The Sky Pirates cover

A major part in publishing a novel is the cover. Seeing the cover for the first time is an amazing feeling. It transforms a simple manuscript, which feels very personal, into an actual novel, something to be shared with the world.

Getting the Sky Pirates cover made was a lovely process. It nicely shows the evolution from idea to finished piece of art. Now, each time I’ve gotten a cover made, the process was slightly different, but this should give a nice insight into what goes into getting a cover done.

It all starts with an idea about what should be on the cover. Which is hard. A cover should sum up a novel in a single image as well as match genre expectations of readers. It took me a few tries to get my general idea down on paper in way which gave my designer something to work with. In the end, I came up with the following:

Sky Pirates is a novel set in a fantasy world which slightly resembles the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy in the 16th century, with sailing ships and tropical islands, but also with magic and flying pirate ships thrown in.

One direction I’m thinking in is to have a character standing on a tropical island, seeing a flying ship in the distance. The main character sails a sloop, a small ship with a single mast

This gave me a starting point for a discussion with the designer on specific details like what the character should look like and if there were any specifics about the ship that needed to be included. With this information she set to work and delivered a bunch of sketches to flesh out the idea.

From these we chose the elements we liked the most and started fleshing them out. We decided on a feel for the cover and the colors to be used and finalized the composition. Which gave the next draft, which was already pretty close to the final product.

With the design set the next steps were to worry about turning it into a cover. It’s a lovely drawing at this point, but to use it on a book the title and author name need to fit on there somewhere. And for this image, there was no room. Any writing would end up overlapping with the important parts of the cover, namely the ship and the character. With all that in place the designer set to work on turning the image into a wrap-around cover for the paperback edition. Which finally gave these two beautiful covers

I personally am very happy with the end result. Let me know what you think in the comments below. And if you would like a poster version of the paperback cover, then consider joining my Newsletter and you get one for free. If you want to check out the novel itself, it’s available worldwide.