Cold Iron: The Book Cover

One of the great things about working with a writer to create a book cover for them is that it all starts with a conversation about some of my favorite things: stories, characters and photography. The writer and I go over what the mood of the story is, what kinds of images they like, and what their main characters look like. This part of the process is fun, because sometimes I get a little insider knowledge about a character or a plot point, and I get to feel like I’m a secret agent who is holding down some top-secret info.

When Josh and I had that conversation we talked about the mood he wanted, his main character, and some of plot points in Cold Iron. We also talked about budget, which isn’t as much fun, but is important. For example, assembling a team of circus performers and finding a horse would be more money than, say, a portrait of a single person. Josh wanted to focus on one character, so I set out finding a model that fit the look he was going for.

These  two photographs are examples of the unedited images  from shoot I did for his book:

Cold Iron Shoot

Looking at these photos, you may notice that I leave a lot of space in them, and that the photo doesn’t focus entirely on the subject. This is an important element when shooting a book cover that’s different than, say, shooting a portrait. Space needs to be left in a photograph for the title and name of the author, as well as any other information that’s sometimes placed on a cover. You don’t want the words to fight with the image, you want them to work together.

Cold Iron Shoot

Josh took a look at the hundreds of photos I took for his shoot, and picked some favorites to go through a round of editing. Here are some of the photos that he asked for an edit on:

Cold Iron Shoot: Edits

You can see from these photos that I worked to make the scenery more moody to fit with the themes of his novel. I drained out some of the color and upped the contrast.

Cold Iron Shoot: Edits

In the end, it was this composition that interested Joshua the most:

Cold Iron Shoot: Edits

Joshua took these photos to the talented graphic designer Nicola Black who created the final bookcover.

Cold Iron Cover Final

It is impossible to emphasize how important a graphic designer is to creating a book cover. It is easy for bad graphic design to make a beautiful image look cheap, and your book to appear unprofessional. A good graphic designer is essential in creating a compelling cover, which is essential to help sell your book.

I’m a DIY person in a lot of ways, I like the culture of creation it inspires, and the culture of trying out your hand at different skills. However, sometimes, when you want to take your project to the next level, it’s a good idea to hire someone you respect to help you with your project. It doesn’t make you any less fabulous to get him with the things that will make your project shine.

If you want to hire me for your book cover or if you have a special project you think I could help on, drop me a line at

Buy Cold Iron

Check out Nicola Black

4 thoughts on “Cold Iron: The Book Cover

  1. I love posts like this that break down process! I’ll be sure to link back to it when I post about the project today. What fun it was working with you and Josh to produce this cover! I can’t wait for future collaborations with you! Wonderful work, lady!

    • I love working with talented graphic designers. A good graphic designer kicks everything into high gear. I’m always talking to authors about how important good graphic design is. It can change everything!

      • I’m so happy to hear you say that. Sometimes image is overlooked. Especially by those not thinking of the bigger picture. Sure, you can save a buck by cutting corners and hoping your product will sell without the bells and whistles, but those who choose to invest upfront, usually find it’s almost always worth it. Initial audience perception is quite important. Hiring a professional photographer and graphic designer never hurts — and in most cases, helps sell more units!

        Thanks for spreading the word about how professional graphic design is a great asset! 😉

  2. Pingback: "Cold Iron" Novella Book Cover Design - Nicola Black Design

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