One part of launching the new Sunset Chronicles serial that’s great fun is that I’ve got a load of new covers to design. I got really into digital art and cover design a few years ago when I redid the covers to my first series, and I’d say I almost spend as much time these days in Photoshop as I do in Scrivener. So I won’t pretend that part of the decision to split 9 books into 45 wasn’t partly informed by a curiosity as to what kind of things I could do with a canvas that big.
I find it pretty helpful in terms of procrastination avoidance to have two completely different artistic addictions. If I find myself procrastinating over my word count, for example, I can open up a cover design and pootle about on it and not feel like I’m working, because I’m not doing the thing I’m supposed to be doing. But since I’m still making something, the time isn’t as lost as if I, say, spend the time doomscrolling.
When I thought of the Sunset Chronicles as a serial, I had to have a think about the covers I wanted to make for them. The great thing about writing serialised fiction is that it’s kind of like a bag of popcorn, consumable, disposable. It’s like the old pulp novels which had so much serialisation in them, anyway. So I really liked the idea of making covers that evoked that old style. Except, these are futuristic books, set a hundred years in the future. There’re elements of everything from alien horror to cyberpunk dystopia in there, alongside more traditional sci-fi elements and old-school thriller and murder mystery elements. So how the hell do you try to convey that in a cover?
The first thing I made was a standard template which includes a series logo, and a header that tells people exactly where they are in the series.
Obviously, there are nods in the design here to horror books of the 1980’s, but this kind of design has also been used more recently on a Netflix show that shall not be named. But this design style is kind of exactly where I want the series to be. I want to invoke the nostalgia of how I used to read things as a kid, but then look beyond that.
Once I had the series iconography, I set about playing. I now have nearly a dozen of these covers in various states of completion, but the first three covers are now out in the wild. Check them out.
Each one conveys a distinct element of the first series, and with the final two covers in the first season we’ll see little bits more of the world. Each one complements the episode itself, but also (I hope) is a cool little keepsake of its own, something that’ll look great on your digital bookshelf.
All three books are now available to preorder. Last Light will be available on March 15th, with each new book coming a month later.
check out the books and preorder now
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