I promised you a first sneak peek teaser unzipping of my new cover art for my WIP…
Designed by Silviya Yordanova.
Ta-da….Here it is…Hold your breath….It’s juicy….
Ring a Ring o’ Roses
A Paranormal Historical – Book 1 in The Cursed Trilogy
by Kim Koning
Kintala | Balance is Sacrifice
Between what we know
and what we fear to believe…
One place | Two times
Two women | One secret
A woman who speaks to the dead
Truth hides in reflections
does not believe in Ghosts
Both women have the Gift
One accepts the Gift
but denies the Truth
One denies the Gift
but seeks the Truth
The Secret of the Past
brings revenge to the House
Balance requires Sacrifice
“A gust of wind swept over it and a rush of heavy black wings lifted from the chimneys.
The Ravens kept their silence, roosting in their nests, a court of jesters wearing the colours of mourning.
Their eyes missed no secrets and their wings shadowed them with darkness. Every night they took flight.
Their wings of coal like liquid night.
They hunted while the living slept.
Their prey did not hear them until the talons of fate caught up in their fur.
Death came swift and silently.
It was dressed in feathered robes of black.
Its talons gloved in the jeweled ruby tones of life.
As the dawn sky cracked open the night, death flew home to savour the sweet taste of life in its talons.
It landed on the cold gray stone.
It watched as the night leaked into soft light.
The song it sang farewelled the night of death with a haunting cry.
It watched over them.
Its dark gray stone walls were cemented with their secrets.
Shadows stood veiled in its windows.
It breathed slowly and ominously.
The walls would not give up the blood of their despair.
The windows shuttered the grey of their shame.
The doors kept the dead and living captive.
It was their keeper: this court of stone.
They called it The Raven’s Court.”
– Excerpt from my WIP (A Paranormal Historical Trilogy) Ring a Ring o’ Roses ~ Book 1 – The Cursed Trilogy ~
There is a saying: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Of course in the world of publishing we know how incorrect that statement is. Publishers judge books by their covers. Publicists and reviewers judge books by their covers. Buyers and retailers judge books by their covers. Most importantly, readers judge books by their covers. So the oft unnamed cover artist is a vital and integral part of the publishing and marketing process. This is one of the reasons why I love the world of Indie or Independent Publishing. In the land of gatekeepers, the BIG6, very rarely do the cover artist/s and author ever meet or have any contact with each other. However in the INDIE world to find a cover artist you can connect with and foster a relationship with is like finding a nugget of gold in a mound of rock and sand.
I have found that nugget of gold. For me the cover of a book is almost as important as writing the book is. I am a very visual person so for me to have a visual symbol of my imaginings is very powerful. But though there are many cover artists out there, it is a harder task to find a cover artist who can see what your words should like in a picture format. So I have been searching for over a year, trawling through various art communities but more often than not trawling through the artists on Deviant Art. Until one day I came across an image from one of the deviant artists that just took my breath away. This was the image that hooked me: Enslaved by her song. I knew I had found my cover artist. I emailed her to find out if she was available for commissioned work and whether she would be interested in working with me on my manuscript. Within 3 emails I had her eager agreement and I had met a twin-soul in her love for dark emotional subjects and a love of the paranormal. So as much as I would love to keep this artiste’s talent all to myself, I realised that I needed to introduce her to those I know. I am very excited to feature this emerging cover artist on this blog. I am thrilled she agreed to sit down and have a chat with me about what got her into art, why cover love, and the inspiration behind some of her most popular images.
So as much as I would love to keep this artiste’s talent all to myself, I realised that I needed to introduce her to those I know. So here she is.
Meet my Cover Artist and Artiste Extraordinaire…Silviya Yordanova.
1) Introduce us to Silviya Yordanova. Who is she?
