How To Design Your Cover: Making the If The Dress Fits Cover

New book coming out this October, and I'm so EXCITED. I love creating the covers of my books, and I have to admit, I had a lot of fun doing it for If the Dress Fits. And I'm really happy the book's cover has gotten a lot of love too!

Want to find out how I made the cover? Keep reading!

Step One: Look Up Other Books

The story is modern, fun, and is more character-driven than I am used to writing. I wanted the cover to kind of convey that, and to show that this is a contemporary romance book. I wanted to see what other, similar books looked like, so of course I looked them up on Amazon. I liked the feel of the British Chick lit covers, the ones that are mostly art, but when you look up 'plus size' romance books, erotic covers pop up, usually featuring gorgeous plus size models with raised legs, which was too steamy for me. I wanted something kind of in between--artsy, but still very contemporary.

It's important to look at the other books that are similar to yours, just so you know how to stand out when people look up keywords of your work.

Step Two: Find your inspiration

So with that in mind, I thought about the layout of the cover. How can I make it stand out? I browsed movie covers (another good source), looked up how books are usually presented to find the 'angle' I wanted for the book.

I was actually browsing Pinterest when I found the inspiration. The thing I like about Pinterest is when you're looking up fashion pics to pin, looking at it from your board makes it look like a magazine spread. Very cool, and very chic. I love the idea of 'captured' fashion photos, and I thought it would fit in nicely with what I wanted for the book.


Step Three: Create your elements

I thought, what if I made my cover like a Pinterest page? Having my MC and LI in different outfits, in their element? So I looked up plus sized girl poses, worked out the 'looks' I wanted and carefully painted them all. The original plan was to paint six of Martha and six of Max, but I reassessed, and given my time and the amount of work I still had to do for the book, three was the better option (notice the one that didn't make it to the cover!).

Cover progress 4/6 !!!

— Carla de Guzman (@somemidnights) August 10, 2016

Step Four: Titles, Chapter Titles and Chapter Illustrations

The title itself was a bit of an issue, because it's quite long, and I had little space. After some consultations with the designer (my sister Gabbie, who is brilliant!), we decided on the serif design of the title--keeping the curve in the 'the' because I definitely wanted the cover to be sweet and girly.

I watched this Skillshare video by Mary Kate McDevitt, and she said that the chapter titles of your book are just as important as the cover. Good chapter titles keep the story's feel consistent, and makes the book seem more well thought out. So to keep with the girly + artsy look of the book, I did chapter illustrations, while Gabbie created these beautiful calligraphed chapter names for the print edition!

These chapter titles, tho. Gorgeous! Thank you @gabbiedeguzzie <3

— Carla de Guzman (@somemidnights) September 26, 2016

Step Five: Bonus items

I love that #romanceclass has its own branding identity and logos, and adding them to the print edition cover was obvious. But for the spine, I wanted something that wasn't white, as my other books have been. I turned to my blog for inspiration this time. I liked the idea of it tying up to my 'brand' (lol), so I used the same pale pink in the spine as my blog, with the same font for the title. It's a verrry minor detail, but hey, why not?

So that's it! Minus the technicalities, this was how I created the cover for my book!

A photo posted by Carla de Guzman (@somemidnights) on Oct 5, 2016 at 5:57am PDT

Get If The Dress Fits, on Amazon, Smashwords and print editions (available from the author!)

#FeelsRushIn at Trinoma

In case you missed it, this happened last Saturday.

We love telling the story of how we were asked to do this event only TEN DAYS BEFORE, and we were all like, yes, let's do this! Good to know that we can do this like this in 'emergencies.' I put myself in charge of the selling table again, which is always fun, if I didn't have to do math after, gah.

There were a lot of things going on at TriNoma on that day. There were youths literally running around and screaming, we didn't know what we were expecting, and our usual faves (wink wink) weren't there.

Thankfully, it didn't stop people from coming! We had a lot of people coming in and ready to donate books for Ayala's Little Free Library (donating got them free ebooks from us). Some passed by our selling booth to check out the list. Some questions included, 'what's going on here?' 'Are these ALL by Filipino authors?' 'Can I get these at bookstores?'

A photo posted by Jay E. Tria (@jayetria) on Jul 23, 2016 at 8:55am PDT

I love being able to explain what #romanceclass is to people, and of course, encourage them to stay for the readings. Even if they don't end up buying books, just the fact that they were brave enough to ask (as a social coward I feel them) is already a lot.

One of the downsides of being in the selling booth is that I am always facing away from the readings, and I don't really get to see the reactions and the facial expressions of the readers. But this time I made it a point to really turn round and look. I am SO glad that I did. Hearing a book is completely different from reading it, and we've learned that lesson here. The kilig factor of the actors saying certain lines in a different way from how you 'heard' it in your head is completely indescribable.

And yeah, if you happen to share the same name as the main character, it tends to make you crazy.

A video posted by Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) on Jul 26, 2016 at 2:16am PDT

Things You Miss When You Do Not Attend #romanceclass Events (continued) 3. Hanging out with the wonderful authors behind the wonderful books performed by the wonderful actors. And getting signed copies of said books right then and there too! #FeelsRushIn #books #filipinoauthors #vscocam #livereading #bookstagram

A photo posted by Jay E. Tria (@jayetria) on Jul 23, 2016 at 6:58pm PDT

The readers with the authors of the books they read! From L to R: CP Santi writer of 'When Cocoy Became Kikay', Ines Bautista Yao writer of 'Only A Kiss', Migs Almendras, a #romanceclass live reading newbie and book cover model (yes we're claiming him), Salve Villarosa, who read for #FeelsDay and runs her own book vlog, Cuckoo for Books, Mina V. Esguerra, mastermind and kilig-maker and writer of 'No Strings Attached', Chi Yu Rodriguez writer of 'The Bye Bye Bouquet' and Dawn Lanuza writer of 'What About Today.' I seriously recommend you check out all of these books, look up the readings and the podcasts, because feels abound, man.

Sad that you missed all of this fun? Don't worry! This was actually just 'practice' for a bigger event! We're planning another feels day extravaganza with more events, readers and a new titles for October! Stay tuned for the announcement!