#DesignAMA: What is involved in the process of designing and developing a book cover?

I had an interesting question over on my #DesignAMA today. It is a lengthy response, however I believe it is something of value. That is why I decided to share it here on my blog for you all. Remember my #DesignAMA goes live August 28, and if you have any questions submit them here. Enjoy ūüôā

What is involved in the process of designing and developing a book cover? How long does it take on average?

There are two types of covers when you look at the process of designing a cover. The first process is the most common, and that is the photo manipulated covers. The second process is the illustrated cover drawn from hand. Time varies between the two big. I will do a breakdown of the two to let you be more informed.

Photo-Manipulated Covers:

  • The first step for a designer is to find out the author’s direction for the cover.
  • Second step is to find the images that will make up the background, textures and concept. This can take from an hour to days. This has ranged from 4 to 8 hours for myself, it depends on what the author is looking for.
  • Next is taking your images into your software, I use Photoshop. During this step you will create layers, adjustments and cut images to set them onto each other. The time this can range from one hour to several, it depends on how many images you are using.
  • The biggest step to making the cover look good is blending. This can range from erasing, painting or adding special features to blend all layers together.¬† You can expect this to take several hours, again depends on how many images that need blending.
  • Once the image is complete, then comes the wonderful step of adding your text. This is your title, sub-title, slogan, author name and any other text you wish to add. Pay attention to the fonts that appear within your genre before deciding which font to use. Deciding on a font can take hours, however make sure it is a font for commercial use. Read the licensing information even if it says it’s a FREE font.
  • The final step to take before you show off your cover is two things. One take a day away from the cover, come back to it and look it over for any changes you see that need corrected.¬†Second,¬†ask a few individuals you trust for their honest opinion. Word of advice, seek individuals that have an eye for detail. If you missed any issues, they will point them out or give suggestions to improve your cover.

Overall, this cover shouldn’t take longer than two weeks. This time is only an estimate many designers can do it under two weeks. However, I like to have too much time to work within than not enough. If you don’t give your designer enough time to work, then you are jeopardizing the overall quality of your cover you present.

Illustrated Covers:

  • The first step of any illustrated cover is to come up with three thumbnail concepts. This allows the author three directions they could go with their cover.
  • The draft process is the next step after you complete your concept direction. This can range from three to five plus drafts that the designer provides to the author. Drafts are all done in pencil once completed on paper then comes the next step.
  • The designer will now transfer their hand-drawn sketch¬†over to their computer. Most common softwares used is Illustrator or Photoshop. The journey of creating the digital art is a lengthy process. Overall, transferring just a pencil outline will take about a day or less.
  • The next step is painting the image. This is a lengthy process that will take weeks. How it works in Photoshop is that each item you paint has its own layer. Another option is to create each item in their own source file then link to it in a final file. Doing the link option helps keep the project from overloading the software and slowing it down.
  • The designer has finished painting the image, now comes the clean up process. This step varies in length since it entails erasing, blending an adding shading to the layers to make them one consistent image. Expect this step to be close to a day worth of¬†work it can be longer.
  • Now comes adding¬†your title and other text information you wish to include. This will take only minutes to put the text on the cover and create a layout, however as stated above finding the font can range from minutes to hours of searching.
  • The title and text is on your cover now and comes a crucial step. The designer has to make sure the text blends with the image. I am not saying it dissolves into the image itself, what I’m saying is that it looks like it belongs on your cover. Picking a color for the text or by adding an overlay to flatten the text to the image can solve this problem.
  • Now you have what looks like a final cover. Again step back, ask for a few individuals feedback and see if any changes need made. If you see none¬†then you have a finished cover. Overall, the length of an illustrated cover can range from two to six months. It depends on the designer and the experience they have, another big deciding point on time is communication. If an author refuses to communicate with the designer, then that lengthens the process.

A big side note to remember readers will judge your book by its cover, which is why you need to settle for nothing but high quality. Do to budget or lack of one can ruin this for some authors. That is why I tailored my design business to provide several money saving options to all authors. I offer giveaways, discounts, sales and money saving opportunities, along with payment plans that will fit anyone’s budget. If you’re an author that is struggling to put together the funds for making your book just drop us a message, we will make it happen.


Custom Cover: Double Cover Reveal

Just the other week I did a cover reveal for Allison D. Reid’s new book, Visions of Light and Shadow. This is her third installment in her series the Wind Rider Chronicles. Alfredo and I have been on a journey for the last year working on a big project for Allison. The project was to bring a consistent, illustrated and series connect to her books¬†in print.

