As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started writing a middle grade series of books for my daughters in between the more mature apocalyptic stories that I normally write. They are a fun break between the bigger, crazier, scarier books and I love writing stories that they can read. One of the fun things about it is when they catch something that is an aspect of our lives or something that they’ve done that made it into the story. They get this shocked look on their faces and then verify that the reference came from the time when x, y, or z happened. It’s super cute!

Not that any of my books are necessarily auto-biographical. They’re not. But it’s the nature of storytelling that parts of your own life seep into the story. Well, the second book in the series is in the final stages before release. I’m reading it to my girls now and they get mad every night when we have to stop because of bed time. I think that means it’s another winner!

Even if you don’t read my middle grade books, I thought it would be fun to show how I finally arrived at the final book cover. I love how it turned out! But it took quite a while and several attempts to get there. The problem arose because the talented cover artist who did The Slithering Goliath was so busy that she had to be booked six months in advance. I’m not that organized and so had to come up with another option for The Beepocalypse and future books in this series. Here’s the cover of that first book. It’s awesome!

So prepare for a quick look behind the curtain of how the book cover for The Beepocalypse came together.

THE FIRST ATTEMPT

Initially, I thought maybe I could do the cover. I spent 15 years doing visual effects for big movies. I was a big shot. I should be able to handle a little book cover no problem, right? HA! No. And here’s the proof. Here’s a cover I did for fun a couple of years ago when I first started thinking about writing this series.

What’s that smell? It’s smells like cow poo! No wait, it’s my cover! Haha! That right there is a perfect case study for why hiring out the book cover can be a fabulous idea! Compare it to The Slithering Goliath and notice the immense gulf in quality between them.

THE SECOND ATTEMPT

That first one was from two years ago. As soon as I dug it up, I realized I needed a professional because I wanted the second book to be of a similar look and quality to the first book. So I went to Fiverr and hired an illustrator. After several rounds of back and forth, we ended up with this one.

Now, this is a HUGE improvement over the one I did. Yes, it’s true and I’m not too proud to admit the obvious! But still, it wasn’t working. The composition is off. The colors are kind of a jumble. I could go on with the critique, but basically it wasn’t good enough.

THE THIRD ATTEMPT

So, I found another artist on Fiverr. Paid a higher price and hoped for a better result. The initial sketches held promise, but after many rounds of back and forth (and I mean MANY), we finally ended up with this.

The composition is better. The suit is cool and the light coming through the window is nice. But the quality of the people is terrible. They just look… weird. Know what I mean? Compared to the previous attempt, it was better in some ways and worse in others. But not good enough by a long shot.

THE FOURTH ATTEMPT

So, I went back to Fiverr and hired yet another artist! Again, upping the price and hoping for a better result. At this point, I was starting to feel like I was just throwing away money and I’d probably be better off waiting six months for the artist who did The Slithering Goliath. I knew she would deliver a masterpiece. But then the first sketch came in and I loved it! Here it is.

So obviously there shouldn’t be a giant snake on the cover for The Beepocalypse. I sent over The Slithering Goliath and several other images for reference and clearly there was a misunderstanding about that. But I instantly saw the composition is awesome. The people look cool. It was a great start. We went through several rounds of back and forth which I may end up detailing in another post for a fun look how a single cover goes from first sketch to final result. In any case, we ended up the cover you saw at the top. Here it is again. Compare the first sketch to the final result. Quite a few changes but the essence is there from the beginning.

I love how it turned out! The composition is exciting. The colors spot on. And the people look awesome! So, now you know. It was a long and winding road, full of disappointment and more than a little wasted cash, but I finally arrived at the desired destination. I hope you enjoyed this slideshow of sorrow and triumph. Haha!

And The Beepocalypse will be coming out in the next few weeks. It’s a thrilling adventure geared toward younger (and young at heart!) readers.

That’s it for now!