The making of Chasing the Brown Mountain Lights cover for CC Tillery

Chasing the Brown Moutain Lights is the fourth book in the Brown Mountain Lights series.  The colors on this one came together so nicely.  The sister duo authors want to continue using the one photo I took of Brown Mountain from the first book, and just make changes to the colors and adding a second foreground image composite.

BML4 (Small)

Cyndi gifted me with a signed copy of Into the Brown Mountain Lights.  I am appreciative and look forward to reading it, but what I really enjoyed was the visit with her in person. It seems like ages since we’ve been able to chat. I think I’ll update their social media banner as a thank you for the signed copy.  Not only am I grateful for an actual hold-in-my-hands copy, it helps when working on the next book, to have the previous books in the series spread out on my desk.

I heard about the fourth book in the series being close to ready in December, with the request to de-foliage trees, which really would require a reshoot in winter. I provided a quote to reshoot and some color choices. They choose the third color option and said the foreground would be a bare-branched tree.

Book 4 color-sm

I gave the quote and I was given the title. I learned the bare branch/tree might be changed to a wildflower in the foreground. Even though this is not something I typically do, I went thru my 50k+ photos looking for foregrounds that would work with the amber recolored sky and sent them almost 50 choices. The good thing is those same choices can be tucked away for later future use.


In January, I heard they didn’t want me to reshoot a barren winter landscape, they picked four wildflowers and I went with their favorite, giving them a choice in size.

I mentioned I really like the colors on this one. Let me share how they came to be. On the yellow flower, I removed the green and got the combined yellow color. I did something similar to get the main rusty amber color from the mountain background. Then armed with two colors,  I went to the color wheel to get the teal/ turquoise color. I narrowed it down to a whopping 34 that were oh-so-close and actually changed the color in the title over and over until I found the best one. Picture a lot of “this one, or this one” 🙂

February I was given the back blurb but I was still waiting on the page count to design the full flat. If the spine text or ISBN area is off at all, or if the text is outside the safe area, or the photo doesn’t extend fully in the bleed the printer will throw it out, so I can’t just guess at the size, or I guess I could, but that would be pointless and costly. The spine width varies per page. I did learn from Christy that now that Amazon made changes that changing the ebook from KDP to what was Create Space doesn’t work like just leaving the ebook alone and uploading the print book instead of trying to create it from KDP. Good tip for me to pass along for future clients. I don’t get into helping with the uploads but I can certainly pass that along. Nothing like making it harder for the authors to not use a cover created outside Amazon.

On the full-flat cover, the printer has made some changes. They still want a pdf but you used to always provide that in CMYK when it was for print. I read that other designers were having better color match using RGB. I  will provide both and ask which one they used.  Things are just different now that Createspace moved to Amazon/KDP.

I learned when I was talking to Cyndi that Christy said there may be several more in the Brown Mountain Lights series. In between other jobs, when an idea hit of another way to alter the same cover photo, I’d jot down a note. I’ve got several ideas if they need them and also something very different for the last book whenever that comes to be. I had no idea when the ideas started coming how many ways I could come up with to alter the same photo.

I absolutely love it when the freedom to be creative presents itself. It’s true I have the restriction of using the same cover photo I shot and they prefer to use foreground photos I’ve already shot, as opposed to commissioning one, but still, it’s kinda invigorating (and challenging) to see how many ways you can edit the same basic photo. I love what I do and I really enjoy working with authors who let me create a cover for their books.

Click here to check out more books by CC Tillery. They are available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. For some reason, not all of the titles on Amazon have the ability to click on CC Tillery as the author and then they all show up. Christy and Cyndi, the sister duo that writes as CC Tillery can also be found at WNC events where you can purchase signed copies and talk to them in person.

Here are my other post about CC Tillery covers

If you are interested in having a cover designed click for more info.

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