My name is Silviya Yordanova and I am a 21-year-old self-taught digital artist from a very small country called Bulgaria. I’ve always wanted to find a way to create beauty and letting the world know my story and this is where digital art came! I have been into it for a few years now, started in the early 2008. Since then I can honestly say that I believe I’ve found my own style – depicting the reality through a twist of imagination. My works are always a mixture of concept, emotion and a drop of darkness. Photo manipulation has since then become a very important part of me and since I began doing it I’ve been trying to evolve my skills as much as I can. At first it all started as a hobby but in time it became much more. I found that through it many doors of opportunities were opened for me when I was first contacted for a commission, then for another one and with time it became my own little business and I hope for all the best in the future. I am currently a student in the University of Economics in my home city – Varna but being an economist is not what I want to be, there is no beauty in it …My passion lies in making art, trying to make the world a better and beautiful place, into expressing myself through it. My dream is to keep doing what I love for a living. I wish that someday I could be able to share the knowledge, experience and passion I have to others and help them discover their hidden talents as digital art was for me!
2) What type of art inspires you?
I love all kinds of art but mostly art pieces with an interesting concept, beautifully made with a lot of skill that has amazing impact on the viewer!
3)You have been featured in many interviews lately, which one were you most thrilled for?
I’ve been most excited about the features in big magazines like Photoshop Creative and Advanced Photoshop. Also at the end of February and March I am expecting 2 more features in such magazines but won’t reveal anything yet! If you’d like to be updated with news about me and my work feel free to like my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MyBeautifulDarkness
4)What awards, if any, have you won for your work?
Well I haven’t won many awards but the one I am most proud of is getting a “Daily Deviation” award at deviantART.com that I received for my interpretation of the story about Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs – “Snow White Strikes Back”. For me this is a huge deal and to be chosen is a great honor! Another award that I was very thrilled about is getting a “Featured Portfolio” award at Shadowness.com and also receiving 2nd place at the “Digital Artist of The Year” competition at ModelMayhem.com
5) Tell us a little about your background in art. How did you get into it?
I’ve always loved art since I can remember. I admire people who have the talent to create beauty and I’ve always wanted to be like them. I really like the traditional art of pen and paper but digital art is where my passion lies. I can’t define exactly where my love of art itself came from, I guess it was something I’ve always carried within me.
6) You have said before that you want to make a living designing book covers. What about designing book covers appeals to you?
I was actually talking to my friends the other day about that. The thing that most appeals to me is being able to recreate the author’s vision for the cover that would best fit their story! I can’t imagine something more rewarding than making their wish come true. I see how important this is because despite the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” people actually do it. No matter how good the story is, for those who choose a book just by how good the cover looks, it is the only way to grab the viewer’s attention sometimes. What appeals to me also is someday to be able to look at my bookshelf and to see books whose covers I created – this would mean I actually left a trace in the world, even a small and maybe insignificant one, but it’s there and I did it! 🙂
7)Do you have a favourite genre you like to design for and why?
My favorite genres are those that have something to do with darkness, the paranormal, emotions and such, I love stories about the creatures of the night – vampires, werewolves, witches etc. I also really like love stories, mysteries.. I think you get the picture Which is another reason Silviya’s images stood out to me above other cover artists.
8) How many book covers have you designed?
Well I have only designed covers for e-books and so far I’ve designed 5 for author Joely Sue Burkhart, she is fantastic, we correlate so well! You can check them on my Facebook page. Plus my book cover which we are in the process of designing. Ebook version complete and now working on the print version…. watch the space on this blog for the teaser reveal of my cover later on today.
9)What is your favourite art image you have designed and why?
Actually yes, there is one piece that is exceptionally important to me and it’s called “Reborn”. As you see, the title clearly reveals the concept of this piece. I wanted to portray the feeling of letting go of the past and embracing the bright future. You may be wondering why I chose to portray this exact feeling. Ever heard the saying “Let go of the past and embrace the bright future?” Well that about sums it all. This is what inspired me to create this image and why I chose this title. This work of mine is very important to me because of its meaning. What a beautiful inspiration for a haunting image. Another winning image from you Silviya.
10)You work mostly in photo-manipulation. Is there a reason why you prefer this medium to any other?
I guess it is because photo-manipulation offers you more control over the image, you can easily fix any mistakes, try different things and if you’re not happy just remove the element that bothers you and try again Besides I’m really into technology so these are two passions fused together! An artist after my own heart. I love art in all its forms but digital art is the way of the times.
11)How would you describe your art style?
