10 Tips to Help Banish the "Self-Published Cover"

We have all seen a book cover at some point in our Amazon browsing that has made us go,

"Oh dear.  That needs a new cover."  (Or dubbed it a "self-published cover".)

(Please note that I am not bashing self-published books.  Some of my favorite books are self-published.  I am simply using a connotation commonly associated with bad book covers.)

And so we scroll past without even looking at the summary.  People say to not judge a book by its cover, but they do it anyways.


The book cover is the first impression.  If it is appealing to the eye, it will attract people to the second impression: the summary.

1. Perfect typography is key.

One of the elements that can make or break a cover is the positioning and font of the wording.  Think of it as word art.

1. Look to the professionals for inspiration.

2. Pick a font that is bold, readable, and goes with your genre.  (A fantastic place to look is dafont.com.)

3. Find the perfect positioning for your font.

4. Typography is an art!  

Mess around and try something unconventional!  Here are some great photoshop typography tutorials: http://design.tutsplus.com/categories/text-effects

5. Keep it readable.

Let's take a look at some examples.

This is a great example!  The text goes
with the color palette, is easy to read, and
is bold enough to be the first thing that jumps
out at you.
On this cover, the first thing we see is "Choosing".
The letters are easy to read.  The positioning is good
 too, as it helps "tell the story".  The main character must
choose between the life presented at the top of
the cover, and the life presented on the bottom.
(Just a warning, I have not read this book or know its contents.)
This is an example of a book cover that is all typography.  Honestly,
 I love these type of book covers.  Their simplicity is unmatched.
Anyway, notice how the font is readable, varied
yet the same, and interlocks perfectly.
The title is bold, readable, and
even has some character to it.

2. Less is more.

Have you ever looked at a book cover and thought that it was way too busy?  That's what you don't want to happen.  Believe me, simplicity is best.  (And right now, simple covers are what are "in".)

If you Google "best book covers of 2015", you will find that all of them have a sense of simplicity about them.

Here is a fantastic example of a simple, yet beautiful book cover: (Disclaimer: I have never read this book or know what it is about.  I simply like the cover.)

Simply having a solid colored background is a good place to start with this, depending on the style of your book cover.

3. Have a color palette.

Make sure the colors on your cover go together.

4. The cover doesn't have to be a beautiful painting.

I know we all love those beautifully illustrated covers where the characters come to life.  But we are not all painters.

5. Get a second (or third) opinion.

I don't know about you, but when I first create something, I think it is amazing and perfect.  Then I send it to someone...and they don't like it nearly a much.  This helps me realize my mistakes and how I can improve my work.  Opinions are invaluable.

6. You might not get it right the first time.

A lot of times, it takes me a few tries before I come up with a design I actually like.  Then it takes me more time to perfect that idea.  (This is true for professionals as well.)

7. Make the cover intriguing.

The job of the book cover is to make the reader want to know more.  Make sure you leave some mystery.  :)

8. Know your limitations.

Not everyone can photoshop a person onto another background and make it look realistic.  And that's okay.  Try another style of cover.  Have you considered a cover where the typography is the star of the show?  What about finding another image?

9. Don't settle for decent.

If you have been working on a cover for a long time and it still isn't right, KEEP WORKING.  Look for more inspiration.  Ask someone for help.  Maybe you could hire a professional cover designer.

10. Find inspiration.

There is no set way to make a book cover.  As this is true, the best way to learn the art of making book covers is by studying professionally made book covers.  Many times when I am ready to make a book cover, I will search for book covers and pick out what I like and don't like.  From this, I will get a pretty good idea in my head of what it should look like.

Bonus: For more tips on making book covers, this is a fantastic post written by Canva.


What do you think makes a good book cover?  Are there any other tips you would add to this list?


I Printed My Book + Snippets + Book Blurbs

I stole the idea from the wonderful Katie Grace and printed draft 2 of The Clockshifter.  2 weekends ago I spent all day working on the cover.  *sigh* It would not have taken as long if my computer would have cooperated.
I'm warning you, computer of mine... (Source)


(I promise, my hands aren't weirdly disfigured 
like they appear in the photo.  I'm just trying to hold
 the book open for you to see.)


Here's a small snippet from the third draft.  (Click photo to enlarge)
*sigh* That awful moment when you make up a word and Word doesn't recognize it.

As the people who graciously beta read probably see, this little book of mine has changed a lot.  Most things in the story have changed, actually.  For example, The Building has a more original name AND is in space.

Characters have been added.  Characters have been deleted.  Plots have changed.  The order of remaining events have changed.  And there's a psychopathic secret agent with amnesia.  Like I said, this new draft is very different.

So...here's my attempt at a book blurb.  (It's still a major work in progress, so read at your own risk.)

