The first cover was done by the woman who made my business cards for my shadow business. When a full-time job wasn’t enough to distract me from writing, I took up another job investing in rental properties. I found ways to fill the time. Distractions filled my free time. My Married to My Beer business was a great distraction from writing. It was hard work avoiding writing.

I reached out to her, and she said she would happily do a cover. I described an image and she said that she that would take an illustrator. She used stock images instead. She gave me a site and I searched for something that might work.

I found pictures that could be cobbled together for a nondescript part of the story. It had the title without The Annals of the Last Emissary. I hadn’t thought of that yet. It had my name. And it had a vaguely Game of Thrones feel. The mountain background, I would come to find later on another author’s website was pretty common. It wasn’t how I viewed the particular mountain in that location for my story but it was a cover. It helped me believe that I could finish this book. It wouldn’t be the final cover. I didn’t know what it might take to find an illustrator. I had so much to learn.

I did something similar when I went to Fiverr to get my manuscript formatted. It came back formatted for less than $100. I couldn’t use it. I only looked at it once. I began to understand that I would have to get smarter about the process if I wanted to find a cover that would really capture not only the reader’s imagination but also my imagination. I knew from my other business artwork, that it had to be amazing because I would be looking at it the most over time.

This wasn’t a going to be a vending machine kind of experience. It would take more.