Rainbow School Books

Guest Post: Julie Day

In the autumn of 2016, Independent Author Julie Day approached me to design a delightful young fiction series for her, called Rainbow School. The series is particularly significant to Julie because it is based on her own experiences with Aspergers and covers friendship, school, and the difficulties a child with Asperger’s faces, with a positive approach designed to help readers to understand the disorder better. 

My experience with working with Rachel Lawston has been fantastic and educational so far. Because we both live in London, we can meet up now and then. At one of our first meetings, Rachel took me to a bookstore and showed me several children's books so I could find out what style I wanted, how I wanted my characters to appear on the covers, choose colours and see what was popular. As I read children's books already, I had some idea of colours. From that, we chatted about what we saw and what I felt I wanted. That was for the first book in my series The Rainbow School, Billy and the Sparkling Socks.

As I write each book, we try to meet up somewhere, have lunch or dinner, and discuss how I want the next cover to look. I always sketch my ideas (sketch is the right word), so I can show Rachel how I want them to appear. 

In our latest meet up, Rachel showed me how she had branded my books with each title. I didn't know this, so this was interesting to me. I had been reading about branding and was curious to know more. Rachel also helped me work out branding and ideas for covers for a series of short ghost stories I have in mind, by showing me what she had done for another indie author who writes paranormal. Her guidance has helped me work out what I want the covers to look like for that series as well as another series I have written and want to rebrand. 

If you have the chance to work with Rachel, do so. She is such a helpful, encouraging and friendly person. 

Here are Julie's tips for Independent Authors:

1. If you can meet up with your illustrator/designer, do so.
2. If not, pop into a bookstore and check out covers on books for your genre.
3. If you can't do this, then look online, e.g., Amazon and Waterstones. 
4. Look at book covers you feel work. Don't look at individual images on stock image sites.
5. Sketch out what you think your cover could be.
6. Consider brand. How you want that to work. Book title, series title, author name, pictures, and sparkles.
7. Then give this whole brief to your designer/illustrator.