One of the very nice things about being traditionally published with a publishing house is that there’s an art department that deals with making marketable covers. They take care of assigning models to represent your story on the cover of your book. The author does have to fill out an Art Fact Sheet to describe the hero and heroine’s physical traits. At the same time, the author also describes the theme of the story, any major turning points and locations of particular interest that would enhance the cover. For me, the majority of the time, they’ve gotten it right. Not that I’m always thrilled with my covers or titles, but for the most part I am.
The one negative about being traditionally published is that the author has no control over the final artistic vision of the cover. So when I received the rights back to a story I’d written, I decided to self-publish it. I am still in the process of doing just that. You may have heard me speaking about this book in the past. It’s been months – the major drawback?
We can’t find the right cover art. Yes, there are pre-made covers available at several online sites and many images to go through, but believe it or not, there aren’t a slew to choose from bearing good-looking western/country/cowboys or scenes.
Well as luck would have it, my son-in-law is a photographer and he suggested that we do our own cover shoot. He’s a talented guy and I only had to think about it for a few seconds before agreeing it was a great idea. But that still left us with who to use for our hero and heroine.
That’s where my daughter Nikki came in. She’s auburn-haired and petite just like my heroine. And their age range is the same. Her dear friend, and Zac’s brother-from-another-mother, ( the best man at their wedding and Godfather to their little girl), Tony was willing to help out. As you can see in the pictures, Tony is tall, dark and handsome- the perfect hero.
We chose Paramount Ranch for the setting. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s where the series, Medicine Woman was originally filmed and the historical town is still set up, complete with livery stable, sheriff’s office, wagons, train depot and gorgeous landscapes of the Santa Monica Mountains. On a side note, we took a field trip there with my nephew’s class years ago and saw them shoot one of the episodes. Jane Seymour made a special point to come out to speak to the children and she was lovely to them. So, the area had always stuck out in my mind.
We had a few poses in mind and I learned a lot about placement and lighting. Believe it or not, near dusk is the best time to shoot. Bright sunshine and the shadows are gone. We only had an hour of good lighting that day, but I am happy with the results.
So not only was I the babysitter of the cutest new little cowgirl in town, but I was helping with direction. I never thought I’d hear myself tell my daughter, get closer, hold him around the waist and look passionately into his eyes, to a man other than her hubby. Many shoots were tossed out because everyone was laughing too hard. If nothing else, we had a great time!
Now, I need your help in deciding which picture best depicts the story and reflects the title. Keep in mind, this isn’t the finished product, there may be more graphics on the cover, but I’m asking what scene works the best. I’ve captioned them by number. I’ll pick three random winners for a prize of one of my available backlist books. I appreciate your input on this!!
Here’s a brief synopsis of THE COWBOY CONTRACT:
Trey Walker was cursed when it came to women, so he never expected to invite veterinarian, Maddie Brooks to live under his roof at 2 Hope Ranch. But the petite, wholesome redhead needed a place to stay and practice medicine after a fire in Hope Wells nearly cost her everything she owned. And Trey needed her expertise. The bargain they struck seemed to be made in heaven. If only the Walker Curse wouldn’t rear its ugly head.
Maddie Brooks knew the temporary arrangement she made with Trey was strictly business. For over a year she’d tried to get the handsome rancher to notice her, but the man simply wasn’t interested. Now, she’d be living at his ranch and using his barn to treat animals. She owed him her livelihood, but oh, how she wished for something more. Would Trey give her reason to hope?