Now, if I were independently wealthy, I wouldn't even attempt to make my own cover. I'd hire some talented artist, admire their work, and be done with it. Hopefully, I'll get to that point someday. But because I'm just starting out, I decided to tackle my own cover, with a great deal of assistance to my husband.
Fortunately, my husband is a great photographer, so finding images wasn't a problem. He had taken this fantastic shot of a castle called Bouillon, which he took when we were visiting his family in Belgium. It's a magnificent site, a castle whose initial construction dates back to the 8th century. I liked the aged, somewhat ruined look of the picture and was sure it would make a great cover. After some quality time with Photoshop, my husband created a cover for me, and we both thought it looked really cool.
However, while I do still like the cover, while watching my sales figures, I began to suspect that maybe the cover wasn't really conveying what I wanted it to convey. I started to wonder if it was too unclear what it might have to do with the novel and that it might be difficult just by glancing at it to get an idea of what to expect from the book.
That said, I made a marketing decision to create a new cover. After more time with GIMP and Paint.Net than I care to admit, I've come away with a whole new appreciation for graphic artists and cover designers and with some prospective covers that will hopefully reach an audience more effectively.
I would really love some feedback as it will help me to get a better picture of what will work. Please vote in the comments with the number of your favorite, and any suggestions as to what you think might help improve the cover. So, without further ado, here they are: