When I first began self-publishing my book serial, I really had no clue what I was doing when it came to anything past writing my story. These past few years have been a real learning experience as I have released more books in my saga and connected with others who have been at this much longer than I.
One thing that I started doing, all be it kind of late in the game, is having cover reveals for my books. The first book I did a reveal for was slated to be part five, Into the West: Last showdown as you will see here in this first cover reveal video. However, as I was finishing up that book I realized it was twice the size of all of the other books in the Into the West Saga Serial and I still had three chapters to go. I decided to split that book up into two books. Into the West: To Save Them All was added and Into the West: Last Showdown is now set to be released September 2021 with the same cover you see here.
It is rather funny that in this video I talk about how things change as I write my stories. The characters really do keep me on my toes and they are ultimately the ones in charge of how this story play out. Keep watching here for more cover reveals coming in the future.
Past and Current Covers
Into the West: The Orphan Train
When I originally began the Into the West Saga Serial, I wanted to use historical photos like you see on these original covers. The feed back I got was that people did not think these were fiction books.
When people saw these covers, the assumed from the photo art that they were actual history books and many said they would jut pass them over because of that perception. Because of this I decided to redesign the first two book covers as I created the cover for part three in the saga.
When I changed the cover, I also took the opportunity to have the book reedited. Originally, I and two other people edited the book. However, none of of were professional book editors, many mistakes made it through and were published. When I reissued this book, it was the same text, but with fewer typos.
When I started to play with ideas for the cover redesign, I looked at a lot of classic western covers. I wasn't a fan of the full "painting" style of artwork for my covers. My stories are historical fiction, not just straight fiction, I spend a lot of time researching the history of the time period my books are set in, so I wanted something that brought some of that realism to the cover, but also
would make it easy to see that these books were all part of a serial.
I decided to mimic the style used for many of Louis L'Amour books.
They use a solid colored background and a smaller inset photo.
While he does use the "painting" style for his image art, I liked the
overall layout and used it as the basis for my cover designs.
In 2019, I decided to be brave and entered my first book, Into the West: The Orphan Train, into a writing competition with TopShelf Literary magazine. I was beyond shocked when it was named a finalist for that year. Later, I received a notice that it was so well liked by the judges, it was named a nominee in their 2020 competition. I was more than pleasantly surprised by this outcome. It was the first writing competition I had ever entered.
I felt it would help bring more readers to my saga serial if they knew it was actually an award winner. This was the third cover change and to be honest I have been contemplating changing out the cover photo. However, right now my focus is on finishing writing the serial. Any further cover art changes will come when I start work on the audiobooks which I hope will begin next year.
Into the West: A New Home
In 2016, I published the second book in the Into the West Saga Serial, Into the West: A New Home. The cover art photo was actually three different historical photos from Kansas that I photo shopped together to make this one image. This was a great representation of the home I have in mind when I talk about the Ruth's home in the later books.
This really seemed to capture to idea I envisioned for the family. I pictured them having a rather large home but a very simple, functional design. When I decided to make the change to the new cover art, I searched or a long time to find something in color that would would for what I had in mind. I was not able to find anything that gave me these kinds of images of the mother working with the live stock while the children and the dog look on.
I have since found some wonderful, color, publicity photos for sale online of children in period clothes. I think I might be able to piece together a decent color replica now.
Into the West: A New Home - Special Edition
In 2016, I also published what was originally going to be a "Limited Edtion" of the second book in the Into the West Saga Serial, Into the West: A New Home. This book contained the first and second books of the Into the West Saga Serial in one volume. The original cover art was the same as the regular edition of this title but with the edition of the book but with a red boarder and a starburst shape with the words Limited Edition in it. When I redesigned the second issue cover, I again kept the covers the same except for one simple addition, a small banner graphic with the words Special Edition in it.
I had always planned to create a single paperback with all of the Into the West Saga Serial books in it when the saga was finish. That is until I created this Special Edition and saw how much I would have to sell it for with just the two book in one volume.
I knew after seeing how much I had to sell the Special Edition for, the price for a single book with all of the parts of the Into the West Saga Serial would be ridiculous. I realized that the only way I would ever be able to release them all together would be as an ebook. I am still considering that but for now, Into the West: A New Home - Special Edition will remain the only combination book.