The plan is to have all her books illustrated by Alfredo and I do the photo manipulation and formatting. We started this project as I stated a year ago. We have finished her third book since it was the most pressing of them all. Now I get to say I have put the final touches on Journey to Aviad and Ancient Voices: Into the Depths just yesterday. You know what the means? It means I get to showcase both covers to you all at once. So, without further a do I present the new Journey to Aviad and Ancient Voices: Into the Depths.

I thought I would share all three books in the series side by side. This way you can see the entire collection as one. These are all the ebook covers, I am formatting the print covers. Then they will go through a proofing process, to make sure the physical copy is the colors Allison is looking for. Due to this process the covers won’t change over in the marketplace till the print covers arrive¬†in the mail to complete the proof, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement for when they go live worldwide.

The Wind Rider Chronicles

About the Author

Allison now lives in the Miami Valley area with her husband and children. She continues to work on her first published series while taking care of her family, editing for other independent writers, and managing a home business.

Author Website¬†|¬†Facebook Page¬†|¬†Twitter¬†|¬†Allison’s Kinship

Journey to Aviad is a Prema-FREE ebook download!
Ancient Voices: Into the Depths (Ebook $2.99) (Paperback $9.99) or subscribe to Allison’s author newsletter and get the ebook FREE.
Visions of Light and Shadow (Ebook $2.99) (Paperback coming soon, after physical proof process)

Other books/stories within the Wind Rider Chronicles world:

Into the Shadow Woods (Ebook $1.99) (Paperback $6.99)
A Collection of Short Stories: The Wind Rider Chronicles (Ebook $0.99)

Talk soon,

Katie @ KJ Magical Designs

#DesignAMA: How do you promote your business?

It has been a minute since my last blog post. I have an interesting question to share with you I received from an individual over on my #DesignAMA event page. In, the process of writing this response I came up with two ideas I plan to implement here in a few weeks once I create advertising graphics for them. I would appreciate your input on this response and the new discount opportunities.

How do you promote your business? What methods have you found that effectively spread the word about your services? 

I have done different promoting for my design business that are showing merits. The main one is using social media on different platforms to find the authors that would need my services. The big one I have done was joining groups where I showcase premade covers, recent designs and groups for writing. Due to being an author myself a big thing that helps is promoting myself as an author and creating connections that way leads to others trusting me. This then lets them feel comfortable approaching me to inquire about services.

Word of mouth is big that has helped bring in new clients. I have several authors that have been with me or featured me on their blogs. I have done interviews, guest posts and cover reveals that created content for them or myself. Then in agreement they would create a button on their website to promote my design business. If they used my service, they would then display the logo of my business as a recommendation for visitors to view.

I haven’t tried using Facebook, Google or any other ad services as of right now. I am a mother of twins and have a tight budget. This means I am trying several free options to see which works best before I do the paid option.

My main thing is to grow slow that way I can make sure I provide quality to my clients. The reason is that I want to make sure not to overload myself as things take off.

Things I have done: Facebook Group Giveaways, Public Giveaways, Premade Cover Sales, Custom Cover Sales and I offer custom cover discounts for Facebook group members and bulk services.

Ideas I plan to offer soon:

  • Client Referral Service – A prior client refers a new client and will receive a bonus of either a FREE promotional package/individual service or 40% discount on their next custom cover order.
  • Promoting Benefit – A client whether new or old, creates 3+ promotional posts on any platform to receive a 10% discount for spreading word about my company. This can be a mix of one post being shared over multiple platforms,¬†(example – Author posts on a blog, then shares it over twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and any others. I will accept this as over 3 shares and will be eligible for the 10% discount). They can only use this discount with each individual invoice that’s¬†created, within a monthly period.

Hope this gives you some ideas, the main thing is to have fun with it and to think of ways to benefit the audience that wants to use your services but can’t afford it. I always work to think of ways to bring my services to everyone no matter the price point. Remember, if you hate the promoting side of your business it will be something you will avoid.

My #DesignAMA goes live August 28, 2018. If you have a question related to my topic of interest (The Art of Designing and Writing – A Cover Designer/Artist and Indie Author’s Journey AMA), ask it here.

My question to you: What do you look for in a advertisement that makes you want to use that companies services?

#AuthorAMA: Different ways to enter the Writing Industry

K.M. Jenkins

Yesterday I shared a post from my design blog, KJ Magical Designs, that showcased a question from a #DesignAMA I am taking part in. However, I am not only taking questions on design but also on writing too. I had an interesting one I thought I would source here on my blog.

