Something useful… and a shameless plug.

I’ve been meaning to get around to this but have been pretty busy lately. When I first started this blog I intended for it to not be all about my generally random thought patterns and musings. I also intended for it to have some useful things for newbie aspiring authors like me in it too.

Today I figured I’d go over a minor but important thing that I’ve pretty much chosen because I dealt with it just a month ago:

So you’ve written the Great American Novel, are all set to publish (E or otherwise) and now you need a cover.

There are a lot of talented cover artists out there. My personal favorite (and here’s the shameless plug) is Clarissa Yeo of Yocla designs… You can find her at http://yocladesigns.com/.

Now I’ve saved some of the important things from my last correspondence with Clarissa when it came to my latest book Shattered & Scarred. Keep in mind that Shattered & Scarred is the third book cover Clarissa has done for me so we’ve been through this a few times.

I finished the book and needed a cover so I emailed Clarissa with this:

Hey you!

So I’ve been writing… again… and I am about two books into what is shaping up to be a series and the first of these bad boys is ready for a cover. This time I come prepared with links!  

The first book’s title is Shattered & Scarred with a subtitle of The Sacred Hearts MC Book I

I went surfing for some images and this by far is the first couple in the series. The only thing that needs to be changed is the eye color on both and her hair color. The length of her hair is perfect. The length of his hair is perfect these two are just freaking perfect!

http://m.shutterstock.com/images/40633336

The changes:

His eyes are a silvery blue. I would love for him to be in his motorcycle vest which I can get you references for what that is supposed to look like and what the patches are supposed to say if you can take on the project.

Her eyes are golden and she has auburn hair.

This couple is PERFECT in every aspect for the book couple. The only other thing I would need changed is she needs to look a little more frightened like she’s hiding behind him instead of all meow sexy.

Okay so that’s a bit much on the changes but you’re awesome which is why I am asking about this all up front.

The only other addition is that the Motorcycle Club’s logo needs to be in here somewhere and that’s where it gets tricky. The logo is of the sacred heart with some changes made. In case you don’t know what it is, here is an example of the sacred heart:

http://m.shutterstock.com/images/56968042

What I need for the motorcycle club’s logo is a more human heart, wrapped in barbed wire instead of thorns, the valves of the heart morph into steel motorcycle tailpipes and the flames hover above it from the tail pipes.

What I would like is basically for you to hold onto the logo image as I’ll have it appearing in some form or function on every book cover I commission for the series (3 so far)… The MC logo can appear as a patch, a tattoo, on a tee shirt… See where I’m going? It just has to be somewhere on every cover.

What do you think? Can it be done, and would you be interested and the $64,000 dollar question… Do you have time?

Out of everything I have done so far this one, by far, is my baby… the project I am most proud of and excited to market.

You’ve done such an uber amazing job on everything so far which is why you’re my first pick for this project. 

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Andrea
 
That was a tall order! Most of the time you don’t need to be so freaking nit-picky and detail oriented with a cover order but if you’ve got a good cover artist  (my opinion here) then they’ll go the extra mile and some (depending on the individual) will actually appreciate the image links as it makes their job a bit easier.
So out of that single email came the following:
 
 
 
For the logo, which was not Clarissa’s usual thing at all! She did this as a favor to me and with much trepidation and I thought it turned out pretty bad-ass!
 
 
Now as much of you know, the book in question is a Contemporary Romance Novel surrounding a fictional Motorcycle club. This was the very first attempt at a cover for the series that came through:
 
 
 
 
Mmmmmm… close. I had to send it back. Why? Well these are bikers, not vampires and not anything supernatural and I got to tell you I only had to ask for two minor changes. 1. Tone down the eyes and 2. Make them a little less pale. Those two changes my friends, made a world of difference! We went from the Twilight rejects above to this:
 
 


 

POW! Project completed and a pretty decent cover for the content contained therein, if I do say so myself.

So there you have it. A glimpse into the inner workings of cover art design for your project. All in all this is about what the whole exchange looked like.

1. This is what I need can you do it?

2. Yes, I can do it, when do you need it by?

3. I need it by XX/XX/XXXX

4. Okay cool. I have the time to do it around XX/XX/XXXX

It’s important to note here… Do not rush your cover artist. I had my project finished and ready to go but I gave Clarissa weeks in which to work on it. The second book in the series isn’t set to release until early September 2014. Right now it’s July 2014 and I’ve sent her the next cover request already. Give your cover artist the time to work on your cover and your cover will turn out fantastic.

Now, about two to three weeks after this initial four part exchange I get an email.

5. I’ve started your project can you give me more detail here, here, here and here?

6. No problem, I want this, this, this and I’m easy about XYZ just do what you think is best/easiest for you. (Clarissa and I have a fairly decent working relationship after three pushing four covers so I’m comfortable letting her have full creative license in a few areas.)

7. Okay how does this look? *First images come through*

8. I like ABC but can we maybe do this, this and this over here and there?

9. Sure! I can’t really do anything about that as I feel it’s a little bit beyond my ability can we compromise? :/

Sometimes you absolutely must be willing to compromise! In this case I was asking about the fire over the sacred heart image. Fire is one of the most notoriously hardest things to work with/do and it was a bit of a no-go translating what I saw in my head to an actual image but on this caxe the ball of flame/spark was the compromise and it worked for me!

10. Sure! You know what? That works for me! Now can we adjust this and that?

11. Okay here, how about this?

12. Perfect! It’s a wrap! Send me my invoice so’s I can pay you!

So there you have it. Another successful cover art exchange. Hopefully someone heading into the unchartered waters of having a cover designed for them comes across this and it helps you through the process a bit. I can honestly say, the first cover Clarissa and I ever did together was an exercise in patience for the both of us! After all, your written piece is your baby and you want it to look it’s best, but it’s important to remember, your cover artist pretty much feels the same way! Their art is their baby too and they want it to look their best! So probably the most important piece of advice I can give you is to be patient with your cover artist. They’re a professional and they want you to be happy as their client and they want the visual representation of your piece to look as stellar as you want it to!

Happy hunting, may you find the perfect artist to translate your dream into a reality!

~A.J.

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