First I'd like to thank Lady V for stopping by yesterday and giving us her wonderful gift of contests all in one place. How great is that? She is the promo guru of contests so keep that in mind when you are having one. Lady V performs a wonderful service to us all. She promotes our promotions!
I'd like to discuss cover art and with that I'd like to share my newest cover. You may remember, I mentioned some time ago that I sold two more stories to The Wild Rose Press, and we've just completed the editing process of Bestial Cravings, a Black Rose Rosette Companion story to Curse of the Marhime as of yesterday. Coincidentally, I received my cover art, as well. As always, I am very satisfied with my artists at TWRP. They have an awesome art department but I will get into this more a little later in this article.
The cover is the first thing anyone sees when perusing books. It is the draw for the reader to pick up your book. No matter how great your story is, if the cover is ho hum the reader may never touch the book. I will tell you that I, myself, am attracted to a cover before I even notice the title. Cover art is so very important. In a lot of cases, the author has no say in what goes on the cover but in my experience many of the presses today do ask for your thoughts on what you'd like to see on your cover.
I've had the opportunity with all my books to be involved with my covers. The first book I'd published was a real eye-opener when I got to deal with the cover design. Being a small press, they didn't even have an art department, so I was on my own. I researched graphic artists and discovered that no way could I afford to even think about using a professional artist! Though disappointed and concerned that my first book, my baby, would go out there in less than perfect wrapping, I began to call upon all my contacts and peers for advise. I soon came upon a peer writer at the press whose wife dabbled in graphic art and offered to give it a go.
After discussing my ideas, she went to work but the design just didn't work for me, and she opted not to proceed with the project. So there I was again. How would I find an artist? At least one I could afford. Afterall, I was a struggling writer with no marketing dollars.
As luck would have it, we had a very talented author who also did graphic design and graciously offered to do my cover for me. We finally decided on a design, and I had a cover. It wasn't perfect and came out on the artsy side, but it worked for me at the time, though it really didn't capture the story's theme or mood as much as I would have liked.
One year later, I contracted my second book, Curse of the Marhime, with TWRP and discovered what it was to have an awesome graphic art department behind me. I still remember the day I received the cover art for Curse. I stared at the file for several minutes afraid to open the file. Afraid of being disappointed. I hesitantly clicked open and couldn't believe my eyes! The cover was better than I could have ever thought. It captured the essence of my story and exactly what I had imagined my heroine to look like! I was in awe. Then I was in tears. Tears of sheer joy. My cover artist for Curse is Angela Anderson.
After I calmed down and could actually think again, I did two things. I sent the cover to anyone and everyone I could think of, and I emailed Angela to tell how beautiful that cover was. I also asked if she ever free-lanced. She did! So I asked my previous publishing house if I could revise my cover art on the book I'd pubbed there. They agreed to allow it, and I hired Angela who once again did an awesome job capturing the essence of yet another book. I've since pulled the book from the publishing house to get it into a more romance oriented environment as though they gave me my first chance in the publishing world, they really don't publish romance books. SciFi/fantasy and craft books are more up their alley. They graciously returned my rights, so I will be persuing publication elsewhere. So I really can't post the cover for that one to show you at this time. Trust me when I say it was perfect.
I want to note that Nicola Martinez is the present cover artist for my new upcoming release, Bestial Cravings, and she designed my banner here on this blog and on my website. These women are absolutely the best. The entire art department rocks! Just take a look at all the covers on the catalog pages at The Wild Rose Press. I dare anyone to beg to differ with me.
All these covers turned out great because of two things. Specific author input and very talented artists. At TWRP, they want your input and will even allow you to send in stock photos to show them what you are looking for in characters, background, etc. One thing that needs to be said, though, is that no matter how specific you are about your characters, remember that the artists can not always be perfectly specific with things like hair color, style, eye color, etc. because they are dealing with stock photos. They will always work to get as close as possible, but there are limits.
Another key note I need to make here is that once a cover is done, it will not be changed. This rule is mentioned over and over again to authors because there is so much work that goes into a cover. The artist spends hours even days looking for just the right stock pictures, then because a cover is never just one picture, they spend hours layering the photos to create the perfect cover. That is not to say if something is wrong such as title, spelling of author's name or some technicality they won't change it. Of course, they will. Remember always be as specific as you can down to the fact that the heroine is the vampire and the hero is the werewolf. All these tidbits are so very important to the artist. They haven't read your story, and they don't know your characters, mood, or theme. You have to tell them. That is why you fill out the Manuscript Information Sheet. That is what they follow and use as their guideline to your perfect cover.
I hope this is helpful to you and, by all means, if you have any questions on the subject, I would be happy to answer them from my experiences.
Thanks for dropping by and taking a read, as always.