A July Winter


I’ve had several projects this past month and can’t show them off yet. However, I’ve still have pretties and some news.

First the big pretty is Leigh Lee’s newest historical romance, Rules of Decorum. A cover I thoroughly enjoyed putting together for my friend.


Do you remember Maiden of Fire by Ishabelle Torry that I showed last month? Well, that introduced me to yet another writer I now call friend and we’ve been up to things. Besides plotting and planning in general, we’ve been collaborating on projects.

We collaborated on her next book in the Maidens Series, Circle of Phases. She let me do the heavy lifting on this one.


The next cover we collaborated on was one she is revamping. She did a lot of the heavy work on this one and I added a few tweaks. She polished it off. hauntamazoncovergraintext61817

We are working on more covers together. The learning curve can be flustering, but Ishabelle is doing great. She’s going from Gimp to Photoshop and no, they are not the same. She’s learning on the job with her own covers and I can’t wait to see what she does.


Here’s the last batch of premade covers from the past month.

Model Vikkas Bhardwaj and his facebook page

Model Grigoris Drakakis and his facebook page 

Along with Grigoris, there is Makis E.


As always you can follow me in my cover group to see these and more as I post them. These have been added to the premade covers I posted last month and can be found in the menu at the top of the page or click here to see them all.

Cover Artist to Writer Advice

Is it worth it for a writer to do her own covers?

Yes and no.

If a writer is prolific and has a good grasp of the photo editing software then I’d say yes. I know several writers who make their own covers. They do just fine.

If a writer isn’t prolific or does not already have a good grasp of photo editing software, then I’d say no. Covers are such a small investment, even on the higher end of cover price. It is not worth the time away from writing and marketing to learn yet a new skill.

However, in the end, it is a personal choice for every writer. Take into consideration the time involved as well as the cost.

I do absolutely encourage every writer to learn the very basics of something such as Canva. With such a skill a writer can grab royalty free stock and add text to it.

Winter in June


I’ve got brand new premades ready for a story to call home. I post first in my Facebook Cover Group. More are in the works. I’m currently working on some historical covers. If you have a genre or wish to make a request, feel free to contact me. I’ll do what I can.



emailsigI’m in a spotlight!

Can you believe someone wanted to interview me? I know right? 🙂 Uncaged Book Reviews saw some of my covers and came asking me questions. A book reviewer…loving my covers. I am speechless. Well…I managed to do the interview, but I was fairly speechless.


My writers have been busy! They have new releases. See all the pretty stories? I am so excited to have done these covers. I’m working on more this month. Currently my lead time is at 3 months out. There are a few I can’t wait to show off. I haven’t counted my remaining slots for the year but I may have about 20 slots available for custom covers for the remainder of this year. Plan ahead!

If any of these covers strike your fancy, find the stories on Amazon. Don’t forget to support a writer and leave a review!

Writer Resources

I’d like to make an editor recommend and I may be writing a bit more about him in the future. James Roberts has taken several green writers and leveled up their writing. I swear my stories weren’t rejected because he edited them first. Another writer who used his services is now an AWARD winning writer. Touch base with him and see what he can do for you.




Vikkas Bhardwaj has been busy and posting new stock images. He has some wonderful historical and Highlander images that were added this past month. Not to mention he had a screen writer/ producer friend of his stop by his Facebook and check out stories. Did you miss this opportunity? Then you need to follow him on Facebook and try to catch another chance while keeping up to date on his stock images.


Cover Artist to Writer Advice

I’ve seen way too many mentions of writers in a situation. They impulsively bought premade covers and do not have a story written for them yet. I wish to caution against this because it is a waste of money and in general not the best business decision. I recommend writers who do not have a definite process to not purchase covers until about the editing phase. I’ve seen writers change the entire story concept, which changes the cover. Title changes…pen name changes and the all too familiar never writing the story.

If a writer spots a cover s/he loves, try saving the cover image and making note of the artist. Most artists will take requests for premades and if not there is always a custom cover to perfectly fit your story. Don’t think you won’t find a cover for your story. There are always options. I am talking to a writer who bought a cover while writing her story. Two years later, she is ready to publish it and the cover is no longer in a style she finds as appealing for her story. It happens all the time. It is worth it to wait.

