This week my weekend book cover experiment is a personal one: I made an alternate book cover for my collection of funny horror, Suddenly, Zombies. Below are the original cover and the jacket copy.

SuddenlyZombies300 Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories (and a bonus drabble) from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.

Stories first appeared in Zombonauts (Library of the Living Dead Press), Zombie Kong (Books of the Dead Press), and Necrotic Tissue (Stygian Publications).


This is one of the first covers I made, and I wanted it to be clear that this was lighthearted horror. I also had far fewer tools and way less experience back then, so I drew the elements myself from the two main stories in the collection. Here’s my rough iterative process on this one.


I like it, but I wanted to try a cover that would look more at home in the horror section while still conveying that lighthearted element. I decide the image of a zombie hand poking out of the ground making a thumbs-up symbol covers a lot of the imagery I want, so I go ahead and mock up something.


This is terrible.

There’s a lot of value in making terrible things, though, because it prepares you for the trouble you’ll run across in making decent things. I scrap every element in this version and start looking for better ways to do what I have in mind.

I need a decent thumbs-up. This is surprisingly hard to find for free, especially held aloft like I want. I decide I’ll settle for an OK symbol. Wikimedia commons has one. The arm’s not long enough, so I extend it a bit. (Amanda C. Davis: Arm Extender.)

It’s also surprisingly hard to find a free image of the kind of graveyard I want. I’d go out and take my own photo if they all weren’t covered in snow at the moment. This one is nice and crowded. All the tombstones are in Hebrew, which I enjoy because some of the earliest recorded walking dead are Jewish.

I use a green grunge texture to zombie up the hand, put shadows around the graveyard, hide the wrist stub behind some moss, and use a stains brush to discolor the “Suddenly”. This is exciting. I use very few brushes normally.


I check up on alternate meanings for the OK symbol, and swap out the cemetery to avoid Unfortunate Implications. This changes my color palette to include orange, which is fine with me. My sister encourages me to make the word “Zombies” less stark white, which I do. And that’s my final version.


I’m not sure whether it meets its goal and I don’t have sales numbers yet to show how it’s doing, but the new cover is up on Smashwords and Amazon now–and it’s discounted at the moment.

Do you think this is a better cover than the previous? In what way? What would you change if you could?


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  • 5 hours, give or take.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!