My works are always a mixture of concept, emotion and a drop of darkness. This is what stood out to me in Silviya’s images when I first came across her profile on deviantART. This rare combination of darkness and emotion was something that I wanted to capture for my covers as this echoes the premise of all my mss. Her images will haunt you and the longer you stare at them the more they draw you into their depths. Talented is an understatement here. Artiste is a more appropriate description.
12) If an author wanted to commission you, how would they go about this?
If anyone is interested in having me design a cover for their book the first thing they need to do is contact me at my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, let me know whether you’ll need only a cover design or a whole book layout, your budget for the book cover and then we’ll be able to discuss a price and continue further Don’t fear a long wait either when contacting Silviya. I emailed her one day and that evening I had an answer in my inbox and from there the ball got rolling very quickly.
13) What sort of working relationship do you like to foster with the clients who commission your art?
I’d really like to keep in touch with them, to be aware of their accomplishments, to see whether they are happy with my work for them. I can definitely vouch for her keeping in touch. Not only is she my cover artist but she has become a hugely collaborative part of this ms. She has also become a good friend.
14) How long does it take you to complete a commissioned image?
Each time it is completely different, for example with sometimes the working process goes on very smoothly and easily, I manage to do exactly what they want without the need of many corrections and changes but there are times when probably because the image the client requests is very different from what I’m used to do or because the client doesn’t really know what they actually want and keeps changing their mind about it, the working process can be very difficult, time-consuming and even frustrating at times.
15) What is your process, in short, from start to finish when you have been commissioned?
The process is as follows: first you tell me a little bit about the image you want me to create, what you will be using it for, then we should discuss the price, discuss and find the right stock images so that I can get an overall image of what I should create and after this I can start working. Then I keep you updated regularly with screenshots of the working process. At the end when you are satisfied with the final image I put the finishing touches and after receiving full payment via PayPal I send you the high-resolution image and we’re done! Talking as one of Silviya’s clients – she does indeed keep you regularly updated. I saw every single shot and edit that was added to my ms’ cover. At no point did I have to chase her up. In fact I was bowled over with her speed in both creating the cover and communicating every detail of the process to me.
16) What are your tips on creating a strong book cover image?
My only tip is to know how to or to find someone who knows how to create an image that will catch the viewer’s attention, books are just any other products when it comes to selling – the packaging is very important! Very good advice Silviya – books are a product. As much as to us writers they are our babies, once written and sent out into the big bad world they become a marketable product. This is when the cover becomes so vital to a well written book.
17) Writers get very attached to their stories and nowadays with the rise of ebooks we all realise how strong a good cover is. How do you work with a writer when designing the cover?
Process is the same as I described above in the question about commissions, the difference is that we need to talk a little bit more about how the image will look like, what story it should be able to tell and the impact you’d like it to have. I can say that Silviya is exceptionally prompt and professional. It is very important for her to work closely with the author.
18) Are there any book cover designers you consider your mentors or coaches and why?
No, not really, I am all self-taught concerning photo-manipulations and everything related with that so I guess I am self-taught cover artist as well, I guess I have an eye for the beautiful things Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say.
Actually yes, I am thrilled to say that currently I am working on my first ever cover for a printed book for a publishing company in my countryand I am so excited because this could be my big chance at breaking through in this business! The cover I am working on is for book 8 of The Vampire Diaries! Wow! Can’t wait to see the finished cover.
“Black Widow” – Here I wanted to express my idea about dolls – for me they are both beautiful and scary at the same time. You stare at their beautiful faces and then realize that although they look perfect they are hollow and dead inside. I have always thought there is something frozen and chilling about doll’s faces. Silviya captured this sentiment beautifully in this image.
“Awaiting the Night” – For this particular image my inspiration came from my love of the dark mystical creatures that walk in the night and my love of wolves. I love the sense of fear and power in this image. Then girl should be afraid but she has a power in her that comes across in her stance and her eyes. Who does not love wolves?
“Equilibrium” – Have you ever felt the warm summer rain on your skin? This is actually the feeling I wanted to portray in this image. I am always drawn in by images with water. This image feels so real you think you can feel the water on your own hand and feel the raindrops on your skin.
“Snow White Strikes Back” – This is my take on twisting a fairy tale – what if Show White wasn’t awaken by the kiss of the prince… but by his bite! And now she will have her revenge… I’d love to have such a tale. Wow – what an original spin on such a well-known tale. Snow White has never quite looked like this. Very original.
