Designing a cover for your book

af | nov 6, 2023

Writing a book is a long process. But it is nothing compared to designing a cover.

I spent half a year designing my first cover – including learning how to use Gimp

Gimp is a Free graphics tool. 

My first cover ended up looking like this and I was extremely happy about it.

It took me a helluvalotta time to colorize her heir. She was blond from the start.

I also had to carve out her gun and make it lighter and the D in Dirty business didn’t have a rock behind it so it kinda drowned in the glowing orange background.

The fonts are kind of flaming and I used RealDraw Pro to design them. It is a brilliant tool and it is priced at $25 so I bought it many years ago. 

It is a very simple tool not hard to learn.


After finishing this beautiful cover I threw it in several Facebook Cover Review Groups to get feedback. And people loved it! Lots of positive reviews. Not on single negative.

But the book didn’t sell.

So I studied the top 100 books in my genre and got quite a shock!

Apart from seeing my category contaminated with a lot of gay romance that didn’t belong, the books that genuinely was in my genre had an ugly and very boring cover.

What do I mean by contaminated? Well – Romance literature is THE BIG THING on amazon and almost all authors of Romance with a little suspense or a small thrill or some kind of action, put their books in the wrong categories hoping it will stand out.


It took me months to grasp the fact that my beautiful and well reviewed cover didn’t work at all!

I had to figure out what was going on.

It wasn’t easy!

I hated the fact that Ineeded to say goodbye to a beautiful cover and replace it with somthing ugly, boring with no passion!

I learned that Amazon readers are taught – programmed to expect certain things just from a quick glance at our covers.

And my cover didn’t express “Suspense” or “Thriller” – according to them.

I realized there is something called “User Expectation”.

When users see a dark cover (preferrably night) with a very small person running away from the camera or maybe a plane, a house or a crased car, their twisted, preprogrammed brains scream “YES! Here is the book I want”!

It is crazy but unfortunately true!

And I was sad.

I truly didn’t want that type of cover on my book!

This is the covers I planned to use on my first three boks. That dream has ship wrecked.

Debra Quincy - Lethal Business Book
Debra Quincy - Bloody Business Book
Debra Quincy - Dirty Business Book

But I was not ready to give up my beautiful home made cover, so I tried this one in stead. But of course it didn’t work either.

This was my next version. 

I noticed that covers in my genre use HUGE fonts so I hoped this would work.

It didn’t.

Debra Quincy - Dirty Business Book

I was still in love with my cover and hated the huge ugly block fonts, so I tried this one.

With the same result…


Debra Quincy - Dirty Business Book

Time went by (I wasted it!) and my mind slowly bent enough to try something new. Even I was on to something this didn’t work either. 

I tried to make it ugly and boring and I think I succeeded in that. 

But it wasn’t boring in the right way.

It still didn’t meet the User Expectations.



Debra Quincy - Dirty Business Book

This time I tried another approach. Didn’t want to think about my self as the fly who over time knocks it self unconscious by banging the head to the window over and over.

This is from

They DO make great covers but they are NOT familiar with genres so I really had to be specific and direct them in the right direction. And I didn’t with this one.


Debra Quincy - Dirty Business Book

At this point I was finally about to accept how covers in my niche should look like!

So I decided to create the best cover ever no matter if I liked it or not.

I ordered this very detailled. Colors, landscape, helo and fonts. At this point I knew what I wanted! So I told EXACTLY what I needed.

I planned to sell a million books, get rich and THEN go back to my original cover! As a famous author you gain some liberties! 

In my first version the helicopter was larger so I asked them to make it smaller.

And this is what I got.

For some reason they put the text “Justice is coming fast!” above my name.

I didn’t really knew if I wanted it there. Other authors in my niche had either nothing or a sentence saying “From award winning Author”.

And I wasn’t award winning. Not yet!


Dirty Business - Vigilante Justice

So far I am going with this cover. It matches the majority of covers in my genre so it should work. But I will just have to wait and see how it performs. 

I will be back with more info when I get some numbers from Amazon. 

Trinity Sisters Dirty Business Stop Trafficking

If you ever heard about Jack Reacher you should meet his sister!

Just like Jack, Debra is merciless in her pursuit of truth and justice. Both Jack and Debra are loners, but Deb needs to find her lost family. And being in the way of a determined woman proves fatal for mafias, trafficking rings and a few Government officials.

This is the story about Debra trying to find her sisters, one of them lost in trafficking. And there is a lot of cleaning to do. An Albanian trafficking ring, the Serbian mafia and even Fuckingham Palace are in danger when Deb goes hunting.

What They Say:

“The best book ever! I was very happy to have the honour of doing the preface!”

Dave Snyper
Dont Fuck With Daddy

As a former soldier I am impressed by Debra’s story. I read the entire book in 3 hours just to start all over an read it again!

Glenn Miller

I was mesmerized and properly educated. Dirty Business is the most capturing book I have read.


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