GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ YA Author Kristen Illarmo: Who designed your book covers? + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

YA Author Kristen Illarmo: Who designed your book covers? + giveaway

Who designed your book covers?
Artist Rebecca Rebouch√© designed the cover for Without A World. She had not done book covers before, but she loved the project and wanted to be a part of it. It took her about 30 hours to produce the cover. The Without A World font is hand-painted by her! It is not common for a cover artist to read the book, which makes perfect sense, but Rebecca asked to read an early version of the project. She used inspiration from reading the book to compose the cover from some of her other works. That makes the design even more special for me. She enjoyed the experience, but her true love is painting, so she doesn’t expect to do any more book covers. That meant I needed to find someone else to design the cover for the prequel, Behind the Red Door.

Writers should write, not spend hours on Canva
(Guilty). I did a few (boring and bland) mock-ups myself and decided I should be writing instead—time to hire someone. I checked out Fiverr first but was overwhelmed by the range of prices (which I conflate with the range of quality for the finished product, for better or worse). Next, I scrolled over to my trusted source for editors: Reedsy. I have no doubt that the designers on Reedsy would have knocked it out of the park, but this is a 9,000-word prequel and the quotes came back between $450 US and 1,600 Euros, and that my friends, is out of the budget for this project.

Author groups are good for recommendations
I chose 100 Covers to produce the cover for the prequel to Without A World after randomly asking Twitter designers (not recommended) and then getting fired as a client from a potential designer on Fiverr. (I left her hanging while I was hoping for good things from the Twitter contact. Good things did not come, and when I came back she politely let me know she was busy). So I had to find something else. I was not confident in my ability to communicate the kind of design I needed or choose a designer who could produce work I would like. So, I was happy when someone in a Facebook author group recommended 100 Covers because I would never meet the designer (I was totally down with this), I could get unlimited revisions, and it was $100. So yeah, I was in.

Devil is in (conveying your own) details
As I said, I was feeling shaky about my ability to communicate my hopes for the design, so I was happy when I got to the 100 Covers (very detailed) questionnaire. It asks questions aimed at prying the critical information out of the author. It asks for the blurb or overview, of course, but it also asks you to describe the characters, send links to two bestselling covers that you like, and much more. You can read more about the questionnaire here []

The site does an excellent job of setting expectations, so I knew I would have to wait for one to two weeks before I got the first proof. Eight days later, they delivered two (!) similar and complete designs. I was so happy that I liked them both! I asked my crew for opinions, and they were (mostly) drawn to the one that pulled me in a bit more.

So, I ended up with a design that I was very happy with about two weeks after first finding the site.

Finished product!

Without a World (Kirasu Rising Book 1)
by Kristen Illarmo
Oct 12, 2021
Genre: YA Science Fiction
A dying planet. A mythical new world.

Miranda struggles through each day in the Trash Lands, scraping for food and water, wishing she could blend into the sea of ash. The best part of her day is working a meaningless job in a place where people pretend she doesn’t exist.

Dismayed to learn her mother was right, Earth will get sucked into a black hole, Miranda must trust in skills she never knew she had to get to a place she refused to believe existed.

But when they learn the black hole is no natural phenomenon, Miranda can’t turn her back on the suffering of Earth, and saving it could cost more than she ever knew.

About the Author
Kristen Illarmo is a young adult, science fiction author driven to write stories with strong female characters in the backdrop of crumbling societies. She proudly calls New Orleans home, a fact that may only change if the perfect beach town reveals itself.

When she’s not toiling to improve efficiency in local government in her day job, she’s writing about dark possible futures and thinking about the importance of the choices we make. The prequel to Without A World, Behind the Red Door, is available now at

Join her monthly newsletter to grab the prequel to Without A World for free, get author updates, and access other free books from emerging authors at

$15 Amazon
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  1. Thank you for sharing this author's Q&A and book details, this sounds like an awesome read

  2. I enjoyed reading the interview, Kristen! Congrats on your Debut book release and I can't wait to share this book with my granddaughter! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a great day!

  3. Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed reading it.