Saturday, August 27, 2016
The Magic of A Good Book Cover
It was so gorgeous and so evocative of the story and the time frame that I was nothing short of horrified when I got my second Carina cover, NOT by Frauke, and my Egyptian warrior was depicted as heavily bearded. Ancient Egyptian men were clean shaven, they're well known for that, other than the ritual beard worn by Pharaoh at times. Carina was very nice about fixing that aspect of the art (and I'm sure I was overreacting a bit, as a still pretty newly published author, but the Art Department was very patient.)
When I started self publishing, I went back to Frauke and have had her do all my subsequent covers for the ancient Egyptian series. I particularly love the art for Ghost of the Nile.
I self pubbed the science fiction romance novels from the beginning and have always worked with the amazing Fiona Jayde. Here's the first, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, which established the 'brand", as far as the font, and the stylistic elements of the hero and heroine, with a major scenic element from the plot under the title.
I was probably a pain to work with in the beginning. My daughter, also a published author, gave me a lot of helpful advice on which stock photos would and wouldn't work and what was pleasing and genre appropriate. I would gravitate to people and poses that now, looking back, I can see were totally wrong. I had a touching, if misplaced faith in the ability of the cover artist to manipulate stock photos. Um, no, stock photos are what they are. Someone as talented as Fiona can do some wizardy, amazing things but the basic photo has to be appropriate.
She gently sends back the few that are actually workable and genre appropriate, and I settle on one for the hero. Fiona tends to be much better than I am at picking the right woman for the final cover. I leave the scenic element up to her after I've sent my "these are kind of what I had in mind" samples. Sometimes she has to suggest alternative guys as well.
I can't share the rejected photos with you because we never actually buy them. We just look at them on the stockphoto site so I don't have the right to display them here. Sorry!
On my new book, Trapped on Talonque, I did find the heroine myself, lucking into a stock photo of a girl with the lavender-blue hair described in the book AND elaborately braided, which my heroine Bitha's hair is at one point. Wow! When you're doing stock photos you learn early on that you're probably going to see the same models and poses on a lot of covers and you're not going to be able to truly portray your characters exactly as they are in the book. You can only suggest the mood and emotion as you entice the prospective reader with your thumbnail.
Covers are critically important - you really need a high quality cover to stand out to the reader among all the choices they have available these days. It should be clear what genre you're offering and not look like you made it yourself in one hour of photoshopping. Some authors do have amazing graphic skills and more power to them, but sadly, a number of the indie covers I see are lacking. I do a weekly roundup of new releases in scifi and fantasy romance for my personal blog and seeing all the covers in one place together, you really can tell who is a DIY person that probably should have hired a cover artist. (Tip: go look at the top 20 Amazon best sellers in whatever genre you're writing, and see how those covers look, in terms of stylistic elements, font, etc.)
Some day I'd love to be successful enough to have custom cover photo shoots, especially for the Egyptian novels, but until then I'm very grateful for Fiona and Frauke, and creative stockphoto sites.
Trapped on Talonque, the story:
Labels: ancient Egypt, Croco Designs, Fiona Jayde, Frauke Spanuth, scifi romance, Trapped on Talonque
Best Selling Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance author and “SciFi Encounters” columnist for the USA Today Happily Ever After blog, Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything.