A long-standing NaNo tradition is to make your own book cover and forum signature banner for the new NaNo month. It helps to get you excited and you also are forced to think more about the atmosphere and emotion you’re going for in the novel. I just made a cover for The Hilt and the Blade yesterday, so I thought I’d share my other covers with you so that you can a) laugh at the awfulness of the first one and b) be encouraged that if you want to make your own, you will in fact get better with practice and anyone can do it with enough tries. I’m not a graphic designer or anything…it’s just me, my laptop, and Pixelmator.
Here is 2009, my first NaNo novel, with a main character I hated so much that I changed point of view halfway through just so I could finish. She was so…just…annoying. The concept was good though, so I’ll do a rewrite at some stage. The only picture I had of someone remotely resembling my MC was one of me, so here is me at 17 doing a slightly awkward pose and dressed like a strange person. I also apparently thought that font small enough to need a magnifying glass was a good idea. In my defense, this was literally the first thing I ever made on Pixelmator.
Then we have 2010. I planned to do two novels, but due to a trip to India I got to about 15k total and bombed NaNo that year. Oh well…here are the covers! Slightly better but still not great, and I was using other people’s photos. (At least the font was bigger and not made for tiny little gnats to read.)
Technically I should have 2011 next, but I don’t even know what happened…that November is a total blank. I didn’t blog about NaNo at all. I think it’s because it was the end of my first year of university, and I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I don’t even know if I got past 2k in NaNo. I definitely didn’t make a cover and I have no memory of the book idea, book name, or where it’s even stored on my laptop. So either there is a ghostly 2k floating around the hard drive or I just deleted it. So let’s move on to the gloriousness that was last year: NaNo 2012. All the excitement of NaNo came rushing back and I had a blast (and a win!) This book is something I’m actually still working on and I will incorporate it into my Kirael series. I also like the cover, even though it’s not really that great and I used someone else’s photo again. The title is wrong and I can’t find the file where I fixed it, but it’s supposed to be Prin Ten Arken, which is classical Greek for “Before the Beginning.”
And finally, my favorite cover so far is the one I made for The Hilt and the Blade for this year. I don’t know if I’ll make covers for the Shard books, because Shard is my baby and no cover will ever be good enough 🙂 But here is The Hilt and the Blade. I really love it. I took the picture and did everything from scratch, so I’m quite proud of it. This necklace, which originally was obviously not broken, was one of my favorites, and when it broke I was really upset. But then it became the inspiration for basically a fourth of the history of Shard and Kirael, so…all in all, a win!
That’s that! If you want to find someone to make a cover for your NaNo novel, go here. If you want to download Pixelmator (I think it’s only for Mac) it’s about $15 in the App store (the desktop version). It’s super user friendly and with a bit of practice you’ll be able to make cool things. And of course, come back soon for more NaNo-ness! I may or may not do a vlog this year, so stay tuned.