Book covers! Some authors love creating them whether that means using graphics or coming up with ideas. I float between loving it and running down the street screaming “no” at the top of my lungs. Why? Sometimes you get awesome ideas and other times you get zip!

Deciding the first step is a challenge, so here are three tips to get you started, and help you get out, hopefully, unscathed.

1. What’s your book about?

Your book’s premise or description is one way to determine what goes on the cover. They’re wonderful tools for brainstorming image and character ideas for the book. The heroine in Deadly Race, is a female racecar driver, so I wanted a woman and this rocking car I saw on the cover.

2. Do you want characters or images?

Some authors want a person or people on their covers. I write romances, but didn’t want half-naked men and women on my covers. I enjoy them like everyone else, but they just aren’t me.

One of the challenges with the cover for Deadly Bloodlines was finding a character who resembled the heroine. She’s part Indian, part Caymanian, and as hard as I searched I couldn’t find the right photo. My critique partner suggested I checkout the 2012 Miss Cayman. BINGO! Although she was younger than the character, her ethnicity was close to what I wanted. I sent her photos to the cover artist and she found the perfect model.

3. Work with the designer

I recommend having ideas including pictures of characters, or image ideas if you plan to use a cover artist, but ask for they’re input especially if they’re expect designers. They understand what works and what doesn’t, and will recommend or highlight something you hadn’t considered. Their goal is the same as yours. Create the best cover possible.

For my Deadly Race cover, I’m doing something a little different. I wanted a photographer and model who live in Grand Cayman rather than use purchased stock photos.

I’m hosting a casting call for photographers and models looking to get recognition in a different way. You can follow the story on my Facebook page.

Do you create your own book covers or pay someone to do it for you?