For a first time author- how many pages would you say is a good start to get published? In the genre of suspense/romance fiction? 

It ranges in each genre and by the audience you are trying to target. Ask yourself if you plan to self-publish, if you will market to an agent or hope to get picked up by a publisher. I did digging into this and found a good infographic on one of my favorite sites (Writer’s Digest). This is a good resource to help you learn the ins and outs of the industry…

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#AMA: Do you have any tips on how to choose the right designer for your book cover?

Pay attention to the designers technique. Use there portfolio to study their style. If you don’t think they will accomplish what your looking for in a cover,¬†it is best to keep looking. The biggest pitfall is choosing a designer that doesn’t fit your style of writing (Example: having a scifi cover designer do a romance cover). If they have a broad range that is great.

Look at their experience, but don’t let it define your final choice. Newbies can be a great investment. My first clients were authors I befriended through groups and they tried me out when I was¬†a beginner. The nice thing about newbies is they will push themselves to the limit to prove they can provide you with the cover you desire. I had this experience with Allison D. Reid and she has been with me ever since.

Research is key, check out reviews on the designer. If they don’t have reviews by prior authors, this is where the portfolio comes in handy. Google the authors they¬†worked with, find out their thoughts and option. Get an idea of their work¬†flow if they are reliable or have good communication skills.

Ask questions. A big thing I like to do is¬†chat sessions with authors. I want a feel of what direction they are going towards. This way I know if I fit the authors style. If the designer isn’t willing to chat, perhaps it is best to keep looking. This can be a sign of communication issues, or¬†the designer being too busy.

**A designer that ask lots of questions is a sign they are committed to giving you their best.

What is AMA?

Ask Me Anything. I put up a live hosting page that goes live August 28th, at 10pm CST. People from all over the world ask me questions on my chosen topic. My first AMA topic:¬†The Art of Designing and Writing – A Cover Designer/Artist and Indie Author’s Journey¬†Let’s say it is a new twist to an interview, but where you get to ask the questions.

How does it work?

Right now you are able to submit questions till the deadline, August 28th. The answers to questions don’t go live till 10pm CST that day. However, I do get to answer questions before the day, so if I see a question that will benefit you all. I will be creating a blog post here for you all to reference and enjoy.

If you would like to ask questions submit them here.



August is here and what better way to start off a new month than with two big sales. I will be having a $69 SALE on my $80 PREMADE Covers in my shop. I will be adding several throughout the month and keeping everyone posted. If you see one you want to snatch up, better do it ASAP. The available covers are as followed (with more to come):

If you see one you want just email me the cover title to kjmagicaldesigns@gmail.com, and I’ll take care of your invoice. Design slots are on a first-come first-served basis and you will be scheduled into the soonest slot available.

Now for the second sale. This one is for my custom cover packages. During the month of August you will be able to get 40% off on all the packages (for cover services only). Pre-booking your slot is available, for those authors that have a book still in the works. A deposit of 30% is required to have your slot/project booked into my schedule. To see examples of my present works check out my portfolio or my premade cover shop. If you think we would be a good fit, email your service inquiry to kjmagicaldesigns@gmail.com.


If that doesn’t sound like enough for you I will be including a grand re-opening GIVEAWAY. The winning author will get to walk away with a FREE Ebook Package that is normally priced at $199. Click here to enter.


Interview With Author And Cover Designer Kathryn Jenkins ‚ÄĒ Writer’s Treasure Chest


Today I am featured over on Aurora’s Writer’s Treasure Chest. She asked several interesting questions that hit on my own writing to my design works. Hope you all will stop by and check it out.

Welcome! We know each other for a while now. I know you are not only a very gifted writer, but also an excellent graphic designer and book cover designer. I know there’s much more, and I’d like to hear about that. 1. When did you start writing? It is hard to say when I […]

via Interview With Author And Cover Designer Kathryn Jenkins ‚ÄĒ Writer’s Treasure Chest

Custom Cover: Print Cover Reveal

This evening I put the final touches on this print cover, that I did for Allison D. Reid. The process for this cover was different from my others. That being due to this being a collaborated piece between myself and my fellow designer, Alfredo Pachicano.

Alfredo has been working with me for a few years now, mainly on Allison’s books for her Wind Rider Chronicles series. This cover is the latest release of her series, Visions of Light and Shadows, Book 3 of the Wind Rider Chronicles.

The process behind this cover was pretty easy for myself. You see before Alfredo came into the picture I have worked with Allison for about a year or more, so I have come to expect what she likes. Many designers would find her picky, overwhelming or even hard to work with. However, I love working with her, she pushes me to new heights. We have been together since I started my journey onto the path of designing covers, along with becoming an author myself, and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Alfredo jumped on the band wagon just this last year and he is the one behind the beautifully illustrated image provided on the cover. He has been slaving away on re-doing the first two books in the Wind Rider Chronicles, and this one provided above. The plan has been to rework all the covers to create a series set that flows from one book to another.

I haven’t master the art of transferring designs from paper over to digital yet, and Alfredo is by far a better illustrator than myself. In this way we seem to compliment each other, since he has no¬†understanding of the book cover formatting specifications. As a result he did the illustrating, where I did the formatting, text and photo manipulation on our co-projects.

This cover I had access to the psd files, so I was able to manipulate the illustration to create the back flap for this one. I am hoping it will work out for the others in the series, but won’t know till the time comes.

Book 3 has finally been finished. I do have the new image for book 2, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths, so this will be my next assignment to accomplish for Allison. Then once book 1, Journey to Aviad’s art has been complete, then I will work that one. I will keep everyone updated on this series project as it continues.

So, I have drowned on for a long while, but what kind of designer/author would I be if I didn’t share some links. Below you will find link’s to Allison’s website, FB page, Twitter and her FB group. I’ll even throw in link’s to her books.

Author Website
Facebook Page
Allison’s Kinship

Get Journey to Aviad FREE ebook download!
Ancient Voices: Into the Depths (Ebook $2.99) (Paperback $9.99)
Visions of Light and Shadow (Ebook $2.99) (Paperback coming soon, after physical proof process)

I hope you all will check out her site and even snatch up the first book of her series if you haven’t yet. This series falls in the genres of Epic fantasy and Christian Fantasy. I fell in love with her as an author the second I opened Journey to Aviad and I even cried at the gut wrenching blow Ancient Voices: Into the Depths threw my way. I will be excited to read book 3 and yes I will be writing a review for you all to read.

I hope you all have a good weekend and if you are looking for a book to read I bet you will find one here on this very page, wink wink :).

Talk soon,

Katie @ KJ Magical Designs


It seems like forever since the last time I posted. I know it was just the other day I was showing you a sneak peek of my first series set of premade covers. If you happened to miss it I will be taunting you again with the preview images, before I get to the actual covers. Yes, I know you can just scroll to the bottom and skip my rambling. But, how else will you be updated on things. Here is some torture:

I thought I would give you all an update on things real quick, before I show off these covers. The last few days I have been finalizing my website and created packages for custom covers to promotional items. I even got my individual services up on the site now too. If you are interested in checking them out just click here.

Last night after taking a few days away from designing covers, I started a new one. Thought I would let you see a teaser of what it looks like so far. This one is going to be apart of my Deluxe Premades collection.

There has been a big change to my premade store. I have decided to break specific covers into different categories, which is good for you. That being you will get more added services with each category.

The categories are as followed:

  • Basic Premade: $80 – this is just a basic premade cover without any added items to it. These covers are actually on sale till 8/31 for $69.
  • Premium Premades: $130 – comes with ebook, three hard revisions, a 3D cover and a promotional banner.
  • Deluxe Premades: $200 –¬†come with ebook, paperback, three hard revisions, 3D cover and¬† a promotional banner.
  • Series: Price Varies –¬†come with ebook, paperback, three hard revisions, 3D cover and¬† a promotional banner (the size of the series cover set will vary from 3 covers to more).

Have I drowned on long enough, yet? I believe I have, so without further a-do here is the Demonic Love series collection.

If interested in purchasing email me ASAP the series title: Demonic Love with your purchasing details at kjmagicaldesigns@gmail.com. Payment is processed through PayPal.

PREMADE COVER PREVIEW: Deception/Marked for Hell/Love’s Descent

I was suppose to post this preview yesterday, however the day just got away. I plan on making this series of covers public on Friday. Right now they are available in my FACEBOOK GROUP, at a discounted rate. If you are interested in seeing the full cover all you have to do is join my group.

I did several different techniques in these covers compared to my other premades. I hope everyone will enjoy them as much as I did creating them. It’s hard to believe I did all three of these in two days. Without further a do, I will stop drowning on and let you see the preview. Enjoy ūüôā

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