Desperate times call for desperate measures.



A couple of days ago I posted that I had run into problems with my e-book covers and that I thought that I might/should seek some professional help (for the covers, not for me).

I looked through a couple of years of entries in the monthly e-book cover design awards on the website (a great resource) and found a couple of artists that impressed me with their work.

I tracked down their websites and gave them the once over. And I’ve settled on someone to approach. His artwork is really good, he has good testimonials on his website and his prices are quite reasonable, especially when compared with the competition. £100 a cover. I want three.

In line with keeping a record of my foray into self-publishing I’m including a copy of the letter that I’ve sent to him today. (I haven’t got anything else to report and it is all relevant).

His name is Kit Foster. He is based in Scotland and his web address is

Hello Kit,

I have written three novels that I am going to self-publish as e-books. Not wanting to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar I think that I need, and would benefit from, professional help with the e-book covers. I’ve done some research. I really like your work. I hope that we might work together to our mutual benefit.

I’m approaching you after reviewing a couple of years of entries in the e-book cover design awards on Just for your information, regarding any designs that you might undertake for me, I generally agree with every comment Joel Friedlander makes, which is good because he obviously likes your covers.

My books are the first three in a police detective series. I shall be writing more. They are set in Dover, Kent in the present day. The series is pretty formulaic in that each book involves the two main characters from the local police force, solving crimes that the town throws up. The two main characters’ names are Detective Inspector Romney (male) and Detective Sergeant Marsh (female).

I’m looking for a striking design that can be used as a common theme throughout these books and others that will follow. I want my books to be visually instantly recognisable as a series with certain common features. I want a brand. To this end, I would like to incorporate on the cover, as well as title and author’s name, a phrase something like ‘ The First Romney and Marsh File’ The Second Romney and Marsh File’ and, obviously, ‘The Third Romney and Marsh File’. I’m not sure if this should be done in a novel, logo-type – maybe something like a rubber stamp imprint? – way or would be better as a simple sentence.

I hope that I’m writing in the crime/police procedural-with-an-element-of-thriller genre. If I’m not, I’m screwed.

My target audience is readers of contemporary police detective novels set in the UK; who expect to be kept guessing to (just about) the end and who don’t expect either regular graphic scenes of brutality and violence and the text peppered with bad language, or little old ladies in surgical stockings solving crime. I don’t mind blood and guts and swearing but there’s not too much of it in my books.

I don’t know whether I want the covers to specifically reflect the town. I don’t know if that’s necessary. My personal opinion of Dover that I’m writing the books through is that it has some wonderful historic and geographical features going for it, but that as it is today it is tawdry and neglected with a dark underside and peopled by, not exactly low-life, more unsavoury elements.

I don’t want clearly definable images of people’s faces on the cover (see Martina Cole novels) but I don’t think that that is your style anyway. I’m not looking for a quaint English village feel either (see Agatha Raisin books). I want something gritty and implying darker elements of society portrayed in a simple effective way.

I need e-book covers for these three titles that, specifically, Amazon will accept for uploading as a Kindle e-book. I’m sure that you will know these specifications better than I do.

I would like the books to have a strong contemporary feel and strong typography. I’m not necessarily looking for something visually suggestive of the location. If you think that’s best then fine; I’m not averse to it either. I like simple and striking and uncluttered and clever and memorable and subtle and effective. Who doesn’t?

Anyway, assuming that you’re interested in doing the covers here is some detail. If you want more please ask.


I have no publisher logo to consider.

Probably of no significance to the design process, but I’ll include it anyway, is the fact that I come from a place just down the coast from Dover called Romney Marsh. Hence the sir names of the two main characters.

Having just read through all of this I would like to add that as the titles of the books are revealed as being very relevant and suggestive of the overall main storyline for each novel I would like the cover artwork to be a visual suggestion of the titles as much as anything else.

I do hope that all this makes sense to you.

If you require any content from the books I can send it to you.

I would appreciate you letting me know whether you’re interested in the commission and if you are your initial thoughts and price.

Have a good weekend.

Oliver Tidy

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