Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When should you buy cover art?

When I first started this journey of writing, I never expected to self-publish. I thought I was going to submit Always & Forever to a publisher and keep trying until I landed a contract. I never figured I would make the decision to completely forgo submitting anything to anyone. Yep, that's right. I never even tried for a rejection slip. I'm still of the belief that I could probably get a contract, especially with all the smaller publishers available for romance titles. I really, really considered submitting to The Wild Rose Press and Samhain, who both seem reputable and I believe my work is strong enough to have warranted a contract. But I became worried about all the changes I might be forced into making, and whether A&F would still be the story I set out to tell. 
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So, once I made the decision to self-publish, I had the funnest task of all. Picking out cover art! In reality, getting my cover art for A&F wasn't all that fun. Don't get me wrong, in the end, I ended up loving the cover art. However, apparently red heads with curly hair aren't popular model choices, and my cover artist had a hard time finding a woman that would satisfy me to represent Lilly. I'm still not happy with the 'Lilly' on this cover. My Lilly is sweet and a bit fragile in my mind. This Lilly is scheming and a little sneaky looking. However, since Lilly is also a suspected murderess, I think this model does work, and the cover has absolutely gorgeous colors that I love! 

All in all, I think LFD Designs for Authors did a fabulous job!

Now I'm in the editing stages of Crime & Passion, so I've decided to commission the cover art from that. When I first started writing Crime & Passion, I saw a picture of the perfect couple to represent Donovan and Madeline. These people were an exact match of what was in my mind, but I decided to wait until the book was finished. I don't know, for some reason I just felt like that was what I was supposed to do. So, I contacted my cover artist...Guess what? She sold my perfect couple! Now what? Now, she will have to find someone else and it's back to the drawing board with me. I'm so disappointed. Hopefully, she can find a couple that I will at least be marginally happy with, but I realized I made a huge mistake. I have these characters firmly in my mind now. It's going to be hard to be happy with any art work, no matter how lovely, because the characters won't look right. She doesn't have time for the art work until the first week of January. At that time, I'll share with you whatever we come up with. She is fabulous at what she does, so I'm sure it will turn out, but I really wish I had ordered my cover art as soon as I found the models I liked. 

While finishing up writing Crime & Passion, my muse starting dinging me with ideas for my next book. She was rather insistent. Unfortunately, once I know the ending of a story, my muse is bored and thinks we should be all finished with the telling of that one. She always starts in on the next book, no matter how hard I will her to behave. My solution this time was to spend an afternoon listening to all her ideas. I wrote a blurb for her new idea and told her I would write it, but she had to finish Crime & Passion first. So, I had a vague idea of my characters for the new project and the title - Love & Deception. 

By pure accident, a cover artist I know through Triberr was offering a sale on a premade cover art. I decided to look since I had a new book in mind. I didn't like the models because the man had long hair, and told her thanks, but no thanks. She said, "What are you looking for? I can change the models." Well, I only had the vaguest idea, so I didn't need to be too picky. A blonde woman, a muscular man with short, dark hair. Those were my only qualifications. 

Holy cow! She came back with this smoking hot cover and it was the most fun I've ever had picking a cover! I love this. I haven't even written the book yet, but decided to share. Here's the cover and the blurb as I've come up with it so far:

Coming in Fall 2013
Nick Kendall works for a top-secret government operation as a spy. He takes pride in his job, protecting unsuspecting Americans from danger they never know about. But his new assignment to investigate a suspected terrorist makes him question everything he’s ever known. 

Carlie Hollis is the proud proprietor of a struggling delicatessen in downtown Portland. Working twelve-hour days to meet the demands of her growing customer base, she has no time for romance.  Nick sweeps into town and sweeps Carlie off her feet, changing her mind about love. She never suspects he is playing a role, only interested in her secrets.

As Carlie falls deeper in love, Nick struggles against his own feelings. It’s against the rules to get involved with the target, but his heart doesn’t want to listen to his brain.

Everything changes with a single phone call, and Nick receives new orders from his boss: Kill the target.

What about that art, huh? I love it! No fuss, no worry. Took me about five seconds to say, "That's perfect!" Now I have another cover artist who's work I love. This was made by edh Graphics

So, I began to wonder what everyone else does? Do you pick your cover art out first and then fit the story around the artwork or do you try to make your art match what you've written? I had no clue this house and lake were in my story, but now my muse is pitching all sorts of new ideas about how they get to that house and what happens at the house. It's awesome. I think my days of picking art out after the fact are over!

What about you guys? Before or after? Which is better and why?

Happy cover picking, my friends! Have a terrific day!


  1. I write the book (sometimes the writing comes even before the exact theme and pitch sentence). The cover usually starts forming in my mind as the book reveals itself to me. I have a cover artist I love working with. He's in the process of putting final touches on my latest novel.

    1. In the past I've written before I knew exactly the theme and pitch as well. This isn't the final, polished pitch for Love & Deception, I'm sure, but it was enough to get the cover.

      That's great you have an artist who can replicate your vision. My artists are both great, but since I like people on the cover, I'm the one who makes things difficult ;-) Thanks for the comment! Good luck with the new book!

  2. Still love the cover, Chantel! Great post for indie authors!

    1. Thanks, Melinda! So glad you like it. I'm very pleased!

  3. For my first two books, I worked on the cover ideas after a couple of drafts. For my third one, the cover art came out in a private group. It had been proposed for another person's book, but she didn't want it. I asked the artist if I could have it and she modified the sand scene and made it different. Fortunately, I already had beach scenes in my book, but I definitely made sure to put in the footsteps in the sand near the end.

    I guess I don't worry about it. If I see something I like, I scoop it up.

    1. I wish I'd scooped up what I liked for Crime & Passion when I first saw it. That's definitely a good policy you have!

      I'm really excited about your upcoming book. Hidden Under Her Heart is going to be very good!

  4. You know, Wayne Dyer when he decides to write a book picks a title and has a cover created. Then he sits the cover in front of him to help keep him on track as he writes - plus it is a pure law of attraction thing. "Look here it is, the finished book!"

    My problem is I usually do not know the title until after I'm done.

    That is a FABULOUS cover though for Love & Deception.

    Who did it?

    1. That is a great idea about using it for inspiration. I can tell you, I am very motivated and inspired to start writing. However, since I'm editing Crime & Passion still, Love & Deception will have to wait a little bit. Still, it is very exciting getting the cover art! True about the title...titles are tricky.

      The artist for the Love & Deception title is edh Graphics -

      Thanks for the comment! Happy writing!

  5. Wow, You're seriously smoking on the ideas and covers. I'm envious. I'm still trying to grasp finishing a trilogy. Congrats, Chantel. Looks like you have plenty of inspiration and drive. Good on you.
    Great cover BTW


    1. Thanks, Travis! Sometimes the ideas won't stop ;-) I feel so fortunate to have been able to find this cover. And, I can't WAIT for you to get working on that 3rd book! I have to know how Tyler's story ends!


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