For most self-published authors, getting a cover for their book consists of spending a few hours scouring iStockphoto or 123rf.com (my personal favorite) and choosing a suitable image or two. From there, a graphic designer typically works their magic and “poof,” a cover is ready to be uploaded to KDP or Createspace. That’s the normal route.

But what happens when an author has a vision that defies simply selecting an image and having a professional fancy things up? What if their dream is a bit more involved?

This happened recently while working with one of my favorite writers and Blue Lobster client, Marcia Kester Doyle, the hilarious voice behind the popular blog Menopausal Mother. She clearly knew what she wanted for her cover of her forthcoming book, Who Stole My Spandex? Midlife Musings From a Middle-Aged MILF…. She even drew a quick mockup to make sure that her vision was properly ARTiculated. Check it out:

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After spending some time looking through available images and other avenues of getting this done (hiring a model to sit in a life-sized cocktail glass – not!), I knew I would have to come up with Plan B. I thought Plan B might be a sketch or cartoon like one of these:

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Nope. Not what Marcia had in mind. Without another backup plan, I wondered if we would ever get the cover she envisioned. As I continued looking through image sites, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get this hair onto this woman and put this woman into this glass and have this kid hanging there….?” and so on. That’s when the lightbulb went off! I reached out to my design team and they said two words “photo manipulation.” If you’re not familiar with this technique, here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

“Photo manipulation (also called photoshopping or—before the rise of Photoshop software—airbrushing) is the application of image editing techniques to photographs in order to create an illusion or deception (in contrast to mere enhancement or correction) after the original photographing took place.”

To achieve Marcia’s final cover design, we had to piece together a number of different images. For this reason, photo manipulation can get costly. It can also take many edits before the right look is achieved. Here are several (of countless) phases that Marcia’s cover went through:

rsz_photo_1              rsz_photo_1_check1             sample latest2                    rsz_latest2

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3D_cover2If you have a vision that you’d like see turned into a reality, seamlessly and without a lot of work on your part, give me a shout! I’d be happy to take your sketch or napkin scribble and turn it into the cover of your dreams!

Disclosure: All images are the copyright of Marcia Kester Doyle.