Antigrav Unlimited 3.1 book cover artwork for Duncan Long's science fiction novel

Last year I created some new artwork to go with my new edition of my sci-fi novel Antigrav Unlimited 3.1. This book is special to me since it was the first novel I got into print with a big publisher (in this case Avon Books which — back in the mid-1980s — had a nice lineup of science fiction novels).

So I wanted the perfect cover illustration — or at least perfect in terms of what I wanted to see for the cover.

I’ve found authors generally want to put too many elements into book cover artwork — I have come to see this as the “everything but the kitchen sink syndrome.”

I was not immune to this disease with my own book.

Before I knew it, I sketches with extra creatures, layouts, robots, and aircraft on the cover at one point or another along with one, two, or three characters. Eventually, I pruned down the elements to the two main characters and placed them in front of a sort of generic porthole looking out into deep space. Interestingly, while there’s no actual scene quite like this in the book, it seems to capture the “feel” of the story, and that’s always key, I think. (And readers have come to be pretty forgiving of this practice with most cover artwork never actually appearing in a novel — or at least not exactly as depicted in the art.)

Since I’d created these two main characters as 3D models (exporting the renders into my paint program to create the final illustration after adding the background and repainting the two characters), it was a simple matter to repose them and then create black and white drawings of each to go with the text.

Here’s the results of those digital drawings:

Phil Hunter - artwork from the science fiction novel by Duncan Long

Nikki - character art from science fiction novel by Duncan Long

The final print version of the cover was pretty straightforward, with my painting / lettering on the front, text on the spine along with the icon I created for Duncan Long Publications. For the back I added the blurb text, bar code, and icon on the back (along with my sorry mug and an “about the author pitch).

After adjusting the spine width for the page count, the cover and text were ready to upload to CreateSpace to create a POD (Print On Demand) title which would be available both at CreateSpace as well as its parent company: Amazon Books.

After carefully proofing the final copy online, the book was available for sale just a day or so after the text and cover were uploaded (which seemed especially fast since it took about four years from the time I completed the first edition until it was in print).

Amazing times.

Wrap-around book cover artwork for novel Antigrav Unlimited

You can read some sample chapters as well as purchase Antigrav Unlimited 3.1 in Kindle and print formats at Amazon. For American readers, here’s the US link to the book: Antigrav Unlimited 3.1. If you enjoy a good science fiction adventure (in the tradition of Robert Heinlein) with a few laughs along the way, you’ll enjoy this book. Check it out now!