With the release date for the first part of The Scion of Abacus fast approaching, I have had my hands full getting final bits and pieces ready. I spent a great deal of time in November redesigning the book cover for the novel once I decided to publish as a serial novel as opposed to a duology or trilogy. I’m going to talk a bit about the journey of creating the cover, throw up some images, and then unveil the final cover design for the serial volumes at the bottom (and, yes, that does mean that there will be a separate design for the final, collected version, whereas each of the serial volumes will bear essentially the same cover).
So, this is a familiar first cover design I had planned for the novel back in the days when it was still going to be split into two volumes. I’ve placed what was my initial concept for the cover of the second volume below. Credit where it’s due, the first concepts here were inspired by the Kindle editions of Tolkien’s novels, though I got a little fancy by placing an alien script behind the main image. I liked this effect, and it highlights the importance of writing and books within the novel.
The phoenix represented on the first cover obviously pairs with the key title word “scion,” as well as with one of the key plot points in the novel: the resurrection of a great power. The lion and wolf on the second cover pair with the key word “tyrants,” implying the power struggle that becomes the focus for the second half of the story. Let it be stated, however, that I was never as satisfied with the second cover’s image as with that of the first, though I’m not sure I can quite place my finger on why that is.
As you can see, I had an idea for a common design from the beginning, and since color is important in the story, I figured I would use different hues volume to volume. Indeed, this idea held true when I began revising the covers when I was thinking of splitting the story into a trilogy of books.
Once I settled on the serial novel, I began to play with the idea of a single image, the only differences being the colors, again tying these to the colors represented in the novel itself. I added titles to individual sections of the serial novel, something I later decided to remove. Also, you can see that at this stage, the full novel was still bearing the former series title The Confessions of Toven Bakkis, a title I still like but one I decided to eschew in favor of a more typical fantasy title.
Further evolution of the covers took place under the guise of experimenting with the use of different images. I attempted to do away with the raised silver image, but I was quite unsatisfied with the results. In the meantime, I stumbled across a wonderful font by Peter Rempel called PR Uncial, a painstakingly reconstructed Roman-style uncial that I absolutely loved, and which quickly replaced the block letter style I was using before.
I knew I was getting close to something I really liked, and I still absolutely love the blue on black background with the alien script running beneath. This is likely to be the direction in which the final series cover will go, but I was after something a bit more eye-catching for the serial volumes, something that seemed to pop off the page–or from the screen, as it were–a bit more. The first thing I did was play with the colors overlaying the letters and image, but the effect was minimal at best. I did some more digging on Amazon, and stumbled across some really neat covers for Scott Bakker’s early novels, and I was immediately drawn by the color and lighting effects. A bit of playing around with such things, and I arrived at this, the final version, which I unveil now: