Friday, August 31, 2018

Cover Artist Praise

 Danielle Fine does most of my covers. It's a good thing, too, because on those forms for authors, when cover artists ask if you have a vision for the cover, I always do.

And it pretty much sucks. 

For Damned If He Does, I'd figured on some artsy cover because the hero is a frustrated artist. And maybe because I grew up with those kinds of covers out of the 70s and early 80s with geometric shapes in once bold colors that inevitably faded by about the third year the book had been on a shelf. 

Danielle kindly led me down the path of PNR reader expectations for this cover. And even if the cover seems to promise something the book doesn't deliver (I had concerns this cover conveyed a really hot read and well - the heroine is ace so while the story has its share of flames, they aren't the sexy kind, much) this book is already one readers either love or think should have been a short story. So eh. Point of interest. Danielle found the models for the cover and she NAILED that heroine.

She found the heroine image for Emissary, too. After I'd looked and looked and looked. This heroine isn't 20. She's at the end of her soldiering career and I really wanted someone who looked like she hadn't just skipped class at the local high school. 

I think my favorite thing about Danielle's work is that whether models match my particular internal vision or not, Danielle always manages to convey the mood of the story. Every single time.

The two Nightmare Ink covers were done by someone at Berkley - I'm ashamed to say I don't know by whom. Because both books are e-only, the covers are simpler and with the first book, the editor and marketing staff chose to go against the UF tide at the time. Most UF covers at the time these came out were barely clad heroines in ripped jeans and leather. Some gorgeous covers came out of that, but Isa wasn't that kind of bad ass heroine. She has her strengths, but fighting isn't one of them. At least, not physically. The only issue we had with the covers, in my opinion, was that the first book didn't actually convey any hint of magic. I think the Bound By Ink cover does a better job of that. It's more atmospheric, too. But this is the difference between publishing through a traditional publisher and publishing your own work. With a traditional publisher, covers are collaborative to a point. Past that point, you can't ask for further changes in the cover. On books you publish yourself, you can pursue THE perfect cover to the limits of your budget. I have a dream to be able to commission original artwork for book covers. Just because I love painterly covers and if I could pay an artist whose work I love - everyone wins.

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