Thanks to the fillies for inviting me back to guest blog with some of my favorite authors. It’s always a pleasure. I’ve decided to talk about a topic that’s been on my mind lately. Cover art. You have no idea how many questions I get about my Love Inspired covers, mainly from people wondering how much control I have over the final product. Well, it depends.
Here’s the process. About a year before one of my books hits the shelves I fill out the Art Fact Sheet (AFS) for the book. That means I have to go a website hosted by the publisher and answer pages of questions about the story. The questions fall under several categories, such as: Characters, Scenes, Synopsis, as well as a detailed page with basic questions surrounding theme, story hooks, date, setting, story timeline, etc. The character questions range from superficial things such as physical traits to deeper issues such as psychological wounds. The synopsis is basically a short and sweet summary of the story, something I would tell a friend at a party or sitting in the stands at a football game.
Most of the above is both easy and fun. However, I find the section about scene description difficult at best. The publisher wants three very distinct, yet detailed scene descriptions. This should be easy for me. I love putting my setting in my books. But knowing that a real artist will be using my words to create a picture suddenly makes the ideas freeze in my head. That’s why I love the last and final portion of my job in the cover art process—creating a separate file of the images I think best evoke the mood of my story. I get to cruise the Internet looking for pictures of my hero and heroine, as well as possible scenes or other similar book covers I think will work for my book as well, especially in terms of overall tone.
This final component really makes the story come alive for me in my head. It’s so effective that I now try to capture many of those types of images before I start writing a book rather than after.
I spent most of my time on this last phase for my current release, MISTAKEN BRIDE. The final product is one of my best covers yet. Well, in my opinion, anyway. In case you’re wondering, I chose images of Alex O’Loughlin and Kate Beckinsale for my hero and heroine.
Because the three books in the Love Inspired Historical Irish Brides series are so closely connected (each story highlights one of three sisters) the art department decided to create closely connected covers. If you look at Book 1: THE WEDDING JOURNEY by Cheryl St. John next to Book 2: MISTAKEN BRIDE by Renee Ryan beside Book 3: A BABY BETWEEN THEM you will see that all three covers have a similar color scheme, feel and overall tone. Each scene depicts the heroine of the story and a ship in some form or another.
What do you think of the three covers for the Irish Brides Series? Did the art department knock it out of the park, or what? Leave a comment and you’ll be included in a drawing to win one of three copies of MISTAKEN BRIDE. An additional grand prize winner will receive all three books in the Irish Brides series.
Renee Ryan writes for Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired. Her fabulous editor is Melissa Endlich. For more information, you can visit Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org