Saturday, March 28, 2009

Working on the Cover

Jennifer here. This week we've been working on my new cover for Highland Blessings. It's been an enlightening experience. The first image I saw was a black and white sketch with notations such as the hero and heroine should have different plaids, blue sky, and mountains in the background. The illustrator had written in notes regarding the characters' expressions. It's neat to see how people are viewing my book and how hard they are working to make it come together.

Then I got a copy of the colored version of the sketch. It put things in an even better perspective. They got the hair color right on both my hero and heroine. I had worried about that because I've lost count of the number of books I've read where the images on the cover didn't match the stories on the inside. Even before I became a writer--even as a teenager--that used to irk me beyond reason. So coming from a reader's viewpoint, I think they really care about that kind of thing.

I sent in several requested changes with an apology in case I was requesting too many changes. Not only am I a writer, but I'm also a graphic designer, and so, images, color, contours, symmetry, all those things really catch my eye. I worried about being a perfectionist. Me putting up with myself is not the same as others having to put up with me. I will work on something for hours until I'm satisfied with it, while others would have already moved on to something else. (I think the music for my video book trailer is forever branded in my husband's brain because I've replayed it so many times. It had to be perfect!!)

The good news is my editor said my changes weren't too much and that she agreed with what I had sent in. A sigh of relief lifted from my shoulders. Being new at this, I'm not sure what to expect. I've heard so many other authors complain over the years about their covers and how they didn't get much input. I'm thrilled that Abingdon Press is so easy to work with and my editor is so good and such a godly woman who isn't afraid to ask for prayer from her authors.

After that, we worked on the backcover copy. And my F.A.I.T.H. sisters were a fingertip away at giving me input--thanks ladies! It's so wonderful to have a group of friends to rely on at unexpected moments. My F.A.I.T.H. sisters have always been there since we've started this little blog together. And our friendship keeps growing as we grow in our writing careers.

What were some of the changes I requested?
  • More muscles. Bryce MacPhearson is a warrior and he works outside training with his men on a regular basis.

  • Sword. As a warrior, I don't think Bryce would have gone anywhere without his weapons, or at least a sword.

  • Longer hair. My heroine needed longer hair for the medieval era. They didn't cut hair that often and it wasn't uncommon for a woman to have hair down to her waist. It was considered a beauty and a virtue.

  • More plaid colors. My hero needed brighter colors in his plaid, but my heroine's colors were perfect! I loved her gown, the color, the way the sleeves were drawn.

  • Lighter horse color. Ahern is my hero's horse and he is gray. I asked that the gray be lightened. The reason I asked for this is because as images are transferred online through the Internet and viewed from computer to computer, the brightness/contrast will be set at different levels for each computer. The brighter the colors, the better they will be portrayed even on computer screens that are set at darker levels. I know this from being a website developer. Online colors are typically viewed by RGB colors, and printed colors for the actual bookcover are set at CMYK. It doesn't seem like it would make much difference, but it does.

    I can't wait to see a new version with the changes. And as soon as I receive a final copy of my cover, the video booktrailer I've created will be ready.

    1. I can't wait to see the cover or the trailer!

    2. I can't wait to see it, Jenn!!

      I was just learning about RGB and CMYK the other day while trying to design some bookmarks. I think I'm going to have to hire someone to help! Jenn, I may be contacting you privately!


    3. Jenn,
      I can't wait to see your cover!! How exciting.