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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The trials and tribulations of cover art requests...

To all the authors out there, how many of you have had to fill out a cover art request form? If you're published or in the process of being published, I'm sure you have. What do you put on there? What requests do you have? Your vision of your book - your baby, that you've worked on for months, sometimes years - is going to need a "face" to go with that story. What do you really want on there? If you could design it yourself, what would you do? What colors do you want? What fonts do you like? Do you have a picture already in your mind? What would you hate?

The next time you fill out a cover request, think about all those things. It may be just me, because I am so new to the business, that I really need lots of detail. I know that there are several publishers and cover artists who really don't give the author any input on the cover, but if you do sign on with a publisher who really cares about what you want, please think about what you really want. Draw it out on a piece of paper - even with stick figures. Get a good idea of how your composition needs to be.

I've had a great introduction into these cover art requests - some were very simple requests, some a little odd (one author asked me for a dog peeing in the snow). Regardless of the request, I always try to make the author's vision come to life. There are brilliant artists out there (Anne Cain, Tuesday Dube, April Martinez all come to mind) who could create masterpieces out of some of the crazier requests. Me? Not so much. I try very hard to make the cover look like it represents the story. I need the author's help to come up with a cover. I can't see inside the author's head. More than likely, I don't even get to read the book until after it's published, so I have no idea what to do without extensive input from the author.

So, when those cover art forms come along - really think about it. Your cover artist will thank you. If not, she'll make fun of you on all her chat loops.

Just sayin'. :)



Jambrea said...

I know I learned a lot from you on how much info to put out there for my covers. Of course life would be grand if you could just do all my covers. heehee

Erin Sinclair said...

I have dreams of illustrating childrens books and doing cover art one day in addition to writing. Writing and art are my passions, so I believe it will be a happy melding. I've known cover artists who think too much info is too much and they want bare minimum. I know one cover artist who prefers as much info as possible then that person finds a happy middle. Personally I prefer as much info as possible in order to capture the author's visions of their story, but that's just me as well.

Valerie T. said...

Jambrea! I wish I could do all your covers too! *fingers crossed*

Erin - it's hard to find a balance between what the author wants, what's available, and what a designer can actually do with the software programs they have. Ideally, I would love to have models at my disposal so they could pose for me, but that's not going to happen.

We try to make the author's vision come to life, and some work out great, some not so much. :D


Erin Sinclair said...

Points taken, will keep in mind as soon as I become proficient with the programs. If you don't mind my asking which programs do you use?


Valerie T. said...

Hey Erin - I use Photoshop CS3 primarily. A little InDesign and some Illustrator too.

I recently got a graphics tablet that I'm learning my way around that, but it's been fun so far.


Lynn Crain said...

Since I've been a cover artist before, I can definitely say that there is some value to this.

There were so many people who just didn't give input...don't you get it from looking at my book? To the others who would give too much information and you could never please them.

Still, some of my favorite covers are with eXtasy books...go look up Operation Seduction...and you'll see what I mean!


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