I have written a few books now, and they are a little all over the dial when it comes to genre. I have written sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, and I’m working on another in a genre best described as Stranger Things-ish. The various series all have different looking covers, and my name is usually written quite small. Today I have been thinking that this might be a mistake. I have decided that I should make more of a “brand” for myself as an author, and that means that my books shouldn’t all look so different. Instead, I’ve decided to make my books look more homogeneous.

I’ve started this process of “branding” my books with the first fantasy book in The Dragons of Westermere series, a book called The Pet Dragon. The new cover keeps the art of a dragon in a cave, but changes the font used for the title. I’m replacing the previous version with the font I have used on the covers of all my sci-fi books, which is Orthodox Herbertarian, the same font used on the cover of the Dune books by Frank Herbert.

Orthodox Herbertarian was painstakingly traced by a dedicated Dune fan from scans of the typeface that was used on the American Ace Edition of Dune. It was also used on many other Frank Herbert books, such as Whipping Star and The Jesus Incident, and it saw service for around a decade, from the early 70s through to the early 80s. Nobody knows what the font is called or who made it. It is likely that it is not a specific typeface but something done in house by the publisher – this fits with the fact that there are non-standard elements that vary from book to book (2 different As for example). The most likely candidate for its original creator is a man called Jeremiah B. Lighter who designed the Dune Encyclopedia and went on to work as a typographer.

On the covers of my sci-fi books, the title has a blue line above and below, so I have done this on the cover of The Pet Dragon, too. While changing the font for the tiles, I have also made my name bigger on the cover of the book. The idea behind this is that my name is my brand, as an author, and that is why this blog is called simply BrettFitzpatrick.com. I quite like the results of the redesign of the cover, and I think it works well for a fantasy ebook.

In fact, according to an article on The Book Smugglers about fantasy book covers, Orbit – one of the major fantasy publishers in the UK – conducted a survey examining cover art for fantasy novels published in 2008. It included books by all the big publishers in the genre, and the results point to a staggering preponderance of certain elements, including swords and glowing magic. Dragons come in at number four in much-used cover images, so The Pet Dragon is in good company here.

Covers are often the strongest, most influential selling point for a book. They have to draw a customer in, while giving hints about the style, genre, and subject matter of the book. People buy what they know they already like, so the cover has to reassure them that this is what the book is going to give them. The problem with this approach, of course, is that the books become indistinguishable from one another. They look like just another fantasy novel without any originality whatsoever.

I think my slightly unusual, old-school cover font might help differentiate the book a little from all the other books with dragons on the cover. The cover signifies to consumers that it is a fantasy novel, giving a feel of familiarity but also a tiny, tiny bit of originality. The cover is a marketing tool and serves a very important purpose as the commercial representation for the book. Yet it must be both artistic and commercial, where one does not preclude the other. Any cover has to succeed both as a lovely piece of art, and a powerful tool to get the book into the hands of readers. It takes a lot of work, and this is my third attempt at a cover for this book. I’m almost certain that it won’t be my last.

The Pet Dragon

Start Reading The Dragons of Westermere Trilogy

The Dragons of Westermere Series tells the story of three young women. We follow their adventures as they become more powerful – in politics, magic, lore and battle – and as they find love, make friends and alliances, and discover how their fates are intertwined. They all three have a bond with dragons, but each dragon is different, reflecting the character of the owner and their relationship. They must somehow find a way to put aside their rivalries and differences, in order to overcome a huge threat to their fantasy world. Click the book cover and go to the storefront you prefer to buy it now, or follow this link.

In the first book of the series, The Pet Dragon, a young elven girl named Willowtide lives in a peaceful elven city, deep in the forest heart of a fantasy world where dragons fly in the skies and danger stalks the land. But her life changes when destiny sends her on a journey to save and befriend a dragon, a journey that has huge and unforeseen consequences for her, her friends, and the entire known world.

The troglodytes below the peaceful kingdoms of the known world are stirring again, hungry to rekindle ancient enmity between human, elf, dwarf, and halfling. If their machinations succeed and war returns, the ancient troglodyte king will be able once more to return to the surface, and start a war of conquest that will change everything. The evil, inhuman king’s plans are finally underway, after centuries of preparation, and a chain of events has been set in motion that will unleash a storm of bloodshed across the dwarven mountains, elven forests, human cities, and even the farms of the halflings.