What can you do if you have a cover design you won’t use?

A) Suck it up, do nothing, move on.
B) You can ask the artist for a refund. Don’t expect to get the entire amount if any. That artist spent a lot of time on the cover art.
C) there has been talk of “trading” or re-selling the covers. This is sticky and not optimal. First, the premade has your title and pen name on it. The original artist will have to make changes. There may be charges for these changes. If models are on your cover art, these models have their own TOS. They may object to being on a different story. Some subject matters are off limits for models. It may seem trivial, but a model is the brand. They have to be meticulous. Be aware there are hoops here to jump through.

My suggestion is to not get in this situation at all. Buy the cover when you are closer to being ready to publish.

I’ve made several covers that I highly doubt will see the light of day and it makes me sad.


Tortured Soul

2016 Facebook Banner tortured02

I’m behind on updating the blog world of new books and covers and happenings. That is why you should join my facebook group.

Odessa Black now has the second book in The Forbidden Series available on Amazon!


To grab your copy…
May I add that the paperback is stunning.

Tortured Soul by Odessa Black Cover Model is Grigoris Drakakis.

I sincerely enjoyed making this cover. It is my current favorite cover, but some others come in a close second. I have a nice large poster of this art over my office desk. It fell together beautifully. I doubt I could be happier with it.


Odessa is already working on a stand alone story to tide readers over while she contemplates the next Soul Eater in The Forbidden Series.




Cost of a Designer

This is a transparency post. I’ll post pretty book covers a bit later. I’ve got a few to show off. It has been a whirlwind of graphics last few months. I very suddenly had a wait list, practically over night. Then it doubled. Covers are a fickle thing…they come in waves. So who knows in a few months I may be twiddling my thumbs. It is a learning experience for me.

Not long ago I was considering my pricing. I do lots of research on what is standard graphics pricing in the self publish industry. Covers cost anywhere between $25 to $2,500. A writer has lots of options to fit their chosen business model, but I want to address why a “designer” charges what s/he does by showing my thought process.

Every designer has over head costs.
I subscribe to Adobe $139.00 per year I believe it is.
Background and element stock subscription and purchases and fonts so far this year it is at $200
Website and domain $30
Memberships to writer organizations – None yet but I am considering it for connections and validation
Promotion opportunities such as conventions – currently I’m at $1,000
Promotional materials to help with branding and gaining exposure – currently at $200 but that could and probably will increase
Reinvestment in my business and skills with classes – currently at 0 but I will be taking classes later.

I’ve already invested in most of the other software and hardware that I use. It was purchased last year and is paid for already from last year’s projects.
So at this moment my over head costs are around $1,570. For this year alone. Certainly, a designer can get away with less. I was prepared with investing in my side business up front with the hope of breaking even with the first three years as I build my client base.

That is over head, now let’s look at the cost of the process.

About 2 hours chatting with writers about their story and cover. For some writers I’ve also helped with marketing and other publishing aspects which increases the time, but this is my choice I do to help support my writers.
2 hours of stock hunting which can and has gotten as high as 4 hours.
6 to 8 hours making the actual cover. Yes, it really does take that long. I’ve timed myself and the majority of my covers take 8 hours at the PC. My style doesn’t lend itself to isolate cut and paste. I paint and over paint which takes time.
Making alterations after feedback from client 2 hours per round of changes. At this moment I don’t limit the number of changes.
Resizing the cover for print wrap 1 hour

That is roughly 15 hours per cover. Now, absolutely some covers take less time. A good solid number is 10. I’m confident my custom covers take about 10 hours each easy.

I charge $125 per cover at this time. I’m building my portfolio and continuing to learn new techniques. Taking only the time spent on covers into consideration at best I make $12.50 per hour for each cover. There are people who work fast food wanting $15 per hour. I know cashiers who make $13 per hour.

So, to break even this year I have to make at least 15 custom covers. Then I start making $12 per hour or less.

