“How do you do that?” You ask.
It’s collaboration between author and artist. The book is your baby and you’ve been nurturing this ball of words for a long time. You know the characters down to the twinkle in the heroine’s Cal Poly Pomona green eyes. Uh, say again? You know what that color looks like but I certainly don’t.
Now the work begins as emails fly between us as we create your book cover. You, as the author, want a backdrop of say…the inside of a circus tent with the heroine swinging from a trapeze and the hero, his long blonde hair over his right shoulder standing on the other side watching her. The thing is; I’m not sure I can find pictures of this. You see, I have to go online to my favorite stock photo websites and buy the artwork. Or I can use my own photographs taken with a digital camera. The author and artist have to come up with something that will work to give the feel, or mood of the book.
I try to make the cover as clear as possible. If we muddle up the background with busy elements, blend the hero and heroine in a clench and mix in another scene below the picture of the couple, we are asking for trouble. Why? Because an ebook cover is very small in online book stores. You want the title and author to show up along with clarity of the pictures. This is what draws the reader’s eye. Look in the galleries of book covers I have on my website and decide which books capture your interest.The mood of a scene trumps exact description every time. Just the shape and color of the text on the cover can change the feel. Now, if the Eiffel Tower is an element in your story this is a necessity to show the place of your novel or a World War II scene if its a 1943 historical. It all boils down to communication between author and artist.
I know what it feels like to be disappointed with a book cover. I haven’t a clue who the artist was assigned to my first book. I filled out the form and gave all the descriptions I could think of. First mistake, but back then, I didn’t know I was setting up the cover to fail. I waited and waited to receive my cover via email just days before the 1999 Romance Writers of America conference in Chicago. The cover didn’t arrive until I was home a few days later.My publisher shipped my CDs to the hotel in Chicago and I was sooo excited! My first glimpse of the cover was as I opened the box. UGH! It was terrible. My beautiful heroine IN the book was transformed or should I say deformed on the cover. Her arm was sticking out to the side, too long for her body and it looked like a shovel. REALLY! It did. I can laugh about it now, but not then. Mortified is the word I’m looking for. It was going to be distracting enough signing CDs instead of paper and sitting in a room filled with famous authors. I felt like sliding under the table when my favorite New York author came over to me and picked up my CD. She didn’t seem to notice shovel girl; she was too excited asking me if she just put the CD in the car stereo and someone started reading it to her. (Audio books weren’t that big of a thing then) I explained about the computer and reading it on screen only to have her say “Good luck on that one, dear.”
I’m thrilled with the success of ebooks. They have changed over the years, and so has the cover art! I bet I could find one stray copy of shovel girl if I looked really hard, but, naaahh, I don’t want to. I’d rather spend my time creating a great looking cover for an author and make her happy.Bev’s cover art
Bev Haynes writing as Chloe Reeder