Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

Playing With Covers

Having Fun On This Saturday Night…

I did three covers tonight in just about 45 minutes, and that included looking for art that sort of matched for the three collections.

That’s right, 45 minutes for three wrap-around paperback covers. These will need the spines on them, of course, where the black bar is at, since they are larger than my normal short story paperbacks.

But the front covers can be chopped and used for electronic book covers as they stand now.

I did them in InDesign. And I am still learning that, so a few minutes was spent a couple times looking for how to do something. (grin)

These covers were experiments, but got a hunch the finals will be pretty close. I kind of like them. And my first attempt at branding my collections to everything else I am doing.

I got some comments this week about how long doing covers was going to take in the Great Publishing Challenge and how that made it really hard to do the challenge. And one person was flat insulting saying I could do the 36 books I am planning on doing because I didn’t have to do any covers.

Not kidding.

Clearly a person not following this blog much.

A word of information. I will do all my covers except for my novel covers, which Allyson will do for branding sake. So like the three covers below, which will be three of the 36 published in the next year, I will do them all except the ten novels I plan to publish, so I will do 26 covers, at least.

And still working on making the 100 short story paperback covers as well.

Folks, I have a hard and fast rule. I don’t teach anything to do with publishing or writing if I can’t do it and haven’t already done it and are still doing it.

So to me doing 12 books, while teaching, exercising, being CFO of a corporation, and writing over a millions words of fiction sounds like working under water, with one hand tied behind my back. And if that is insulting, I don’t mean it to be. I just don’t see this publishing challenge as hard.

In fact, when Kris and I came up with it, we both thought this one would give away far, far more lifetime subscriptions than either the novel or the short story challenge combined. Seems we are going to be wrong on that, thanks to the insane amount of fear around actually publishing something that has been written.

And even with a challenge that you get back what you pay in if you miss in workshop credit. Still fear is winning this one from all the comments I am getting and how few have signed up.

So anyhow, here are the three experimental covers I did in 45 minutes. They are for the Make 100 Challenge collections I promised in the Kickstarter.


  • Leah Cutter

    I have been doing this “challenge” for over three years now. Only double. Two books a month, every month, one for me and one for Blaze. Yes, sometimes it’s been a short story and not a novel, novella, or collection. Mostly it’s been longer work. But we have been training our readers to expect something from us every month on a specific day. (Preorders are my friend. Though I never put anything other than a complete book up for preorder.)

    I am not surprised at the fear you’re getting Dean. It is my opinion that it takes a different mindset to be a publisher, to move beyond just being a writer. Like everything else, it’s possible, but you gotta want it.

    • dwsmith

      Leah, I know, and then people wonder why you two are so successful. (grin) And spot on with mindset. But the successful writers of this next decade will be the writers who can control what they do in all aspects, including the publishing, and the ones that are not afraid of licensing and new stuff coming in with audio.

  • Kessie

    Those are decent covers! I kind of see where each collection is headed, too, like the one with the guy with the briefcase. Kind of gives me Half-Life vibes (the G-man). Definitely nothing bad enough to wind up on 😀

  • M. E. Weyerbacher

    Just listened to your interview on 6 Figure Authors and learned so much from you. Mostly, be free & have fun! I love it. It reminded me of my favorite nonfiction book, Finish, by Jon Acuff. Thank you so much for taking time to share and also here on your blog!

  • Jason M

    Wouldn’t have 99 stories been a better marketing push?
    You know, odd numbers seem to be “in motion” and all of that. People are used to it now.
    100 is boring. It’s staid, solid, square. It’s like Superman. Snooze.
    99 is like Batman.

    • dwsmith

      Only one problem, the Kickstart promotion was to Make 100. So that’s why the number you don’t think is sexy. Kickstarter sure does. (grin)

  • Dave Raines

    I tried to zoom in on the guy in the parka, on the third cover. I remembered your (oral) story about how you did extreme skiing earlier in life. I hoped this guy had skis on, kind of a tribute. But no, doesn’t look like it. Well, I’ll always remember the story anyway!

    • dwsmith

      Nope, that was just $1 licensed art that I found on a quick search after seeing one I thought would fit and hitting the button that said, “Find similar.” I just wanted the feel, nothing about any of the 33 stories in any of the books.

  • Bluey

    Love it! I started on my first novel yesterday the first, and I have cover ideas, sketches and audio ideas. I want my readers to experience as much as possible in every story I tell. For me, it’s art form both visual, audio and literal. Your covers are wonderful!