So, if you’re reading this, you’ve seen the spiffy new blog header. I’m feeling a bit like Gollum–I’m visiting it over and over, and struggling with the desire to rub my hands together and say, “My Precioussss!” When I started the blog, I knew I wanted a signature image that would evoke the genres and emotions that I like to play with in my writing. With that in mind, I spent an embarassingly large amount of time roaming stock photo sites, looking for images that suited me. In the end, I had about a dozen images bookmarked, but only three made the cut.
The first one is Levi and Glyn, from Bite Me Tender, or the kind of emotion that I was thinking of when I wrote them. See how comfortable they are with each other? I wanted to showcase that sense of complete trust. The centre could be a scifi setting, or even a fantasy setting. I liked the otherworldly look, the way it could be either/or. I don’t believe in arbitrary genre limits. The man on the other end, I originally picked him because his hair and eyes remind me of Ross, from A Knight in Shining Kevlar. There’s a certain air of vulnerability to him, as well, that underlies Ross’ personality. (Although, my betas have taken to calling him Levi, so Ross may have to settle for another model. More hours spent trolling through the stock photo sites, staring at pictures of good looking guys with not much on. And not drooling. Much. It’s a tough life…)
Unfortunately, I have zero talent in photo manipulation. I do, however, know an incredibly talented artist. And I said to her, “I was thinking of an image blend, with the guy on the left and the wolves on the right, with the scifi thing in the middle. What do you think?” (Cross my heart, that is exactly what I said to her. Right Erin?) And, well, you’ve seen the results. And it doesn’t look complicated, or hard, until you try to do it yourself. Just getting the saturation and fade balanced on the images would drive me bonker if I wasn’t already there (but that’s another story…).
Erin Lark is a writer of MF and MM erotica, as well as a creator of amazing book covers. If you click on the link in her name, it takes you to her storefront, where you can see premade covers, already sized for your book. All you have to do is give her the title and your author name, and you have an elegant, professional looking cover for your book. She’s even setting up to do custom covers.
As you can see, she can do covers for more than romance. In fact, I doubt there’s any sort of cover, or emotional impact, that she couldn’t recreate, given the appropriate images and a bit of trust. I found her great to work with, she did exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know for 100% sure what it was that I wanted. The benefits of hiring someone with that kind of artistic mindset–they can often see possibilities that would never occur to you. Oh, and did I mention she doesn’t charge an arm and a leg?
A lot of independant authors choose to do their own covers. I’m not sure it’s something I would recommend, unless you have digital art experience yourself. I know, for me, it would take me hours and I wouldn’t really be happy with the result, although I might be happy about improving my skills. But so much of a book’s sales rest on an attractive cover that I’d be reluctant to try it unless it was for a throwaway I wasn’t worried about making money on. Now, I did spend a bit of time looking for images, but once I had the ones I wanted, my time investment dropped to about 15 minutes in which to make a decision on which version I wanted and what changes I thought needed to be made. Compared to the three or four hours it probably would have taken me to come up with something that didn’t look like a four year old had pasted it together in art class. (Okay, I’m being generous. Six or eight hours is probably more accurate. I’m really not very talented that way.)
If you want to do your own cover because you want to challenge yourself, that’s awesome. More power to you–I wish I had your patience. For me, I often have trouble finding time to write. I can’t imagine trying to find hours to make a cover. If I can support another artist and get a cover that looks like it came from one of the BIG publishers, and not have the worry, stress and frustration of trying to do something with my minimal skills, I think that’s going to be the route I take. Even if it does cost a bit up front, the extra hours to write or edit will be worth it. Heaven knows, Knight’s gonna need it. Let’s just say we’ve blown past my wordcount estimate and I’ve given up trying to figure out where it’s going to stop. Somewhere around 50,000, at least. Which means a lot more writing each day needs to be done.
On the bright side, I’m at 4623 words so far for 2013 and well on my way to hitting my wordcount goal for the month early. And it turns out that Ross’ dad and Ben both share a love of classic cars. And that Ross is a woodworker. Funny the things you find out when you loosen up on the reins a bit.
Next Tuesday will be the first appearance of the Tuesday Tickles, where I will be posting a few lines from different works in progress or side stories that really aren’t going to appear anywhere but here. A good chance for anyone who’s curious to see if the story, or my style, is for you. I’m hoping to have a few lines to share each Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun together!
Kitty, looking for the door into summer.