Sunday, June 4, 2017

Some of my Book Covers - Cover Love

I will admit that I am passionate about book cover design, whether I open that email sent by a publisher and see the cover they created for the first time, or I open the email which my cover designer has created based upon our discussions. I love seeing the cover of my works-in-progress, even when it's not quite right then and there, yet it ends up being a perfect mix of many opinions. The book cover stage is perhaps my favorite part of this business. Okay, I'm a little obsessed with it, and I thank God I've had some amazing cover designers who understood that. (Vonda Howard and Rebecca Pau)

There were covers that I did not particularly like initially, i.e. the publisher's first cover for MAY DECEMBER SOULS. This was my self-pubbed version in 1998:

This was HarperCollins' first re-release version in 2002 - I let my editor know that it was, uh, not depicting the characters or the story, at all. (I wanted to say more)

They ended up changing it and we went with this one (rarely happens, if ever), which I loved. 💓

With THE CHOCOLATE SHIP, at first I didn't see the need for the big straw hat, but I learned to acquiesce, and grew to adore it. I learned to trust, lol!

I did a self-pub cover for the re-release of THE CHOCOLATE SHIP that I won't even show you, as I have no idea what I was thinking. 👎😝

Next was the HarperCollins cover for HOT BOYZ:

On all of my titles, they had used a very expensive artist named Sergio Baradt (back then most publishers used illustrations as opposed to photo images). Sergio had created the image with eight men who all looked the same. The three main characters were not highlighted. But after they asked me to describe each of the three men in detail, Mason, Claude, and Torino, they went to their internal art department and had them change the character's looks, making them more prominent.

Most of my covers by mainstream publishers were amazing. A couple that I liked the best were: DR. FEELGOOD from Kensington Books, and EROTIC CITY from Hachette Books

When I self-published HOT GIRLZ, I really wanted to use this cover by Sergio Baradt, and I reached out to him, but trust me, I could not afford his $1500 quote, though it would've been perfect. These three ladies depicted Mercedes, Venus, and Sequoia to a T:

Also, did you know that when you get your rights back on a book, you must create your own cover if you wish to re-release it? I have done that quite often, and have even changed some ebook covers a second time along the way, which I'm doing now with HOT BOYZ and HOT GIRLZ, to make them more compatible as series titles to the third book in the trilogy, L.A. HUSBANDS & WIVES: The Hot Boyz Finale, which releases on 8/1/17.


A couple of my self-pubbed titles that I really like are MORGAN'S MAKEOVER, and TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY:

Here's an interesting twist in creating a cover, and then changing it altogether before the release, as in YOU'VE GOT IT BAD: The Dr. Feelgood Sequel, though I really liked them both:

How do you feel about book covers? For me, once I see the cover, if I have the luxury of it being completed before I finish the manuscript, I kick into another gear simply from the motivation of the visual. The story feels more real.

Also, of course, the cover is the first impression for the reader, and plays majorly into their buying decisions. For that reason alone, it is critical.

Happy writing, happy book producing (including those awesome covers), and happy promotion/sales!!


authorlindathorne said...

These are beautiful book covers and the fact that they each represent a different published book is impressive. Book covers, to me, are extremely important. If a publisher stuck me with one I didn't like, I'd keep at them until it was changed. I've actually bought books before based on the book cover and I haven't been disappointed with any of those purchases yet. This was a interesting post. You've worked with more than one publisher and also self-published. That, in itself, could be the topic for another post.

Liane Spicer said...

Love this post! Your covers are generally stunning--but what was HarperCollins thinking with that first one? LOL!

I was a bit taken aback by my first cover from Dorchester Publishing, but it was my debut book, I liked the lavender colour--and I didn't want to give trouble and get blacklisted forever! A few months after the 2008 release I discovered that cover had already been in stores--I can probably still find it on the 'net--on a book by your pal Gail McFarland that she had withdrawn from Dorch before its release. I was floored! The publisher had just slapped my title on the same darned artwork! So much for studying my story and characters and coming up with a unique cover, right?

The cover for my second romance novel, which was my option book for Dorchester who went out of business before it could be published, was one I designed myself. I found the images, did a rough sketch for the wonderful artist Kim Killion, and I absolutely adore the final result. It is stunning--and such an improvement on the first!

For my other indie titles, I obsessed about the covers pretty much the way you did, coming up with themes and finding stock images myself, sometimes before the story was written. I've liked the results.

Amy M. Reade said...

I love that you gave examples of all (well, most) of your covers. They're all amazing. I have liked all my covers so far with the exception of one. When I told the publisher I didn't like it, they told me they were "going in a different direction" with that book and making it more contemporary-looking. To this day it remains my lowest selling book and I'm firmly convinced the cover has a lot to do with it.

G.B. Miller said...

I like all but one of my covers for my books. The one I don't like will be changed as soon as I can get the funds to do so. I agree that a good cover is the key to getting that book picked up by the reader (including myself) and the cover I have isn't quite there.

Marissa Monteilh said...

Linda, thanks so much! You keeping at publishers on covers is very important, I'm glad you did. I just might post about my publisher and self-pub journeys. Thx for your comment!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Liane, yes, what were they thinking on the 1st one. That was a hot mess, lol!! I'm glad you liked the results of your covers, putting much energy into them, as they are so very important. I appreciate your feedback and camaraderie, sis. Much love!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hi Amy, thanks for the compliment! Sometimes we as authors do know best and in the end, when you can see the result of acquiescing, it can be an "I told you so" moment. Thanks for sharing!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hello G.B., yes, you will know why it's right. "Not quite there" has been a feeling I've had quite a few times. Stay at it, and congrats!!