Wednesday, August 1, 2012

4 Recommendations for Hiring Cover Artists!

A great cover artist is worth a fortune!

Yes, I write for five different publishers. Yes, I have self-pubbed my own books in between my publishers’ releases for me (and hired talented designers to package those products for me).  But also, I used to be in PR and advertising for many decades and have mucho experience hiring and directing designers for everything from logos to billboards. So here are a few recommendations for you if you are bewildered by the plethora of designers from which to choose.

For erotic romance, cover art is The Big Deal, isn’t it? The way the book will be sold to thousands of readers. While trends come and go, the best package for a book to sell is superbly rendered art. And while the self-pub and digital industry grows, so too do the pool of graphic designers whom we love to love.

What are the markers of a great designer?

For me and I daresay for this industry, those markers are all of the following:
1. A knack for finding evocative photographs.
Great photography begins with selection of a good subject, but it must also include an understanding of high resolution.
Do bookmark those designers’ websites who create book covers and visit their sites repeatedly. By looking at their wares, you will begin to note what you especially like, what speaks to you and you will learn why.
Not all designers do work suitable for every sub-genre. Some are adept at all genres.
Note their own clientele and who returns for more of that designer’s art. Repeat business is the mark of success.
FOR A LONG TIME COMIN', my buddy Nicole Austin, found this marvelous specimen of military Delta Force manhood.  Yummy, oui? 

2. A talent for using the basic art or jpeg in the most appropriate manner for the type of book it is.
This includes an understanding of the theme, setting and the author’s VOICE in the book.
(Hint: A good description of your Voice in the cover sheet request is vital here!)
This talent includes taking a much-used jpeg and cropping it correctly for the feel and tone of the book. One jpeg might be great for a Regency romance, but cropped differently, or magnified in a certain way, and that picture may be used as a basic for a Regency mystery!

3. An understanding of dimensions and how and where to place the author’s name and title in slugs that enhance the basic art.
In other words, balance is a wonderful art form in itself. The title and author’s name should be legible, proportionate and the font should complement the period, Voice and genre of the novel.

4. A deft hand at the artistry of cutting, cropping, outlining and resolution.
Taking a couple from their original background, dropping them into another, changing the color of their clothes or removing them (yes, I asked one artist to do this for me and she DID beautifully!) requires skill and devotion to art. 

Cutting off the heroine’s wisps of hair or shortening the hero’s nose is not quite what the doctor ordered. So this last talent, I do believe, is the whipped cream on the cake!

I also show you here my 3 self-pubbed novels, each of which was rendered by a superbly talented artist. For one person who comments here about the values of a superb artist or who gives the rest of us a warning about a boo-boo she encountered, I will give you one of my self-pubbed books. You will choose!
1.     LADY STARLING’S STOCKINGS, Regency erotic romantic suspense
2.     A LONG TIME COMIN’, contemporary erotic romance
IS THAT A GUN IN YOUR POCKET?, contemporary erotic romantic comedy and suspense

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