Hello Melony! What was your path to becoming a book cover designer?
I started out as an author. I was unemployed and taking IT classes. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wasn’t happy. One day, I woke up from a weird dream and after two days of constantly thinking about this dream, I decided I should maybe try writing it down, and it became a bit of an obsession for a few months. I got a trilogy from that dream, then wrote some short stories. But they weren’t huge successes, and I couldn’t afford to keep paying for covers, so I figured I better learn how to make covers for myself. My critique partner at the time also needed a cover, so I made him a couple that he showed friends, which led me to making more, and learning more, and having fun, and I just didn’t want to stop. So, here I am!
Every designers has their own creative process. Could you share a little about yours? What are the major steps of your workflow?
My process begins with a quick read through the details an author provides me about their story. This get my brain gears turning so I can begin either searching for stock or building something in Daz3D. I will go back and read more thoroughly through those details, and each time I will get more from them. This helps things build up in my mind.
I also spend some time researching the genre and other covers in the style the author is wanting. I look at tropes and common elements, while my brain processes and connects what the author might want with what is working in that genre.
Then, I start bashing things together, trying different models with different backgrounds and objects, playing with text and layouts, until I have something I like. Once I have that, I start blending things together until it looks good enough to send to the author for approval. The the revision process begins until we have a finished cover.
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?
Dark Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance.
My favorite is pretty much anything paranormal. I like dark themes, long dresses, leather, bright magic, not necessarily all together lol. As a person, I am drawn to dark things, skulls, gothic design, bats, Halloween (of course!), black cats, spooky castles, horror films, oddities, stuff like that. It is who I am and creating art like this fulfills my little black heart!
What do you enjoy most about being a book cover designer?
I love that I work in the world of books! I have always loved books, and book covers have always fascinated me, especially those VC Andrews books from when I was younger, where the cover has a cutout and there is a second image behind the already beautifully dark cover. It makes me so happy that someone might pick up a book and meet a new or familiar author because the cover I designed caught their eye.
You’ve also published books as an author. Which came first?
I did start out as an author. I didn’t know book cover design was a thing until I had to find a designer for my own books! I think being an author really helps me relate to the other authors I work with. Especially those new to the industry. I was once a new author too!
What are you reading right now?
I am currently engrossed in the world of Samantha Moon, Vampire for Hire, by JR Rain.
Do you listen to music while designing?
I do sometimes and I have several lists to fit my mood, but I like to start with upbeat, dance in your seat music to get my day started.
If you weren’t designing book covers, what would you be doing?
This is actually my dream job! When I was little, I told everyone I wanted to be a commercial artist. I had no clue really what that was. If I wasn’t designing, I would probably be back in retail. Ugh.
What’s your proudest career achievement so far?
This is such a hard question because there are so many moments I am proud of since I first joined this industry. My first proud moment was publishing a novel, which was a lifetime goal, then it was selling my first book cover design, then it was seeing my first book cover on Amazon. I think my proudest achievement was becoming a book cover designer!
Check out more of Melony’s work: