Are you a wader, or a cannon baller? Do you slowly walk up to the water, dip a toe in carefully, then wade in step by agonizing step, trying to get used to the cold? Or, are you the kind of person who would rather just get it over with, cannon ball in and take the cold all at once like a giant wave? Well, I hate cold, so when it comes to the water, I am definitely a wader. When it’s something I’m afraid of though, I just can’t take the torture of wading slowly. I run as fast as I can, close my eyes, and jump before I chicken out.  “CANNON_BALL!”

This might seem like a strange way to start a cover reveal blog post, but I promise, I’ll bring it around. In my writing career, it seems like I am always having new experiences. This is one of the things I love about it, but also the thing that keeps me up at night chewing off all my fingernails. New is terrifying!

My latest nail biter is publishing, not only my first middle-grade novel, but my first solo self-published project. I love this book. Watching my kids struggle with dyslexia inspired me to write it, but also my son is my co-author. (More about that later.)

Love for the project does not make it any less terrifying, and it definitely doesn’t make the learning curve any smaller. So, for my first “learning experience” I knew I needed to hire a designer for my cover. I chose to go with a company called 99 designs because they offer a forum where tons of designers can offer up their vision of your book cover. I really didn’t have a definite idea of what I wanted, so it was a lot of fun to see each of the designs come in. Some I loved right away, some needed a few tweaks, and some not so much, but the level of talent was amazing. In the end, I had I think 41 designers and 118, designs.

Some of the designs were just small changes, like different font styles, but believe me, as someone who has a terrible time with decisions, it was HARD. I finally narrowed it down to my top 8, then 6, the three and finally chose a winner. (I literally closed my eyes to push the button.)

Besides the obvious visual aspect of choosing, I also had to weigh in the designers themselves. Since Battle Books has a bunch of books in the series, I needed a designer with longevity to give the series continuity. He also needed to be workable, prompt, and good at communicating, as well as being able to draw all his own art because we write about mythological creatures that don’t always have any stock art. The designer who made my design is named, Dragan Paunovic. You can check out his portfolio on 99 designs by following the link below. He is amazingly talented, and a dream to work with.

Thanks to everyone who helped with their input and advice in the early design polling, and thanks in advance for supporting this terrifying little dream. And without any more squawking, here is the beautiful cover.



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