The Cover Gal

I’ve got to get a new cover!

Have you ever wondered how covers get made? Well, in romance fiction these days it starts with a stock photo. There are hundreds and hundreds of stock photos sitting, waiting to be chosen for a book cover. So, how do we go about choosing? I’m getting ready to have a cover made for my next book, Concealed (Hiding From Love #2), so let’s take a look at how I’m going to choose the photo:

1. Both my other covers have couples on them, so in order to keep a consistent look for the series, this one will have to be a couple too.

2. It’s not always possible to get models who look like your main characters, but I always try to. My hero, Gabe, has blond hair, and my heroine, Alexis, is a brunette.

3. What are Gabe and Alexis like? Well, they’re hot. Steamy. But also playful and snarky. What they aren’t is sweet.

So, with those parameters in place I start the hunt. Through pages and pages and pages of photos. Only about one in twenty even remotely fits my three qualifications, here’s what I see (and please note, these photos are comps, for illustrative purposes only and may not be used in any other way, all copyrights apply):

Shot of a passionate young people in love



So, the top photo is fun, it captures Gabe and Alexis’s crazy side. The guy’s not really blond and the girl’s not really brunette, but they’re both in between, so it might do. The green background will limit the choices for the color of the title letters. The middle photo is fun, we get a peek of tattoo on the guy’s shoulder, which Gabe does have. But, even though they’re in bed, there’s not much in the way of skin, and the girl is a redhead not a brunette. The bottom picture is on the steamier side. The guy is light haired, the girl is a true brunette. The red rose petals give a splash of color that could be picked up in the title lettering.

With any photo, the designer can manipulate it by the cropping, and other effects, including things like adding tattoos where there were none, and creating different backgrounds, and even altering the models’ haircolor. The more of these things you ask a designer to do, the more that cover will cost. Generally, covers for paranormal and fantasy books have the most of these manipulations, straight contemporary novels, the least.

It’s not easy, huh? And there are about one thousand other photos that I haven’t yet looked at. Sacrifices always have to be made — the hair color, the eye color, the pose, the background. Something won’t be exactly right, but eventually we’ll find something that is close enough to how we picture those characters and their world, and we’ll ship the photo off to a designer who will make it into a gorgeous cover. Then we’ll sit and hope that someone else doesn’t think that photo is the best one for their cover too!

Here’s today’s Cover Gal entry, Natural Harmony, by Kate Roth. Enjoy!



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