The Clockshifter doesn't remember his name or where he came from.  He knows only his mission: change time.  After traveling back to the time of knights, fair maidens, and chivalry, he poses as a soldier named Theo.  While undercover, he strategically befriends Lyric Holloway, the girl at the center of a prophecy he told.  This marks the beginning of the end of primitive civilization.  But can events of time be rewritten to suit the needs of a single man?


Samara's Peril Blog Tour REVIEW, EXCERPT, and GIVEAWAY


Jaye L. Knight’s newest novel, Samara’s Peril, has been released! Samara’s Peril is the third book in the Christian fantasy series, Ilyon Chronicles. Read about it below and be sure to check out the other blog stops on the tour by visiting the official tour page. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00028]About the Book

When news arrives that Emperor Daican has been in contact with his chief war strategist, it signals potential doom for the country of Samara. Determined to intervene, the resistance in Landale, headed by Lady Anne, embark on a covert mission in hopes of unearthing further information. However, a shocking discovery leads to complications no one could have foreseen.
Armed with their newfound knowledge, they set out for Samara to warn the king. War is inevitable, and they must face two desperate battles—one on the walls of Samara’s great stronghold, and the other on the battlefield of Jace’s heart, where victory might only be achievable through great sacrifice.

Available now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks!

My Review

The Ilyon Chronicles has been one of my favorite series since Resistance first came out.  Naturally, my expectations were very high for Samara's Peril.

The Characters

Jace has been my favorite character Resistance.  He is a poor tortured soul who needs a huge hug.  Through the first two books, he, with the help of Elom, works through his insecurities.  In this book, he backslides...a lot.  All of those insecurities come tumbling back.  This was bound to happen sometime, but he was like this a lot of the book and it was kind of depressing.

The emphasis on Jace in Samara's Peril took away from the other characters.  Kyrin had a much smaller part, and Trask was barely in it.  I wish they had bigger parts.  
All the people in the Resistance are important and deserve
their own books.  (Source)
One thing I did like was that Anne had a bigger part!  She was the center of a mission at the beginning of the story.  I loved seeing her help the Resistance!
It's even better that this GIF is about a wedding.  #Traskanne (Source)

Now I move on to Rothas.  He is a well-written villain.  I really hate him.  Rothas, this is from the fandom for everything you have done:
And now, Rothas, you can be punished forever as this
GIF loops for eternity.(Source)

The Plot

Samara's Peril is slower moving than the other Ilyon books.  It just didn't draw me in like the other books in the series did.  (Maybe it's just me?)  This book just wasn't my favorite.

However...there were some amazing things that happened and gave me chills.  Seriously.  *spoilers in white* Such as when Elon sacrificed himself for Jace.  Or when Jace met his mother.  *sigh* What amazing moments...  AND THE FACT THAT JAYRIN IS NOW CANON.

Content Warning: While there is nothing questionable in this book, there are bad people who do bad things.  *spoiler in white* In a character's backstory, a woman was attacked and became pregnant as a result. However, this happens long before the events of the book and the topic is handled with care.  There are some guys in it who treat women poorly.  Again, this subject is handled with care. 
For these content reasons, I would advise this book (or at least those parts) for older teens.

In summary, though Samara's Peril isn't my favorite Ilyon Chronicles book,  I still recommend it, and the other books in the series.

*Disclaimer* I received a copy of Samara's Peril in exchange for an honest review.


Only moments later, footsteps echoed in the hall. Jace straightened as the door opened. A lordly man and woman stepped inside, and the security guard entered behind them. Anne rose from her seat as the first man greeted her.

“Lady Anne, welcome to Ashwood.”

She nodded to him and his wife. “Sir Rothas, Lady Rachel.”

“We were not expecting company.” Rothas’s voice was smooth as glass and equally cool.

His presence made Jace distinctly uneasy, and he sized the man up. He was tall, fit, and dark. No doubt he could handle himself, being a knight. But that wasn’t what disturbed Jace—it was the look in his iron-like eyes. Jace had known men like him before. He had the look of a predator. Jace barely restrained himself from stepping closer to Kyrin.

“I’m on my way to Mareby to visit Lady Hamilton,” Anne responded. “My father thought some time away from Landale and all that dreadful talk of rebellion would do me good, but I’m afraid my constitution just isn’t built for travel.” Again, she amazed Jace with how well she played her part, even making her voice a bit breathy. “If you would be so kind as to allow me a day or two to refresh myself before I travel on, I would very much appreciate it.”

The man could hardly say no to her persuasive tone. “Of course you may stay, for as long as you wish.”

Rothas’s cool, dark eyes traveled up and down Anne, and Jace gritted his teeth. Trask would be infuriated were he here. Even the security guard gave Sir Rothas an unseen look of disgust.

