Designer Interview: Emma Rider of Moonstruck Cover Design

Welcome to Emma from Moonstruck Cover Design!
Time to dig in… why did you become a cover designer?

Books are life! I’m an avid reader. Books got me through bullying growing up. They got me through the worst times. I knew I wanted to share the life-changing, magical experience because of that. So I became a writer in 2014. Turns out I’m a slow writer. I loved every minute of it, but I also loved exploring photoshop and digital art a little more. So I became a full time cover designer. The best part is I get to work with my heroes and be a part of their publishing process. It’s a small part in helping people experience the joys of reading.

Many authors are mystified about how cover designers work. What is your creative approach when taking on a new project?
Once I get their questionnaire, I like studying their genre. Looking at covers that are trending, what covers are selling. What’s hot at the current moment. I try to identify colors, subjects, trends.

What do authors need to know to have the best outcome when working with a professional cover designer?
There’s a balance. Rather than having a cover that is accurate to your narrative, the cover will have a better outcome if the designer designs for the market. Designers work well with creative freedom, looking at your questionnaire with your book info, and studying the market. Some of my best covers turn out amazing this way. At the end of the day, I really want the client to have a cover they’re happy with and a cover that sells their products. If you’re number one goal is to sell your book then we need to design your cover so it’ll sell.

Do you offer another service besides designing book covers?
I also design book trailers! The end product is always very rewarding. Here is one of my favorites:

So what makes a book cover great?
Not only having an eye catching cover, but having a cover that is on trend with the market.

Do you have a favorite project in particular? What about that experience made it unique? 
I have a ton of favorites. One of them is Deadly Monster Duet. I just love that movie cover, cinematic look, I’ve been exploring a lot.

What does your creative/workspace look like? What tech/computer do you use?
I have a gaming PC, 3 monitors and a huge wacom all sitting on a standing desk. It’s a pretty penny, but I love this set up.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Hmm, I eat then go to my office 20 steps from my bedroom. The majority of covers are done in my pajamas. Sometimes I have a shirt on backwards, and inside out, the tag sticking out proudly. LOL. I call this Hobo Chic. I eventually get dressed in shorts—bc I’m in Florida, it’s alil’ hot. When I need a break, I wrestle with my dogs, wave to my ghost fish because every fish I’ve gotten dies—but I have a nice set up in my office–then work some more. When my spouse comes home we walk our dogs, workout together, make dinner. All those things humans do. Sometimes when he’s studying, I’ll go back to work. Work doesn’t always feel like work though, because I love what I do.

Do you have any “fur babies” who assist in your design process? 
I have 2 big spoos! (standard poodles) I spend all day with them at work. They sleep in my office, occasionally do some paw patrol, attack a couch pillow, and sing the song of their people. Woof woof!

What do you enjoy most about being a book cover designer?
Goodness, I love it so much. I love the finished cover, being apart of the publishing process, working with my heroes. I just got done working with Terry Spear, and I read her books as a teen.

Another thing I enjoy is, sometimes with premades or even custom covers, I inspire writers to write based on the cover. The Salinity Cove Trilogy, a PNR RH, by Maya Nicole was born that way. And it was just great working with her and seeing the trilogy come to life.

Do you have a favorite genre or theme to design for and why is your favorite? Or if you’ve niched into a specific genre, why did you pick that genre?
Oh yes! I love reverse harem. Not one but 3+ hotties? Heck yes! I love reading and designing whether it’s customs or premades. I’m happy to contribute designs to this growing community so there are more and more rh’s out there!
I also love designing alien romance, dark/bully romance, cozy covers and thriller covers! I work on all genres that I can.

What do you do when you find yourself creatively blocked?
Usually this happens when I’m very stressed. I’ll take a step back, workout and read. If I’m stuck on a project, I’ll research and take my time. Seems to work every time.

Reading any great book right now?
Katie May! Demons Kissed–It’s an RH that is hilarious.

Do you listen to music while designing?
How do you read while working? Bam–Audiobooks to the rescue! I have 861 and have bought all of them. I have been offered credits, but I refuse to accept them. I don’t think authors get paid for credits anymore anyways. But audiobooks is where all my money goes–back to authors.

Tell us one thing about cover design that might surprise us?
Come closer my friend. *whispers* Sometimes it’s a lot of experimenting. I have some covers I’ll never sell, show or post, they are locked in a little box on my computer. Sometimes I’ll revisit and see if I can make something out of them. It’s a 50/50 shot. Those beasts will come out when they’re ready.

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