New authors especially don’t necessarily understand the time it takes to produce a good book. Any craptastic piece of content can be created and published almost instantaneously, but a good story properly formatted and enhanced by a good cover takes time. It may take a lot of time.

The journey of Double Cut is one such example. Writing the story actually took less time than I anticipated; I finished a month early. However, editing will take longer than I hoped due to the revisions I’ll be making. There are some key points that I flubbed in the draft. Then there’s the cover.

The first designer I hired for the cover was the only one who responded to my request for proposals (RFP) with something other than a glib “Hey, I can do this. Hire me.” I liked her portfolio of work and sent her the draft cover blurb (still not finalized), the chapter-by-chapter synopsis, and the cover to Triple Burn. Double Cut is the sequel and will be the second book in what’s likely to become a new series. Triple Burn has a gorgeous cover and I want Double Cut to align with that.

Designer #1 submitted four concepts. They weren’t what I was looking for at all, so I apologized for not providing sufficient information and gave her further direction. That direction included hyperlinks to other books in the genre for inspiration. She responded with a request to cancel the project as it was beyond her ability. I thanked her for her honesty and canceled the project. No harm, no foul.

Learning from that experience, I hopped into another platform and uploaded my RFP, making sure to be explicit in my expectations. Another designer agreed to do the project. Again, I looked at her portfolio and liked her work. She submitted a draft that was … awful. Don’t get me wrong, the work was technically proficient. The image itself was hideous. So began a long process of explanation and revision until we hit what I would say is 95% there.

Basically, it came down to 95% of what I want is better than 100% of what I don’t want. So, I accepted delivery of the project and paid.

Not only do I have a cover for Double Cut, I have the manuscript back from the editor. I’ll begin working on revisions, although I can’t help but bask in her praise: “Wow! I really liked this book. The pace was perfect; the book full of action. Absolutely no lulls or sagging momentum in the story arc. No plot holes that I detected. Very engaging! … But the bottom line is I think this is one of your most tightly written stories and I very much enjoyed it. I didn’t want it to end.”

​I couldn’t ask for better feedback.

Look for Double Cut to go on sale for pre-order in February.