Delighted to welcome back regular contributor Roberta Eaton Cheadle with some important elements to consider when designing your book cover. It is also a chance to find out more about her forthcoming book A Ghost and his Gold.
The importance of a book cover by Roberta Eaton Cheadle
The cover of a book needs to convey certain information, namely, the title of the book, name of the author, name and logo of the publisher and the blurb. It also needs to let a potential reader know precisely what the book is about. That aspect of designing a book cover is very important as you don’t want to mislead a potential reader by using an inappropriate cover.
Certain colours and designs traditionally indicate a certain genre, for example, romances often use pink and purple in the cover designs and self-help books use blue which is intended to convey a feeling of calmness.
My forthcoming novel, A Ghost and His Gold, is a supernatural historical novel. A couple, Tom and Michelle Cleveland, move into a recently built townhouse on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, near Pretoria, in Gauteng (previously the Transvaal). A one-hundred-year-old jacaranda tree grows in their garden and Michelle discovers that it was planted by the first owner of the farm, a Burgher who died in action during the Second Anglo Boer War. It quickly becomes apparent that their new townhouse is haunted by three phantoms, one of which is a poltergeist intent on murdering Tom.
Michelle must unwind the history of the three ghosts, Piet van Zyl, a Burgher, Robert, a British soldier, and Estelle, Piet’s daughter, all of whose lives were deeply impacted by the war and all of whom need to resolve their personal conflicts and resentments in order to find redemption and move on to the next phase of their existence.
When I spoke to the cover designer, Tim Barbar from Dissect Designs, I had a couple to definite ideas about the concepts I wanted the cover to convey. Firstly, I like to use silhouette designs for my covers. I also used silhouettes for the covers of my previous books, While the Bombs Fell and Through the Nethergate. I think silhouettes convey a strong message without needing to be overly detailed. They are also clean and neat.
I wanted to feature a Burgher on his horse riding away from a scene of destruction in the form of a burning wagon. The design of the figure on the horse, and particularly the shape of his hat, was important in order to differentiate a South African Burgher from an American cowboy.
The wagon is symbolic of the frontiers and pioneering spirit of the Afrikaner people and the burning and flames are representative of the devastation of war generally and, in respect of this war, the burned earth policy implemented by the British soldiers in the Transvaal and the concentration camps where the Burgher’s wives and families were incarcerated. The purpose of the silhouette pictures is, therefore, to clearly indicate that this is a book about war and/or destruction in a frontier situation.
A Ghost and His Gold is a book about war and contains some violent and disturbing scenes of death and destruction. There is also a violent rape scene, which while not graphic, could distress sensitive readers. Unfortunately, rape plays a significant role during times of war. It is a tool used by men to intimidate and break the spirits of the civilian population.
The veld grass, trees and birds introduce the idea of Africa and the yellowy gold background is intended to give the reader a sense of dryness, wildness and destruction. The tones of the cover also resonate with the word gold in the title and let the potential reader know that gold plays a role in this novel.
Finally, the golden sunset is also symbolic as it indicates an ending. The Second Anglo Boer War was the end of the independence of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State in South Africa. Both republics were annexed by the English during 1900.
What do you think about book covers? Do they influence your decision to purchase a book?
Let me know in the comments.
©Roberta Eaton Cheadle 2020
About Roberta Eaton Cheadle
I am an author who has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my young adult and adult writing, these will be published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first young adult supernatural novel, Through the Nethergate, has recently been published.
I also have two short paranormal stories in Whispers of the Past, a paranormal anthology edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.
Contact Roberta Eaton Cheadle
My thanks to Roberta for sharing the process that led to this wonderful cover for her upcoming book.