Undercover Secrets: Award Winning Author Chris Patchell Interview The Thatchery

Like many Indie Authors, I want to make my book cover sing (well, more like scream in my case, but you get the gist). So when DEADLY LIES was in need of a cover makeover, I went looking for an artist who could capture a whole new look for the story. I found a great one. Meet award winning cover designer, Monica Haynes who shared some of her thoughts on what makes a great cover design.

How did you become a book cover designer? Tell us a little about your background. How long have you been doing it?

After spending a decade as a college registrar, I became a stay-at-home-mom to my young children. I enjoyed every second of this period in my life, but eventually, I realized I needed something more. That’s when I found M. L. Gardner, author of The 1929 Series. I was a fan first, responding to her ad for a part time assistant after having read every book she had published. We clicked, and I began designing her Facebook banners, and then her book covers among other assistant duties. My BA in photojournalism was put to use and with her encouragement, I opened the doors of The Thatchery, my book cover design business, in 2013. 

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AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Cover Designer Monica Haynes

Monica Haynes has been an avid book enthusiast since reading Hooples on the Highway, her first non-picture book, in 2nd grade. She’s tinkered on computers since the 1980s when the Commodore 64 provided hours of programming joy. FYI – her parents still own the original monitor. She married a fellow book enthusiast and plans to organize a family book club once her children move past the “See Spot Jump” stage. Monica possesses a BA in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University.

You’ve been a book lover from a very early age. Do you credit anyone with fostering your love of reading?

Yes, books have always been a big part of my life thanks to my parents. They read to my brother, sister, and I every night and provided us with plenty of books and trips to the library. Those trips to the library were monumental—we cleared shelves. Why don’t libraries provide shopping carts? Someone needs to make this happen! 

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The Benefits of a Custom Cover

Time is an investment, and you've certainly put a lot of that into the book you've been writing. You've hired a great editor. You've put together a top notch marketing plan. But have you given much thought to your book cover?

Although pre-made covers are great (heck, we've got some available here and more coming soon), they don't ALWAYS capture the essence of your story. It's like trying to squeeze your foot into a shoe that's just a half-size too small–obviously not the perfect fit. You need a cover that nails your concept and in turn, generates those sales you've been seeking.

That's where a professional book cover designer steps in. At The Thatchery, we strive to bring your vision to life. We take your input and your synopsis and turn that into a visual masterpiece that reflects the real goodies waiting inside. 

Whether you have a firm cover idea or you're needing some guidance, we've got you covered.....literally. 

Some Big News!

Monday mornings aren't my favorite day of the week. It's hard to get back into the daily grind, especially when children all involved. So this particular Monday, I was taking a moment to myself, gulping down a barrel of coffee, quickly checking my email and preparing to put on my "Driving Miss Daisy" hat to take the kids to school. 

TheBookDesigner.com is a favorite site of mine. There's so much information for indie authors, cover designers, bloggers, etc. And whenever I see something from their site in my inbox, I'm sure to sit down and read it from beginning to end.

So like I said, this particular Monday, I found an email about the monthly cover design awards from TheBookDesigner.com. I knew that my design for M.L. Gardner's 1929 had been submitted, and I was anxious for the feedback this contest offered.

Scrolling through the list of entries, I found my baby, my cover for 1929. And next to her critique, I also spotted a gold star! What does that mean?

My Gold Star!

My Gold Star!

Although there is only winner in each category, other covers that were considered for the award or which stood out in some exemplary way, are indicated with a gold star.
— TheBookDesigner.com

YES!!! I'll take it! The following critique accompanied my gold star and I swear my feet did a little happy dance under my desk. 

It can be hard to combine more than two images and end up with a cohesive look, but this cover succeeds, and part of that is the careful color decisions and the mood that’s so well expressed. Looks like an epic, something you’d like to really settle down with. ★
— TheBookDesigner.com

To say M.L. Gardner's 1929 inspired me is a bit of an understatement. It drove me. I had the opportunity to create a cover for an EPIC tale of loss, despair, hope and desire, one that takes place in a very visual time period. I designed with a frenzy and had the time of my life.

If you're interested in reading her six book series, you'll find M.L. Gardner's Amazon author page here. You'll also find a collection of short stories, a novella, and a 1929 serial–all which fall under the 1929 Series umbrella. Pull up a very comfortable chair, and immerse yourself.

Emphasize the Love Story

At the end of the day, sales matter. You've poured your heart and soul into the book. You know it's good. The feedback's positive. But the sales aren't coming in. What do you do?

New cover for M.L. Gardner's Sayan Knights.

New cover for M.L. Gardner's Sayan Knights.

It may be time to try out a new cover. Whether we like it or not, the book cover is the readers' introduction to your work. It has to intrigue them and appeal to their senses. With that in mind, think about your target audience when commissioning a cover. Make sure it grabs the right reader and stands out among the sea of ebooks available for purchase. Color, images, and type matter – they all tell a story before the reader sees a single written word.

Original cover for M.L. Gardner's Sayan Knights.

Original cover for M.L. Gardner's Sayan Knights.

I adore the covers we worked on for M.L. Gardner's Sayan Knights Series. But the story is mixture of romance, adventure, and science fiction. And after of few months of slow sales, she decided to try something a bit more romantic. I added a dash of hardness, married the two together and the new cover was born. By emphasizing the love story, the new cover may appeal more to her target audience – female – and give it that extra boost it was needing. 

Have any questions? Contact me today at info@thethatchery.com. Happy Thanksgiving!