Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cover Art Woes

I'm thinking on this as right now, I'm trying to get ideas together for two books coming out Hard Fall (Winter '08) and Inland Empire (Print - Summer '09)

Unless you, the author, are a talented cover artist (*cough* Leigh *cough* Anne *cough*) you have to rely on the kindness/talent/ability to mesh with your cover artist. And if you’re stuck with photoshop covers (some of which can be beautiful), you’re stuck with stock photos for the most part. And while there is a great variety out there, you’re often stuck trying to find something that embodies the characters.

Honestly, I can find hot men all over the place. Pictures that are exactly how I see my characters…and I can’t use them. Like someone copying my book or parts of my books for their own use, I can’t just take a photo I like. I have to have a license to use it. The photos I have here are from a site where I do have an account and got a free license to use them (some sites have a certain amount of free stock, but its rarely the best stuff, and usually only suitable for the web). Without the license, I’m infringing on the photographer’s copyright.

The other problem is the good shots, the sexy guys, have been used and used and used. So when you see the same guys face on a cover, that’s why. My cover for Twice the Cowboy ended up also as the cover a het romance. We both ended up with the same stock photo. Now, my cover artists have usually been very cool to work with. Working with me, asking me to submit photos I like and elements I want to see, then they play with it. I’ll often get five to ten rough versions to look at. And then we play.

Now the original art is often better…for the sheer fact you’re not going to have the same cover as someone else. If it’s a poser program (think cheap computer generated art) it may not look so great, but no one else has that shot. Computer art, where there’s actual drawing involved (just using styluses and such) can be gorgeous – Anne Cains work. But like my cover for Inland Empire (which I like) I didn’t get to see it until it was done. There was no way to change it because it’d been specifically created for the book.



So, just some thoughts, when y’all are looking over covers and wonder about the whys…there you go.

2 comments:

Sassy said...

I suppose that all presses have different rules, but one complaint I've seen a fair amount of is having guys on the cover that look NOTHING like the main characters. Readers hate it, writers hate it...

How often does this happen and what, if any, say does the author have?

Can you do a successful cover for a book like this that doesn't have people on the cover?

Anonymous said...

I do feel bad for the authors, because you are limited in what you can use. But at the same time, I feel the publisher should try their best to get the best covers for these books. After all I'm a reader who judges the book by its cover.

I have to agree with sassy, about having guys on the cover that look nothing like the character's in the actual story.

Loose Id, Total-E-Bound and Samhain have great covers. I bet author's love submitting to them, they always bring classy covers.

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