I am in LOVE! With my new cover of course. 🙂 Here, for the first time on-line and for your viewing pleasure is my new cover for The Naked Truth, the second book in The Confederation Treaty series from Carina Press.
I’m so excited! The Naked Truth comes out in June. It’s a little darker than the first book, Alien Revealed.
I am so happy that both designs were by awesome artist Angela Waters! And because I am so delighted, I am sharing an interview I did with Angela as part of a workshop on cover design that I presented to my Romance Writers of America chapter last year.
Lilly: What do you feel is the most important element of book design? The characters portrayed, the fonts or colors? Something else? What do you think makes a reader pick up a book?
Angela: I believe that all of the elements are important. Each element of the design must tie into each other in a way that it creates an impact on the reader.
I think it really depends on the reader. I am drawn first by colors and second a key element that is the focus of the design.
Lilly: Do you work heavily with the author’s notes when designing the covers? An art fact sheet?
I normally use an art fact sheet. Some have just the basics like hair color, setting, and a couple of pertinent symbols. Others are more in depth and include pictures as character examples.
Sometimes I work from a few short facts given to me in chat. These can be interesting because I don’t have a blurb or a synopsis to give me an idea of what the story is about.
Lilly: Do authors ever send you images they like or refer to covers they admire? Do you find this helpful?
Many of the art forms I receive include covers that the author has seen and liked or the style would suit their book. It is very helpful. Sometimes you’ll look at the genre and blurb and it will not mention that the paranormal you are doing the cover for is also a romantic comedy.
Lilly: Do you read the synopsis of the story before beginning the design?
Angela: I always read the synopsis if it is included in the art form. It gives me a little insight to the plot and the characters.
Lilly: Do you work with a specific image in mind when you begin?
Angela: Sometimes. When I go on stock photo hunts sometimes pictures that have nothing to do with what I am working on will catch my eye because I know it would be perfect for another project I may have in my inbox.
Lilly: Do you work with stock images or do you use cover shoots or special images specifically taken for a particular book?
Angela: I work with stock images a lot. I also take photos of scenery or scan in items I may need for a specific book. Some of the effects on the covers are painted. I also make my own scenery using several stock photos and painting to get the effect I want.
Lilly: If using stock images, how do you keep the covers looking different?
Angela: I never use just a stock photo for a cover. If I have a photo that would work for a specific cover I always add more elements to it, change colors, add overlays or designs. Most of the covers I design use several stock photos combined with painting and special effects to get the look that I want.
Lilly: Do you use mock-ups or do you work directly on the computer with your work in design?
Angela: Most of the time I work directly from the computer. I invested in a drawing tablet so I wouldn’t have to draw anything out on paper and then scan it in J
Lilly: Do you design ebook covers and print covers? What do you see as the difference between the two?
Angela: I design both ebook and print covers. The only difference is you’re a designing a full cover flat when designing print. Ebook covers deserve the same attention to detail as a print cover and depending on the publisher, many ebooks do go to print.
Lilly: What about when designing covers for series’? Do you approach that differently?
Angela: I use the same process as any other cover when designing a series. The big difference is once the first cover of the series is designed, you have a template for the rest of the series. This saves a lot of time since the basic layout, style and fonts have already been designed.
Lilly: Once the cover is designed does someone within the company have to approve of the design? An art director, the publisher? How does the author fit in? Do they have any say?
Angela: It depends on the publisher I am working with. Several of the publishers I work with have different departments that have to approve the cover before it is finalized. I am also the Art Director of a small ebook publisher and handle the cover art approval process for them.
With each company the author fills out a cover art form with the book information and their wants and desires for cover art.
Lilly: If an author is unhappy with the design will you re-work the look of the cover? Is it more helpful if the author can point out something specific about the design that they are unhappy with?
Angela: Of course I will. It doesn’t happen often but I have redesigned from scratch because an author was not happy with the original. It is very helpful if the author is specific with the elements that they are unhappy with. This allows me to use the elements they did like and rework the elements that they didn’t like.
Lilly: How do you feel about cover art – is it art? Is it a commercial effort? What does it mean to you as the designer?
Angela: Yes it is, if I were using a stock photo and adding a little bit of text then I’d say no it isn’t art. Yes it is a commercial effort. I am designing the first thing a reader sees when they pick up a book. I want that cover to draw them in and want to know what is inside. I want the potential reader to want to buy that book because the cover art grabbed their attention.
I am a voracious reader and designing cover art has given me the opportunity to help bring an author’s words to life visually. I’m always searching for ways to improve my work and keep it fresh and different. I absolutely love my job!
Lilly PS – leave a comment – I will give away a copy of Alien Revealed to a commenter!