It’s Been Over a Year? (also known as Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery)

If the title of this page is black, and/or you see the fighter-pilot header, click on the title to view the featured-image header.

I received a comment recently noting that nothing had been added to this website in over a year and asking where I was. I hate to admit it, but I had no idea it had been that long. Reasons abound, all of which can be summarized with the simple fact that there’s never enough time in the day to focus my intention on everything I’ve committed to doing. This post, therefore, will serve to illustrate only one of the reasons why these pages have been sitting idle for so long.

As always, I can’t resist the compelling urge to begin with backstory, which in this particular case rewinds to the spring of 2011 and my decision to abandon all attempts to get an agent and legacy-publish my debut novel Pilot Error. Being frugal by nature, and with more time on my hands than spare cash, I decided not to pay someone to perform all the tasks necessary to indie-publish my books.

For the next six months, I immersed myself in the maze of details about book production, and through a lot more error than trial I created the covers and formatted the interiors for eBook and print editions of the novel. Following that, I did the same for two short non-fiction books, both intended to be the initial entries in a series.

But in a moment that can be described by the proverbial “Something happened on the way to . . .,” I discovered an intense interest in the concept described by Dean Wesley Smith in offering advice to indie authors, that you have to Think Like a Publisher. And while I intended to do it all, learning about marketing and promotion remains an elusive goal as I’ve become more involved in book production. Along with the second novel in the Pilot Error series, I’ve designed the covers and formatted the interiors for five novels and currently have four others in various stages of production.

Cover design sits at the top of the production task list primarily because it’s the single most important factor in a three-step sequence leading to a reader buying a book. As the saying goes, you can’t tell a book by its cover, but you will have a hard time attracting potential buyers if you don’t have a good one.

As author/blogger Barry Eisler describes in his two-part posting on book packaging, title and cover design have to work together to grab a shopper’s attention. He uses an example from his own stable of books by pointing out how poorly his US publisher (at the time) accomplished that with his debut novel compared to the Japanese edition. The comparison is stunning.

In a brick-and-mortar or online bookstore, covers are like billboards. They have to create a “call to action” moment in the viewer, which in this case means, Read the back cover copy/description. If those relatively few words do their job, reading the first page or two of the novel has the opportunity to seal the deal with a sale.

I make no claim to being a professionally trained graphic designer, and I’m more than positive that anyone who is can find fault with the covers I’ve done. But with all due respect, to do its only job, a cover doesn’t have to impress someone with detailed knowledge of the principles of graphic design.

Would I be proud to receive kudos from a professional? Of course. But in the final analysis, it matters not so long as my covers don’t stand in the way of a potential book buyer reaching out with the thought, “What’s this book about?”

But you can judge for yourself as to the effectiveness of my amateur efforts by taking a look at the following examples:

My First Cover

My Second Cover

My Third Cover

My Fourth Cover

The first version of the girl from Long Guyland by Lara Reznik

The second version of the girl from Long Guyland

The M&M Boys by Lara Reznik

Hijacked Hitman by Ron Robertson

Note: The original cover for the eBook edition of Don’t Tell Me was designed by a friend of the author’s daughter. I had to make some changes to it and incorporate the new version into a wraparound cover for the paperback edition. Both front and back covers are shown below.

Don’t Tell Me by Ray Fuentez

Lip Hooked by Chris Gardner (RIP)

Note: The original cover for the eBook edition of Raptor was designed by Carol Terry. The author provided me with a JPG version, which I used to rebuild the front cover in Photoshop and design the wraparound cover for the paperback edition. Both front and back covers are shown below.

Raptor by B.A. Bostick

Compromise with Sin by Leanna Englert

Special Note: I’d love to claim cover-design credit for Leanna’s novel, but the kudos go to Kristin Bryant of 99designs. My contribution involved resizing the original paperback cover to accommodate the spine width required by the final page count, adding the jacket blurb on the back cover (with a really nice drop cap embellishment), including an excerpt from a Readers’ Choice Five-Star review, and inserting an author photo. Both front and back covers are shown below.

Standby for publication of the following novels with my cover and interior designs:

  • Bagels and Salsa by Lara Reznik
  • Geronimo’s Bones by Darrell Bryant
  • A Promise of Water by Sharon Scarborough

None of the above excuses my prolonged absence from this website. It only provides one of the reasons, and thanks to a comment by a visitor named Mamie, I hope to redirect my attention to an effort too long ignored.

 

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4 Responses to It’s Been Over a Year? (also known as Tosh’s Book Cover Gallery)

  1. John Asher says:

    Congratulations. The covers look great. Very professional.

  2. Mamie says:

    I should have known you were really busy with other projects but when you find a writer like yourself who combines the love of flying with the art of writing, I just had to have more. Thanks for the shourout. Mamie

  3. Mamie says:

    *shout (posting via Kindle )
    Your cover/interior designs are beautifully done. Your excellence in all you undertake is amazing.
    Mamie from Vermont

    • Tosh McIntosh says:

      It probably comes as no surprise that I just saw these two comments, Mamie. Hectic doesn’t begin to describe the past month with a combination of real life issues, flying for the pure joy if it, trying to hurdle a persistent case of writer’s block with the third novel in the PILOT ERROR series, and assisting other writers with production of their eBooks and paperbacks.

      Just in the past week, I’ve received two new manuscripts and taken them through my process of scrubbing out all the editing artifacts and unnecessary styles, transferring the text to a Word template, then into Vellum Press, and from there into PDF for the paperback, MOBI for the Kindle, and EPUB for all the other eReaders.

      The eBook and paperback covers were already done, so one of the novels is ready for proof-copy orders from Amazon’s CreateSpace, the eBook has been uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing, and the other move will probably reach that point within less than a week.

      I have a third novel project waiting for the author to send me the manuscript. That cover is also done, and it may well end up being my favorite so far . . . at least until my next favorite is done. =;^)

      And at this very moment this morning, I’m creating a gallery of . . . wait for it . . . Tosh’s Bookmarks! I may have another product to offer clients.

      Thanks for your kind words, and if you get a chance, please send some Vermont temperatures down to Austin, Texas. We bad need some relief from triple digits.

      Best regards,

      Tosh

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