Saturday, September 1, 2018

Book Covers Are the Secret Sauce for Me

Our topic this week is appreciation for our cover artists and I LOVE working with Fiona Jayde. She's been my go to cover person for all my scifi romance novels since my debut SFR Wreck of the Nebula Dream in 2012.  She also did my fantasy romance cover and my most recent ancient Egyptian paranormal romance cover.

The cover is such a key for helping readers find your books - the artwork has to look good in a thumbnail size, tell the reader what genre it is and draw them in to come read the blurb and hopefully one click and start reading. It's a very important piece of the marketing and it's also my reward to myself.

Our process is that usually about halfway through writing the novel, I'm ready to have my gorgeous cover as inspiration while I write the rest of the first draft. I go to the stockphoto sites and search for "the guy", which often takes me half a day and does get exhausting. Yes, even looking at gorgeous sexy guys can get tedious LOL. I use a lot of different search terms and can sometimes ferret out photos no one else has used. Or very few people. Or at least not yet! I send Fiona an e mail with maybe ten to fifteen possibilities although I'll tell her which ones are my favorites.

She winnows through those and kindly doesn't ever tell me which ones are totally impossible. Sometimes she can find alternate poses of a guy that I perhaps liked but whose photo wasn't suitable for a romance cover. In the early days before I really understood the limits, I'd often gravitate to pictures where I'd say things like, "He's great if we could change this or make that different..." Which of course you can't do in a stockphoto, although some minor changes can be made. Fiona is very patient and collaborative, which I value highly. I've learned so much from her!

Even though I write strong heroines, for me the process revolves around the photo of the hero. Make of that what you will! I rarely send Fiona photos of the heroine, unless there's an unusual aspect, like the alien sleeping beauty in  Trapped on Talonque, where I lucked into finding a stock photo of a woman with purple braided hair, exactly like Bithea, my heroine.

Since the 'branding' we've evolved usually has the couple on the top of the cover and an alien scene on the bottom, I'll send her a few stock photos to give her a general idea - is it spaceships, planets, alien cities, a rock concert - but I trust her to find the perfect heroine and the perfect 'landscape'.

Fiona evolved the 'Veronica Scott' scifi font and cover layout.

Sometimes I just ask her to go creatively wild and do the cover from scratch, as with The Captive Shifter, and wow, do I love the results! She knows the genre-specific and reader expectations and can make a cover to fit.

Until my current Badari Warriors series, my best selling book of all time (in its release month) was Star Cruise: Marooned and I really give credit to Fiona for the cover, which I felt at the time and still believe had a huge positive effect because it was so eye catching.

We've also had Fiona do the covers for all three annual editions of the Pets In Space anthology.

I also have to give a giant shout out to Frauke of Croco Designs, who did the cover for my first published book, Priestess of the Nile. She captured the essence of the book so perfectly and I felt so blessed to have her cover art on my first ever release. I believe Carina Press asked her to do the cover in part because obviously she loves crocodiles and the Crocodile God is the hero in the novel - it was all just perfect serendipity.

Frauke has also done a number of my other Egyptian covers and I love them too. When working with her I filled out a questionnaire, similar to what fellow SFF7 member Vivien Jackson described in her post here on Wednesday. I sent a couple of Egyptian images as 'mood' and a few covers I admired but then Frauke developed the covers herself.

1 comment:

  1. I love that, using your cover for inspiration as you finish. The Captive Shifter has always been my favorite cover of yours, she really did a fabulous job.