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Creating Book Covers When You Suck at Art

It’s no secret that we ALL judge books by their covers.

It’s also no secret that I am the worst illustrator on the face of this planet.

So people like me HAVE to find artists who will:

A) Put up with us

B) Understand what we’re trying to explain through use of extremely detailed descriptions and caveman style pictograms (and sometimes charades, hieroglyphics, and interpretive dance, when necessary).

I met Ginger Anne London at a writers conference in New York about five years ago and have been stalking her illustrations ever since. Her artwork is my absolute favorite style, and I was beyond excited the very first time she did a piece for me. She was my number one choice for cover art when Secrets of The Tally finally became a reality.

I laugh every time I look back at the sketches I sent her, attempting to describe my “vision” for the cover. (I use that word lightly. “Hallucination” may better describe the pictures I was sending.)

But then my crazy ideas actually began looking real.


We even ended up with a couple versions to choose between when it came to things like the lighting. Bright light? Moon light? There were so many things I hadn't considered!

You know that saying – a picture’s worth a thousand words?

I just took a quick word count for our conversations about the cover of Catching Epics, and it’s clocking in at 6,500 words with twenty-one attached pictures.

“I want his hair to look a cross between this and this, with lighting like this.”

“I’d like him to have this sort of grin.”

“Here’s how I want him positioned.”

“This is how I picture his face, but with eyes like this one.”

“These three models have roguish clothes I like. Can you create something unique but similar, and totally cool looking?”

Seriously. Find somebody who’s got enough patience to put up with you, and thank them often!


THIS is the work in progress for Catching Epics, and it's exactly, perfectly, everything I wanted. (If you’re already following the series, this is the new Escali Epic. Get excited.)

Still got a little bit to go, but I already love this as much as I loved the first cover.

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