About the Author

JayeAuthor2015Jaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.

You can connect with Jaye on her website, blog, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Etsy.


Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a themed giveaway pack! Prizes include an autographed copy of Samara’s Peril, a John 3:16 necklace by FaithWearDesigns, and a green wire dragon bookmark by Wirelings! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.)



Make sure and check out the rest of the blog tour here: http://jayelknight.blogspot.com/p/samaras-peril-blog-tour.html


In Which I Flail Over Captain America: Civil War

The On May 6, I went to go see Captain America: Civil War.  (No, I was not emotionally prepared. Yes, I had tissues in my pocket.)

On May 6, I also learned that it is possible to not like Bucky?  (HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?!)
This is what I have to say to you if you don't like Bucky.
Sorry.  (Actually, not sorry.) (Source)
Now on to the movie review..............................

The Characters

Steve Rogers

I have loved Captain America ever since I got into MARVEL.  He fights for what is good (no matter what), he loves people, AND HE STANDS BY HIS BEST FRIEND.  (Perfect human right here.)
*spoilers in white* He needed a HUGE HUG when Peggy died.  (I think I needed one too.)

Did anyone else think it was super random when Cap kissed Sharon Carter?  Thankfully Sam and Bucky's faces made the scene better.

Bucky Barnes

Bucky is precious and needs to be protected and hugged.  A lot.  Civil War has a lot of Bucky. (Specifically Bucky and Steve's epic friendship.)  I feel like we really get to know Bucky in this movie.  We better know what he went through and that he remembers all of it.  All the people he killed.  He doesn't want to be The Winter Soldier.  He is scared because everyone wants to kill him. DID I MENTION HE NEEDS A HUG?

Tony Stark

The character development of Tony Stark in Civil War was amazing.  We got to see a vulnerable, PTSD-plagued Tony.  This movie broke him.
Look at his face.  Does he not look worn out?  Sad?  Broken?  He needs a hug too.

Wanda Maximoff

CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT WANDA IS TERRIFIED OF WHAT SHE CAN DO?!  *spoilers in white* The first thing she does after sending Crossbones into a building is this:
She has to deal with the trauma of the fact that she can cause bad things to happen very easily.  She can also do it for good, but the thought is still there.  She couldn't save her brother.  She was a part of the reason that so many people died in Sokovia.


He is adorably awkward.  He has to get used to, well, life.  I'm pretty sure I ship him and Wanda.
Sorry...I couldn't find a better gif.  (Source)


Why does the actor keep changing?  I miss Andrew Garfield.  :( Still, Spider-Man was pretty great.  He has some of the best lines of the movie.
He says he can't come with Tony because he has homework.  His lines were perfection.

Black Panther

I might like him?  I'm still deciding.  I really liked his character development.  *spoilers in white* I especially liked how he realized he was wrong about Bucky, AND gave up his quest for revenge.  AND BUCKY MIGHT BE IN THE BLACK PANTHER MOVIE?!

The Other Peoples

Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  I LOVE ALL THE SUPERHEROES!!!

The Stuff I Liked

- The Avengers care about the safety of innocent people.  

In a lot of other superhero movies, the "heroes" tear up the earth.  This movie really shows the struggle of protecting the earth AND the innocent people.

- The Avengers don't want to fight each other.  

They don't want to be "the best superhero".  They are both fighting for something they think is right.  Tony believes they should fight under the government's control to protect more innocent people. Steve believes that a lot of governments are corrupt and that in order for them to save the world, they need to be independent of the governments.

- Stan Lee's cameo.  

Enough said.

- We got to see the Avengers broken.  

We know they aren't just people who save the world.  They are PEOPLE with the ugly privilege to bare the weight of protecting the world from evil.

- Bucky/Steve brotp.  I love this.


-Sam/Steve/Bucky friendship.

This is the exact moment when I accepted the Bucky/Steve/Sam brotp.
It's a thing, people.

-There are other things, but they are filled with spoilers.  :)

Stuff I Didn't Like

- Martin Freeman didn't have a British accent?  

It sounded like a different voice coming from his mouth.
There he is in the background next to Sharon Carter.  You're welcome.

- There was some language in it.  

For a review on the content of the film, I suggest you check out the review on Plugged In.  In the words of Captain America:

- Umm...nothing else really?


Have you seen Civil War?  What were your thoughts?  We're you Team Cap or Team Iron Man?  Feel free to freak out/flail/fangirl in the comments, but please indicate if your comment has spoilers.  :)


Hi. Testing has fried my brain.

Hello everyone!  I had a huge test this morning (and didn't write this post this weekend because I was studying) and therefore won't be posting today.  Well, something other than this post anyway.  LOL?