever else Mark or Saffi, or anybody at MWi can throw my way.
    Happy New Year everybody!

  6. Athanasios highlighted this week the most important part of a cover designers work, which is communication with the author.

    He knows it’s not about him as the designer, but about opening his mind to what the author needs and wants (often these are two different things).

    I’ve actually come across artists who make it about them (no one on this board). Authors come to me to complete or fix a designer’s work. They won’t listen. They think they’re making art, not a collaborative piece of commerce. They bill the author for every adjustment. They do not give font options. It’s very very frustrating to see.

    Authors, if your cover designer is not doing what Athansios describes above, drop them.

  7. Wow. Thanks for the mention. I’d love to pop by and guest blog about editing sometime (and/or about poetry). 🙂

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