This model isn’t maintainable over a long period of time. A cover is not ever green. It is a one time sale. At the end of this year I’ll re-evaluate everything again and more than likely increase my price slightly. If everything goes well, I’ll have a good client base and more exposure. I’ll have to see then.

This should give you an idea of how a designer may price their services. I have set a standard where I should make $10 per hour right now.

I am so thankful that right now I don’t have time to clean my house or cook proper meals or put away clean laundry. I am that busy. I have a wait list. I also have a super understanding and supportive man in my life. I love doing this.

My advice was if a writer finds a quality designer who charges $150 or less per print wrap that s/he should hold on to the designer and love them.

I’ll cover what to look for in a quality cover later.






Futuristic Romance Cover

Odessa Black is starting 2017 off with lots of books. Her next up for release is Object of My Protection. It’s a futuristic, dystopia, SF, romance.

Odessa is wrapping up revisions and will be sending out ARCs to serious reader reviewers soon. If you’re interested in being on her ARC team send her a message.



Model stock provided by Period Images


Heavenly Creatures

I was given the opportunity to do two different angel PNR covers back to back. The first was Odessa Black’s Black Soul. Odessa and I chatted a bit about her story. She wanted vines wrapped around the man on her cover but other than that, she left it up to me.

Vikkas Bhardwaj ( did a custom photo shoot for her and I went to work on her cover.

I knew her characters didn’t have wings, but I wanted to convey the genre at least a little. Her half angels travel around by sort of melting into the earth, hence the vines.

I wanted to also go against the knee jerk reaction of making the cover black with the title of Black Souls. I wanted the opposite. I wanted subtle wings and golden heavenly light.


The result was my favorite cover to date. Readers commented that the cover model was perfect for the main character. His pose is spot on for the tone of the story.

This cover was so attention grabbing that the writer had over 40 review requests in two hours of posting on her own timeline. Voice actors contacted her to do auditions. It was a bit overwhelming for her, but in a really good way.


People have been leaving great reviews and are eager for her next book in the series. Well, I’m sorry to tell you, there is a tiny bit of wait. However, she has another series out already called The Cursed Series. There are several books there to keep you occupied and a new one will be releasing in March.

In February, she has a stand alone futuristic novel, Object of My Protection. The cover reveal is happening on the 30th in her newsletter. This is also one of my best covers. It was such a treat to make. A definite labor of love. I’m very proud for it to be on her story.

Tortured Soul is the next book in the Forbidden Series. I’ve already designed the cover for it and I love it. Tortured Soul is scheduled for release in April.

You can sign up for Odessa’s newsletter to stay up to date with her new releases and sales coming up soon. And of course Black Soul is now available in digital and print.

Object of My Protection Cover Reveal


About the same time, Jessie Wrights, contacted me about a premade which was already taken. So, we worked out a custom cover for her. Jessie had a good idea of exactly what she wanted and I am delighted to have been able to live up to her expectations.

She did not want the heavenly angel look, she wanted fire and darkness. Well, she had me at fire. Again we browse Vikkas Bhardwaj’s stock images and find one she liked. It came together beautifully.


Can’t wait for this paper back to be on my shelf.


I can’t thank Vikkas enough for the most perfect stock for these covers.



Newest Cover Reveal

Odessa Gillespie Black-Best Selling Author


Cover courtesy of Winter Bayne. Model: Vikkas Bhardwaj.

Excerpt from Black Soul Book One of The Forbidden Series

I had forgotten how alarming my abilities might be to a human. I was here then there. In front of her.

Her jaw dropped and her knees gave as I leaned in to catch her. She would find my breath hot and strangely sweet as it tickled her face. I couldn’t stop the effect.

Her pupils narrowed, but she didn’t flinch.

With a curled forefinger, I lifted her chin. “Don’t fear me.”

“Noah?” She whispered incredulously. Her aura alternated between purple and orange, back to purple, then red, then back to purple. Love, fear, love, anger, and ended up on the one I hoped for. Purple:Love.

Caroline reached out. Her fingers grazed the dark, cool skin on my chest. The sensation was as flame to ice. She stroked the muscles that hadn’t…

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