Friday, June 16, 2017

Cover Me!

Is there anything more exciting than a new book cover to dream and drool over? I love it when I find a new cover waiting for me in my email. It’s like Christmas! The excitement of opening that mail and finding the cover art that you and your artist have labored over sitting there waiting for your eyes to touch it. It’s an amazing feeling to see the characters in your head on the cover. 

But for some authors the process of getting their covers completed varies. I thought I’d explain how I like to do things in terms of my covers this week in case anyone is interested in how this whole wonderful thing works.

Firstly, for me, if possible, I like to find an image before I write one word. That isn’t always how things work however. Sometimes my muse is far ahead of me or my cover artist and the story is written before the cover art is done. And that’s okay, but it makes finding an image harder, in my opinion. If I have the image already purchased I can build the character’s physical traits to reflect the models on the cover.

So, the first step is searching for that right shot. I can tell you now that most stock sites are sadly lacking when it comes to good pictures of LGBTQ+ or interracial couples. Sometimes I get lucky but overall, I end up frustrated at the lack of erotic gay imagery. Most of the time the models in stock MM shoots looks like they’re scared to touch each other. And for those who know my books, one man being leery of putting a finger on another man just is not going to cut it. My men are all about the touching! Which is why I now almost exclusively use one of two MM photographers for my cover images. Yes, I have to pay for each picture but it is well worth it in my humble.

Okay, so we now have the image. Let’s say this one from the Point Shot Trilogy--

It’s paid for and the exclusive rights are mine. It’s now time to talk with my amazing cover artist about what I want the book to look like. It’s important to have a brand or a look that readers will see and say, “That’s one of V.L.’s books. I can tell by the cover!” My cover artist and I worked hard to get my brand set up when I began self-publishing my MM books. I wanted something that wasn’t the typical MM cover. It had to be filled with passion yet classic. We went with black and white imagery which makes the font and lettering pop, yet keeps the sultry feel of the images.

Each book has its own feel, but the lettering usually remains the same in a series, to keep a clean and consist cohesion from one book to the other. You can see how my brand runs through each book cover yet the individual book has its own identity and sensuality.

Once the digital cover is done then Amber, my cover artist, will begin working on the print version. This takes longer and generally has to wait until the book is completed to make sure the spine is the proper width. Most cover artists offer a package price for digital and print covers. 

Since so many of my novellas that had been with publishers were never in print – houses generally won’t pay the extra cost to put a thinner book into print – I’m now getting every darn book I write available in print. I like to see all my books lined up on my bookshelf. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. And they’re such gorgeous books that simply looking on them makes me happy.

Now the covers for my coauthored books with Rj Scott are  a little different. When Rj and I discussed the covers for our books, I knew that her brand was already established, and since it was her Love Lane Books publishing the Railers, I was more than happy to have the covers for our collaborations be in the style that her books are known for. 

It's a breathtaking cover and so is the one for the second book in the series. Yep, we have the cover done for First Season already. Rj's process is amazingly similar to mine in just about all ways, not just cover art, and she prefers to have the imagery ready so she has a model to use for inspiration. 

If you're looking to grab a copy of Changing Lines, it's now available for preorder. You can locate the link either in the bar on the right side of this post or under the amazing cover starring Jared and Tennant below:

If you're looking for superb cover artists give Amber at Reverie Desing & Formatting a call. She's my go-to cover design artist. 

You can also contact Meredith Russell on Facebook who does Rj's covers if you need a stunning cover for you upcoming book. 

Do you have a favorite style of cover? Is there a kind that you’re not fond of? Let me know down in the comments!

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