Hello, lovely peeps, Doris here with my thoughts on covers, and in particular how to fill in that all-important cover art questionnaire to ensure you get the kick ass cover your story deserves.
You know that old saying….
Yes, well, in the days of e-books and thumbnail covers on websites, I’m afraid books do get judged by their covers. You want one that stands out, while being true to the spirit of your story and, of course, as best an interpretation of your characters as you can get.
For the vast majority of us that means relying on a cover artist you employ, or the one your publisher uses. We are very, very fortunate at Evernight that Jay Aheer from Simply Defined Art truly creates magic on the Evernight covers.
Just look at our latest releases in the side bar, or check out Evernight Publishing’s website, if you don’t believe me.
Jay is a true artist and goes out her way to ensure the cover matches up with the writer’s expectation. With every cover she has created for me, she’s blown me away. It’s almost as though she’s plucked the characters out of my brain and brought them to life.
While Jay and other cover artists like her, surely do weave magic with stock images, composition, and the inventive use of Photoshop, they can only create that magic if you give them the material to work with.
So, how then do you achieve this, I hear you ask?
Well, the starting point is a damn good blurb. You need one to hook any potential reader, but the right blurb will also convey the feel of the story to your cover artist. They are experts at reading between the lines and judging the right mood for the cover.
If you use visual inspiration for your characters, then do share those on your cover art request form. Again, it sets the mood for the artist and they will usually try their utmost to match the stock models they use on your cover to your inspiration.
If you hold the rights to the images you use, then, by all means, pass them on, but don’t get your knickers in a twist if your artist can’t use them.
They may work seeming magic, but there’s only so much they can do with any images available to them. Some publishers also prefer to use their own models, stock image sites, so whatever you provide may not be used for those reasons.
So, be gracious, here.
Provide as much physical description of your main characters as you can, and any details you would like to see on the cover. Be sure to also state here what you definitely do not want on your cover.
After one of my covers with my other publisher where one of the heroes looked as though he was wearing make-up, which was just so wrong for this particular hero, it became a standing joke between myself and the cover artist for a while.
What don’t you want on the cover?
No men with makeup, please! 😉
A word of warning here, on how to handle it when you do disagree with the cover artist’s vision of your story.
Do not go in guns blazing or as I witnessed several years ago now, one author belittling this cover artists vision publicly on FB. Hell, NO!
Remember your manners and be polite when you request a different version, and, really, if the artist got the interpretation that wrong, then maybe you need to take a good, long, hard look at yourself and what you actually wrote down on that form.
Like I stated above, be concise, give as much description as you can, but don’t be too specific. If your hero is scarred down one side, like one of mine was, be aware that you will not have the exact same scarring or tattoo, for that matter, on the cover as you describe.
As it happens with my scarred hero, Jay placed his face in the shadows and it worked beautifully.
Another one of my heroes with my other publishers was in a wheelchair. I made sure to state that on my cover art request form and also stated that I knew it might be hard to get the right match, but, you know what, she did.
See, if you ask nicely, you usually get what you ask for, or as darn near a match as you can.
One other trick I have learned over the last five years is to give your cover artist as much free reign as you can. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t position a good cover if my life depended on it. I know what I like, but how to convey that in a request… well…
I simply give as much physical description as I can of the H/H and the general mood of the story and then put this.
Please just work your magic.
They invariably do and blow me away with their interpretation. ‘Cause you know, they are good at this, very, very good, and you can trust them to do their best without you breathing down their necks, and micro-managing their creative process.
The perfect cover is very much a creative process of its own, and I for one like to leave it to the professionals.
That’s all from me today, and if you have any other tips to share, please do so in the comments.
Do stay naughty, folks,