“The Quiet Place” – Everyone has their own special place, their happy place – this is mine. This is another favourite of mine of all your images. It is absolutely ethereal and haunting. An image that stays in the mind for a long time.
“Reborn” – As you see, the title clearly reveals the concept of this piece. I wanted to portray the feeling of letting go of the past and embracing the bright future. Beautiful.
“Take My Pain Away” – When your soul and heart hurt and you’d give anything to make the pain go away…You can feel this girl’s sorrow and broken heart almost as if it was your own.
“Enslaved by Her Song” – A beautiful girl with a wicked gift of a beautiful song that enslaves the soul of every person who has ever heard it…This was the image that first hooked me. Look closely at the violin. Incredible image Silviya.
“Death, come near me” – Inspired by the beautiful sad song by Draconian – Death, come near me..You have made death look beautiful. Very haunting Silviya.
Thank you Silviya for taking the time to answer some of my questions. It has been a pleasure and my honour to have you featured on my blog. I am also very proud and honoured to say that such an incredible ARTISTE is my cover artist.
Talking of my cover art…Watch this blog for a posting later today where I will tease you with a small reveal of part of the amazing cover that Silviya has created for me.
In life everything we see makes an impression on us. Both the really good and the really bad stick in our memories. We also make impressions on others. But there is only one first time, there is only one first impression. It is true that if your first impression was not that good, you may have a chance to make a better second impression but the first impression is the one that will also stay in the memory bank.
You wouldn’t go on a first date looking “regular”. You wouldn’t go on an interview looking “average”. You take the time to look your best for “first impressions” in your daily life. You take the time to look your best for “professional first impressions” in your daily life. But often you want to go a step further and look better than all of your competition. You want to look the best in a crowd. You want to stand out from a crowd.
What is the first thing you see when you browse a book store, traditional or online? What makes you stop in front of one book rather than look at the one beside it? What attracts your attention enough for you to pick up the book and read the back blurb? What is your first impression of a book controlled by?
Cover me Irresistible – You had me at first sight
Time and time again I pick up books because of their arresting covers. I might never have heard of the book or the author but if the cover wows me, nine times out of ten I will buy the book. The cover is a book’s greatest first sales tool. It is the packaging of the writer’s project. It is the silver platter that your work is presented on. It can make or break your sales. It can win you new fans and lose you potential readers. Covers are what people buy when you are a new author or an unknown talent. Bookstores will decide on the shelf placing of your book by your cover. Readers will want to know more about your book and pick it up off the shelf if your cover arrests their attention.
Traditional publishing companies pay departments of art and sales people thousands of dollars to make a cover as irresistible as possible in order to make your book a bestseller. Books covers count towards sales. eye-catching covers can make an unknown book a bestseller and bad covers can make well written books difficult to sell.
In Indie publishing – both small press, self-publishing and e-books – covers can make or break a book. Poorly designed covers can make a book look boring, uninteresting, unprofessional and uninviting: all of these points are negatives in selling the product = the book.
So what makes you love a cover? What makes a cover stand out from hundreds or even thousands of similar covers in the same genre? What makes a cover stand out from a crowd of covers?
If there were a golden rule of thumb I am sure many writers would make millions and follow it to the letter. But choosing books is a subjective industry. It is based on personal opinion and personal preference. A cover that i would love might not appeal as much to Jill and a cover that Jill loves might not appeal as much to Joe. There is no “perfect cover” but there are a few key points that the best selling books use for their cover art and cover designs.
Colour – Bright colours or dark/bold colours
Colour Palette – Not too many colours on one cover and using colours that complement each other
Cover Art – Suitable to the genre and must give some sort of “visual blurb” of the story
Cover Art – Simple without confusing someone, so pick one main image instead of a complicated and crowded image with so much going on that it is difficult to figure out what you need to focus on
Cover Art & White/Black Space – Well spaced design and placement
Title – Easily read type font, bold and standing out on the page, should also match the cover art
Author’s Name – This should also be easily visible and not disappear into the cover art (Remember, you want the reader to know who wrote the book)
These are some of the top selling covers over the last few years. Let us see if they match all the above points.