How do you make a book cover? Get a pretty picture, stick the title over the top. Job done, right?
That’s what I thought anyway, but (once again, in the exciting world of being a self published author) I was wrong. That one image has to do so much. It has to attract a reader’s attention when lined up among a hundred other book titles. It has to say in a glance what the genre of the book is (but without looking exactly like every other book in that genre). It has to somehow convey the tone and emotion that the book will hopefully deliver. Then the practical parts, it has to have room for the title, and the author name. It has to look good large and small. It has to look professional…

This post gives a snapshot of the many, many different versions considered in designing the book cover for The Things you find in Rockpools. The book is a psychological thriller about a boy who tries to locate a teenager who goes missing from a fictional beach town. The book is set out-of-season, when it’s cold and empty, and the boy has a fear of drowning – all themes that could be useful for the cover.

One of the early issues with the book was that title. In some ways it’s quite weak. It could easily be misinterpreted as a guide book to help children in identifying seaweed or crabs. So the cover had to shatter that misconception right away (and I had a hope that if it could do that, it would turn a weak title into a very strong one).

The images below are by no means every iteration of every version. These are just the ones that somehow got saved in the flurry of emails that went back and forth. There were plenty more, and I think everyone involved was close to screaming at one point or another.

The final cover design was done by Rob Earp of Cool Water Creative. I think it fulfilled the brief of looking distinctive, capturing the essence of the book and literally screaming for your attention! What do you think? And yes, please do use the comments below to tell me you prefer the other versions!

(You can click the images below to view them full size, and use the left/right arrows to scroll between them)

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