Guest Post-Valerie Bellamy, Cover Design Expert

The old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, as an indie, one of the great perks is if something isn’t working, YOU CAN FIX IT. That includes covers. Your cover is the first thing your potential reader sees, even before they read the blurb or the sample. If you can catch their eye with a stunning cover, you’ve won half the battle.

Here Valerie Bellamy, an amazing cover designer, gives you her expert advice on covers. Thanks for appearing here, Valerie, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! *MUAHS*

If your cover’s broke – fix it! (It’s ok, you’re allowed.)

Not only has the amazingly talented and editing goddess Annetta Ribken allowed me to guest post on her blog as my birthday present (which is today, Feb 26th – Happy Birthday to me!), but she’s also graciously allowed me to make an example out of her. Thank you Netta!

True story… I met and worked with Netta first on a cover redesign for Athena’s Promise (which I still consider one of my best covers). During our brief, she told me this was a replacement for her first cover, which she really didn’t like. More troubling, she was hesitant promoting the cover because she didn’t feel it accurately reflected the genre or the subject matter. I was convinced she was losing possible sales because of it.

Here’s that first cover:


Here’s the amazing thing about e-books and print-on-demand… we now have the flexibility to change… no more having to sell all the thousands of books you had to print and pay for up front. Covers and other things can be changed whenever the author or publisher deems it necessary. Remember to confirm possible extra charges when replacing files, as the e-tailer or POD printer may have to re-process files before your product can be updated.

So Netta briefed me to design the new cover for Athena’s Promise. I knew where the majority of her sales were going to come from (e-book), so I approached the design as an e-book cover, always keeping the thumbnail of the cover top of mind.

The brick graffiti wall popped into my head as soon as we starting talking about the book. I did some research into Greek Mythology to prep for this project, and knew I wanted some of the prominent symbols from Greek Mythology (especially the ones related to Athena) in there, but with a modern spin. I had the “ah-ha” moment when I removed most of these symbols and focused on the owl eyes only.

Netta and her trusted advisors came up with the easter-egg idea, which I thought was brilliant. Can you find them all?

With a couple of rounds of revisions, here’s the finished cover:


Netta seems quite happy with this one.

I am EXTREMELY happy with this one. It really reflects the genre and I love all the easter eggs Valerie incorporated into the cover. Brilliant. Thank you so much, Valerie!

Valerie Bellamy_RGB 1000px 72dpi
photo credit:

The official bio reads “Valerie has worked for over twenty years as a graphic designer, production artist, print buyer, and production and project manager in printing and advertising/marketing.”

Translation: Valerie has spent twenty years on-the-job training with some of the most awesome and creative advertising, marketing and printing professionals in Canada. Valerie’s passion for great design, branding and books gets all rolled into one package….professional cover and interior layouts for indie authors and small presses/publishers.

Valerie feels blessed to live on the breath-taking east coast of Canada, just steps away from the ocean, with her incredibly patient and supportive husband.

Connect with Valerie
Valerie’s web site
DogEar Book Design on Facebook
About Valerie


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