Covers for ZAMP: AI to the Rescue? - Part 1 of 3
What to do when your wallet is empty but your book needs a cover?
I finished Zombies Ate My Poodle! and wanted to get it out where people could read it, but I didn’t have a fancy cover. I knew I could hire someone to make a cover (that’s what all the cool writers do), but that typically takes at least hundreds of dollars, and since I’m paying a lot of medical co-pays right now, free cash is tight.
So I decided to have an AI do it and headed over to Midjourney to get some sweet sweet artwork.
My prompts looked a lot like this:
A 12 year old boy and a poodle with duct tape wrapped around its head are running from zombies through a neighborhood.
Unfortunately, the AI felt that duct tape wrapped around the poodle’s head was against its “community standards” so I had to try without mentioning the duct tape. Seems strange that zombies chasing a kid is okay, but putting duct tape on a poodle’s head isn’t? Hmm…
Here’s what I ended up with when it finally decided to create some artwork for me:
Um, notice anything missing? Where are the zombies?!
I tried again, this time specifying four adult zombies to see if that would help — and also asked for a shorter haircut because those boys are just a bit too shaggy for Zak…
This time it added some “things” but they for sure are NOT adult zombies!
The kid’s hair isn’t very short, either.
I decided just to enter zombies ate my poodle to see what would happen and lo and behold, I ended up with something that was interesting:
I’d spent at least a couple hours trying different wordings, and so just decided to slap that picture on the cover and call it good. At least for now.
However, I also felt like a lot of parents would see that picture and NOT pick up that book for their 10-year old, and so decided to ask a writers’ group what they suggested. (One thing I discovered is that a few of the writers actually liked that picture and would have picked it up just because of that! Crazy!)
The info I got from that group made me end up with THREE different covers. I’ll talk about those in the second part of this story.