Designing a book cover for JOURNEY: Book Two of From The Sky: an alien invasion series

You can see how I designed the cover for ARRIVAL, and the rejected cover options, by clicking here.

I enjoyed writing that piece so much, and received such great feedback, that I thought I’d share with you all some of the rejected cover options for the second book in my alien invasion series, Journey: Book Two of From The Sky.

book-2-journeybook-2-altAs I said in the previous piece, I toyed with the idea of going with a retro flavour for the whole series. If I had, then the cover on the left would have been the cover for JOURNEY.

It had a pulpy feel that I loved – like one of those 1950’s scifi posters.

This was designed at the same time I designed the cover on the right, and if you’ve looked at the piece describing how I designed the cover for ARRIVAL, you’ll have seen a cover that was very similar. I was trying to ‘brand’ the covers (something that I have ended up doing, but much more successfully, I hope you’ll agree!). On the similar ARRIVAL cover, there was one UFO in the sky. As you can see on the right, there were two in the sky. It was a subtle attempt to reflect that this was the second book in the series: Book One = One UFO, Book Two = Two UFOs. I bet you can guess what the third cover would have looked like!


The next attempt, again done at a time when I had very little experience using GIMP, was the image on the left.

I adore this photograph. I saw this on another website when I was in the early stages of writing the draft of the novel, and I hunted all over the internet to find out who owned the copyright.

Eventually I decided against pursuing it, as I couldn’t find the copyright holder to buy the right to use it. Man, I still love that image though. It would have been perfect!

In any case, I’d have ended up tinkering with it so much that I probably would have spoiled it, so maybe it’s for the best that I couldn’t use it!

Also, no matter how much I loved the image, it didn’t really yell science fiction, alien invasion, peril, fear, the unknown. So it was back to the drawing board!

The idea of having a long open road was cemented in my mind now. After all, JOURNEY is just that: a journey. The characters are fleeing from invading UFOs, through California. They’re looking for survivors and trying to figure out what’s going on and what the aliens want, and all the time they feel tiny in this massive landscape: a landscape that is eerily desertedfts-book-two-possible-final.

I found the image on the right on Pixabay – a beautiful California shot, showing a long, straight road, and those beautiful misty blue mountains in the background.

I was still fixated on the Chiller font. This was still the early days of my design ‘career’.

Doesn’t it show?

As beautiful as the image is, my crude attempts at getting the titles and my name to look right were pretty woeful.

As were the UFOs I managed to throw onto the image (yes, I added those, they aren’t genuine UFOs hovering over the California mountains!). Although, actually, I quite like those UFOs. I admit it! So shoot me! Haha!

but no, it was still all wrong, and so the cover designing was put on the back burner, while I concentrated on the creative process. No point designing (not very good) covers, if I had no books to put them on, right?

I carried on writing, and editing, and editing, and editing – writing the novel is the easy bit…it’s the editing part that takes all the time.

I still tried to make covers, looking for the right image, trying out different things. Here are two other attempts.fts-bk-2-b
fts-bk-2As I wrote and edited, I made a hobby of learning how to use GIMP, and I got pretty good (see the other article, link at top). Not good by professional standards, but good enough that I could turn cracked roads into cracked skies, and adjust colours and all the other things I covered in that other piece.I was wondering how best to brand the books so they were identifiable as being part of a series.

The covers left and right are basically the same, except for the colour of the ‘JOURNEY’ and the logo style, and the colour of the sky.

I liked the blue sky – still do – but I tried it with the same colour sky as the ARRIVAL cover, for the purposes of branding.

The image that made up the bottom part of the cover was too uninteresting though, I’m sure you’ll agree. It was meant to be a thick forest that symbolised the difficulty of the journey the characters were to embark upon.fts-book-2-final-cover-b

It still makes me yawn to look at it now!

The observant among you will notice that the text used for my name isn’t the same as the ARRIVAL cover – I was still to decide on League Gothic at that point!journey-cover-with-highway



Posted in Alien invasion, ARRIVAL, Best science fiction books for Kindle, Cover design, David McGowan, Extraterrestrial contact, From the Sky, Gripping science fiction, Sci-fi, Science fiction, Science fiction trilogy, UFO fiction