If you don’t have a great cover then all your efforts have gone for “nothing,” from a sales standpoint. The cover is mainly what gets people to pick the book up and page through it. Now, the billion-dollar question is: what makes a great cover? The graphic shows that my cover has undergone hardly any changes throughout this arduous process. The first was based on an early picture I had envisioned where the centipede part was separated from the dragon part. From a design standpoint, with the echoing swirls, I thought this image made a beautiful cover. Then I realized I should stick with a Centipede Dragon in his most recognizable, intact form. I don’t want to freak kids out with this ripped-apart version. Your thoughts? Did my cover intrigue you enough to open the book? Does it give you a sense of what kind of creature he is? What type of cover attracts you?
Choosing a book shape was a bit more tricky. You’ll see I have gone through 3 different shapes, starting out with the vertical format for a VERY practical reason. When books are shelved, the horizontally-orientated ones–called landscape–either stick way too far out of the shelving, or if shelved vertically, then the spine text is no longer apparent, thus leaving the book unidentifiable. As I began the illustration work, I noticed because Centipede Dragon himself is long and skinny, that the landscape format would be more suited to him. I was never pleased with this choice, but felt I was making the best artistic decision for the book. I finally settled on a square format for an insurmountable technical reason. For some reason, Amazon displayed the pages of a self-published landscape-orientated book rotated at 90 degrees! This will in most cases turn viewers off to paging through your book, and thus defeats the whole purpose of "looking inside." Square shape therefore did the trick, and what's more I liked it so much more than landscape!