You've finally done it! You've overcome writer's block, distractions and procrastinations and finished penning your first book. Well done. Choosing a cover should be easy in comparison, right?
I asked some of the lovely authors over at http://www.kboards.com/ to share their experiences of developing their first cover. Some decided to do it themselves, some worked with designers. All of them learned from the experience and have shared their thoughts here so you can learn from them too.
H Lynn Keith did NOT have a good experience with his first cover. He recorded the whole experience on his blog at the time and was able to give a real-time history, rather than a remembered history. His first cover was created in 2011. I don't get the impression he is over it yet. I'll let his blog pick up the first part of the story:
H Lynn Keith went on to tell me that he fired his cover artist in May as he had not had any further communication from him. To say that the draft cover he received 'needs work' was an understatement. The draft cover he received at the end of March included a child, but Keith assures me there is no child in the book. Nor does he have any explanation for the bullet holes on the cover – he asked for them to be removed along with the wayward child. He was expecting the image of a sailboat to feature on the cover as he had requested. The icing on the cake was that the designer misspelled his name. Keith did not hear any more from the designer after he emailed his displeasure.
The story had a happy ending though. Keith found a new cover artist – Peter Ratcliffe. Peter delivered a completed cover within 13 days. Peter has designed the cover for Keith's next book too, although Keith notes wryly that 'when I finish the damned book is anybody's guess'.
The final cover for Heart of Stone, with the sailboat featured this time, is below: