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Friday, January 13, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway with Majanka Verstraete, author of Mirror, Mirror

Hi, everyone!

I am pleased to participate in Majanka Verstraete's Mirror, Mirror Virtual Book Publicity Tour hosted by Enchanted Book Tours. 

About Majanka:

Majanka Verstraete is a twenty-one year old female from Belgium. She’s currently studying law at university. Her greatest passions in life are writing and reading. She especially enjoys writing books in the young adult genre, ranging from young adult horror novels to epic fantasy and paranormal romance. She has currently published two books, The Blood That Defines Us and Mirror, Mirror. She’s working on a collection of horror short stories, The Thirteenth Hour, which is due for release on June 1st 2012. Her current writing project is a paranormal romance series under the working title “The Angel of Death Series”. Volume one will be entitled “Soul Thief”.

You can visit Majanka's website at  

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Majanka!

Majanka has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.

Guest Post by Majanka Verstraete

Let me start by saying thank you to Darlene for hosting me on her blog today. I’m happy to be here! The topic I will talk about today is book covers. Regardless of what people say, book covers are what attracts us to a book initially. We see a book in the shelves of our local library or bookstore, we see what a gorgeous book cover it has, and before we very well realize it, we’re reading the book blurb and wondering what this book could be all about. Vibrant colors, gorgeous photographs, mysterious sceneries, large and colorful fonts, that’s what pulls us in. If, on the contrary, a book had a black cover with one line of white text on it, we wouldn’t buy it. We wouldn’t even bother to check the back cover and see what the book is all about.

Book covers need to be outstanding. They need to make people curious and interested enough to turn that book around and check the back cover. They have to grab people’s attention. Unfortunately we all know the self-published author symptom. By default, self-published books have the ugliest covers imaginable. A simple photograph pasted on a bland background with a generic font on top of it.

But this isn’t the way it has to be. Some authors easily overlook the importance of a book cover, determined that if their book is good enough, people will read it regardless. Part of that is true – if your name is J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien or Stephen King. If not, scratch that. You will need a book cover. More importantly, you will need a gorgeous book cover. And that’s where our two buddies, Google and Photoshop come in.

You can say all you want, but a good book cover can’t be made in Paint. For starters, Paint screws everything up and makes your pixels look nauseous. You will need Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro if you want to make a good book cover. There’s no way around it. And you can argue all you want that buying either one of those is probably going to cost you the same amount of money as hiring a designer to create your book covers, but that’s the harsh truth. The upside is that you’ll be able to make more than one book cover with Photoshop. But it is going to cost you money to purchase Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.

Unfortunately, that’s just the beginning. Search for stock images on Google. You’ll probably find a lot of beautiful stock images, but not all of them come for free. However, you don’t have to pay for stock images. If you continue searching, I’m sure you’ll find enough free stock images to create a beautiful book cover. But then, the fun is just getting started.

If you’ve written a book about a princess in a tower, and you found a picture of a tower and one of a princess, you’ll have to combine them into one fluid picture in Photoshop. If you want to add gorgeous, smooth colors, that’s going to require a lot of work as well. If you’re new to Photoshop, you will probably spend countless hours behind your computer looking at Photoshop Tutorials, and the result will only be half-way decent. It’s more likely than not that you’ll have to start from scratch all over again, and you’ll only get it good on your third try. Don’t forget that you’ll have to download custom fonts as well (no worries though, these are free), because there is nothing more appalling than Times New Roman on a book cover.

For my book cover, I used free stock images I found all over the internet. My first search was for a mirror of course, but not just any mirror. An antique mirror with little angels on top of it. When I was done picking images and combining them into what I thought was an appealing book cover – certainly something I would like to read – I went looking for fonts. It’s also important to keep the genre of your book in mind. My genre is supernatural horror, so I chose dark colors, black in green. For my previous book, I chose tints of grey, because it also focused a lot on tragedy next to the horror elements. As my last book, The Blood That Defines Us was about ghosts, I chose to include both a closer view of the narrator and the picture of a ghost on the book cover. For Mirror, Mirror, naturally I chose a mirror. I’m currently working on another writing project about angels. It’s a paranormal romance called Soul Thief. That cover features different shades of blue, the picture of a girl with a long, flowing dress and the gates to heaven.

What I’m trying to say is that, although it may seem difficult and hard at first, making your own book cover, and making sure that it’s a good-looking book cover as well, is a must for all authors, even self-published ones. The tools are out there, but unfortunately they might cost you some money and time. If you want to focus on writing instead of creating book covers, you will have to contact a designer to make the book cover for you.

What do you like about certain covers? If you were an author, would you hire someone to make a book cover for you or do it yourself? If you are an author, do you make your own book covers? If so, what do you think is important in a book cover?

Thanks so much for joining us today, Majanka! 


Three lucky winners will win e-book copies of Mirror, Mirror.

This giveaway is open internationally.


Piper is nearly as obsessed with antiquities and century-old houses as her mother is. It's no surprise that she immediately falls in love with the old mirror she discovers on the attic of their new home. Despite the warnings of her best friend Alison, who senses something isn't quite right about Piper's newest discovery, she puts the mirror in her bedroom.

Tormented by nightmares and haunted by eerie voices in the middle of the night, Piper realizes she has made a terrible mistake. But is it really the fault of that antique mirror, or is her imagination playing tricks on her? Maybe the truth is even more terrifying...

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide until 12:01 AM EST on January 20, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants

December 21st:
Review and Giveaway @

December 26th:
Interview and Giveaway @

January 8th:

January 9th: 

January 11th: 

January 13th: 
Guest Post and Giveaway @

January 15th: 

January 17th: 

January 20th: 

January 22th: 


  1. i like covers. they are really important, because i only pick up those books that have something that attracts me on their cover. that can be everything though XD i mostly like darker colours - not those bubble-gum covers. and i don't like seeing real people's faces on the cover - because that just destroys for me my imagination of the characters in the book. the cover of mirror mirror is nice - dark colours and the mirror - it sets the atmosphere of the book and i like that ^^

  2. I actually like covers like the one for Mirror Mirror, what I don't like are ones that are a close up of a persons face, or two people kissing. I also like them to be darker themed.

    If I was an author I would probably make a book cover myself, but if someone were to make one as an example that I really liked, I might like that too, as long as my input is there.

    Thank you for the oppertunity to win this book, it really sounds like a book I would enjoy.


    I think that it's important to keep the cover simple and easy to read, also to have something eye catching so it will attract readers.

  3. I am a Cover person. I know most authors do not have much to do with their covers, but I would like to be able to see my cover before it was set in stone. I know their are people who are better than I am at this process. I love a cover that catches your attention the minute you glance at the book.


  4. I think covers are second to the blurb on the back. I tend to buy my books based on reviews that I have read. I don't really go to the book store to just browse. I am getting a bit tired of the beautiful girl in the mist I like something diff like the leg on the cover of Cinder.

  5. Interesting discussion about covers. You're right! The cover is what attracts us at first.

    I like covers with the characters and related to the story objects on them. Depending on the nature of the book if I like clear or brushed backgrounds.

    Thanks for the post!

  6. I think a good cover is what makes a reader pick up one book of the thousands on the shelves! If I were an author I'd want to have a major say in the cover of my book. Sometimes while you're reading a book, you look at the cover and wonder if the cover artist even bothered reading the book! But, other times, the cover art is PERFECT for the book and it's magic!

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com

  7. I so agree with what you said. I love covers and a nice cover definitely catches my attention more than one that's bland. I realize that it's not good to "judge a book by it's cover" because you could miss out on a great story but I do think authors need to take into consideration that cover art is important none-the-less.

    I'm not an author but if I were I would definitely make my own covers because I love making graphics and working with Photoshop.

    One thing that I don't really like about covers is when you have a cover that features a person on it, most often that person represents one of the main characters. Well, when that is the case I think the person should resemble the character as much as possible. For instance ... let's say your story is about a woman with red hair. Have a woman on the cover with red hair. Don't have a woman with brown or blonde hair. That just doesn't make sense to me. The cover should represent the character(s)/story and I think you've done just that with Mirror, Mirror!

    Didn't mean to make my post so long. LOL I'll just say one more thing ... Mirror, Mirror sounds really interesting! :)


  8. Hi! Thanks for this giveaway! This book sounds awesome!
    What do you like about certain covers? If you were an author, would you hire someone to make a book cover for you or do it yourself?
    I love stunning cover with bright colors and mysterious images or pictures! And if I were an author I will surely hire an artist cover because I can't draw! LOL Thanks


  9. I think every author has an idea of the cover they want, it just depends on their ability to create it on their own whether they hire someone or not.

  10. Honestly, in most circumstances, I take or leave a cover. While they make make me pause and pick up a book, the blurb and bloggers reviews and comments are what make me plunk down my money. If I was an author I'd want a lot of input on the cover and I hear that doesn't happen a lot of the time.
    I read books that were totally awesome that had horrendous covers and have read horrendous books that had beautiful covers that I was always looking at and stroking. I think a cover is like the outside of a person, not a clear indication of what's inside the person.

  11. What do you like about certain covers?
    This is really up to the individual. Some are more artist in graphics and the arts. While others are artist with words. If an author was both I'd say the author should make their own cover. They know the story they wrote and what is a fitting cover for it. A great cover grabs my attention with this is a book I must read. If the cover is already grabbing my attention before I read about it that's an awesome start. The graphic, colors and layout has to be done properly for it to be an awesome cover. It's sad but some covers are horrible and turn-me off most of the time. I'm not the only one with that opinion.
    DeAnna Schultz

  12. What do you like about certain covers? I like covers that are eye catching and have a splash of color.

    If you were an author, would you hire someone to make a book cover for you or do it yourself? I would try to do a cover myself. Possible with the 2nd printing of the book i would hire someone to make my cover if i thought that a change in cover would increase sales.

  13. I love covers that are of places or objects. I think colors should jump out at you and fonts should be easy to read. I dislike covers with people on them. (faces especially) I think it is insulting to the reader to imply you must show them how the character looks- as if our imagination cannot figure it out. Also if the description of the character doesn't match the model on the cover, it can ruin a book for me:)

  14. I am always drawn to books with covers that catch my eye. I love interesting and or intricate covers preferably without real people on them. I would hire an artist to help me with my covers.

  15. I have to admit that a cover will draw me in faster than a title, some times anyhow. I look for elements that are obvious it will be a genre I like, something scary or creepy, something with dark colors, something with paranormal images, those kind of things. I think if you designn it yourself it's awesome cause you know the book best, but I would never hold it against someone for having a professional do it for them.

  16. I have been so looking forward to reading this book, but really can't afford to buy it. Would love to win a copy because I know I want to read it. Can't wait to hear more.

  17. The cover is what draws people into the book. If you have an eye catching cover, you will get people to pick up the book. I always looks for covers that resemble the story. I hate when you have this awesome cover that has absolutely nothing to do with the story.

    Having the cover made is a hard choice. I have seen both sides of this one. I have seen professional people that have made a disaster of a cover and do it yourself covers that are horrid. I think no matter what way to make a cover, you need several peoples opinions on if it is a good cover or not.

    Thank you for the giveaway! jbronderblogs at aol dot com

  18. of course the cover is so important.first you see the cover than you turn the book to read what the story is the colour,the relationship between the cover and the story are important for the reader.
    thanks for this beautiful giveaway(:

  19. I know by some it is considered shallow, but covers are very important to me. They will draw me in and cause me to take the time to actually read a synopsis and see if it is something I might like. I think if you are an artist why should you not share your gift with the cover of your book, but it is also important for marketing purposes to be open to the fact that art as well as the enjoyment of a story are very subjective and have a thick skin. LOL thank you for sharing with us today and for the lovely gieaway opportunity. BTW, I love the cover of Mirror, Mirror :)

  20. I'm not sure what I like about some covers specifically but I do know that I don't like washed out colors, covers that don't make any since even after I read the book, or covers that look amateurish. If I were an author I would probably hire someone to make the cover for my book rather than try to make something myself since I have no aesthetic talent. I would want complete control of what goes on my cover and be able to see many proofs before I gave my go ahead though! :)

    Thanks so much for the giveaway! :)


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