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  • Writer's pictureShelly Campbell

A Cover: from Concept to Finished Product

Hey folks,

I'm still coming off the excited high of seeing my final cover art for GULF and figured I'd share what the process looked like from my end. I've always been fascinated by good cover art and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into it because is an entirely different form of artwork than the sort I like to tackle. It takes special talent to strike the subtle balance between creativity and knowledge of marketing for individual genres (I have no idea what fonts sell horror or high fantasy, only a vague sense that Papyrus is forbidden). Book covers have to sell your story in an instant, look striking as a tiny thumbnail image and a full-sized cover, and set your work apart while still being recognizable within your genre. A good cover artist is worth their weight in gold.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that renowned author and cover artist Kealan Patrick Burke was designing the cover for GULF! If you haven't checked out his gallery of fantastic cover art yet, you need to fix that. You can peruse some of his gorgeous horror covers at Elderlemon Design.

Depending on the publisher, authors often don't get a lot of input on their cover art. Luckily, the folks at Silver Shamrock Publishing were gracious enough to ask me what I had envisioned for GULF's cover. Since the story involves a lake and mirror dimensions, I'd always pictured a spooky tree with a reflection that wasn't quite right, a monster beneath the waves sort of thing and I'd used this free stock image as a temporary place holder for GULF's cover on my website:

That, folks, is the extent of my cover designing abilities! Since GULF is a quiet horror, I liked the idea of mist and a toned down colour scheme with just a pop of red. I passed all this on and this is what Kealan came up with:

Isn't it incredible? I can't stop staring at it! I love how the tree looks like it's stalking David. The marshy water, the closing fog, it's all so atmospheric. The whole scene looks ominous in a quiet, lonely way which is exactly what GULF is all about. I couldn't be happier with it.

If you'd like to get your hands on my quiet horror story wrapped up in this gorgeous cover, the e-book is available to pre-order now on and The paperback will be out in the next few months. I can't wait to share David's world with you all :)

Feed Your Imagination

Shelly Campbell

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