Over to you: Anya Allyn on developing the cover for her novel Doll House

You've finally done it! You've overcome writer's block, distractions and procrastinations and finished penning your first book. Well done. Chosing 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. Note: these cover designs are not my work (even the really good ones!).

Yesterday, I shared stories from several authors, including AJ GoodeAmy Hopkins, Jeff HughesSeth KupchickR E Vance, Monique Martin, T S Paul and Bruce Fottler.

Today we're going to hear from Anya Allyn, author of the spine-chilling Dark Carousel series:

This was my very first cover for my first ever book. I had zero photoshop skills back then and the cover's pretty dodgy. But readers loved the cover – and after a slow start, the book sold well.

I could see that indie covers were rapidly becoming indistinguishable from trad covers, and so I wanted something a lot more professional. Onto cover 2...

This was the second cover, made by a designer. Her first designs didn't match with the book. As a last resort, I chose the images and layout, but it still wasn't a good match for the book. Much better cover though than the last one and so much more professional! People liked this cover too – usually it made the 'best girl in a dress' lists (which wasn't the best thing for a horror book!) The girl is a ghost (the dress is disappearing in smoke), but the idea didn't quite come across.

The third cover happened after I sold the book to a publisher. They had a professional designer make this, and I adore it. It's a perfect match for the book. Carousels, dolls, a grandfather clock and poison cups of tea all feature in the story.

To find out more about Doll House and the other books in the Dark Carousel series, take a look at Anya's website.

To read more authors' experiences of creating their first book covers, take a look at yesterday's post here.