Alex Rosa: How I Designed My Book Cover for FAHRENHEIT

Posted by September 22nd, 2015

Happy book birthday to Book Country member Alex Rosa–her latest book, FAHRENHEIT, pubs today!

When I found out that Alex designed this gorgeous, sexy cover for FAHRENHEIT herself, I had to find out more. Alex explains her DIY approach to cover design below.


Everyone says, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which is true, but you can’t help but “oohh” and “aahh” over an enticing one. Although we aren’t supposed to take a book at face value, it should still exemplify what the book holds inside at least a little bit, which is what we are all trying to go for as authors in this ever evolving world of publishing. Here’s how I designed my book cover.

Fahrenheit cover lo res

FAHRENHEIT (out today!) is my first leap into the erotica genre, and since it has some risqué subject matter I knew it was important for the cover to feel edgy, sexy, and forbidden. I have a plethora of tools to work with in Photoshop (an Adobe design program), but I knew I wanted an illustrated look to the cover rather than people or places. I wanted something more conceptual rather than realistic.

If you’re choosing to design the cover yourself there are many stock image websites where you can find illustrations and photographs to license.

Recommended stock image websites:

If you can’t find a stock image you like, you can also consider seeking out a favorite photographer that might have a photo in their portfolio for you to license for a fee.

It’s important to go into any design project with a concept to guide you. I knew I wanted lips on my cover. In my book, Fahrenheit is the name of a nightclub that prides itself on anonymity, and is built on secrets and desires, and finding the right illustration of lips to exemplify this was going to be a challenge. Eventually I found the perfect one, which I was downright giddy about! Now, I just had to figure out what I wanted to do with it.

I also loved the idea of smeared mascara after a long night of dancing in a nightclub, or after heated romantic encounters with a stranger, so I played around with paint streaks in Photoshop. Eventually (and on accident) I arranged these elements as if the paint smears were a blindfold and set the lips image below it, which pulled it all together with feeling of sensual anticipation. I had suddenly captured what Fahrenheit was about, and all I needed to do make some finishing touches to make it perfect.

Next, I fiddled with colors and fonts. The novel not only features sexual underworlds, but also the journalism industry. (My main character is working on an article about the Fahrenheit nighclub in hopes of getting a promotion, only to realize she’s in way over her head.) So I used a newspaper print font for the title.

I’ve managed to become familiar with Photoshop over time, but not all authors know how to use this tool. No worries. I also highly recommend seeking out an experienced cover designer if you have the money in your budget. Many of my author friends have used the designers below with absolutely fantastic results, and some of the designers have stock image collections of their own:

As authors, our books are like our babies, and creating our cover is like dressing our kid for their first day of school. We want our kid to be the cool kid, the one you see on the shelf and think, I bet they’ve got a story to tell.

Alex RosaAbout Alex Rosa

Alex Rosa is the author of TRYST, originally workshopped on Book Country and picked up by Penguin Intermix last year. You can read a preview of Alex’s new book FAHRENHEIT on Book Country, or buy the full book from your favorite online retailer. Connect with Alex on Book Country, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, and her website.


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