Under His Kilt was not one of those covers. Let's start with talking about the lone and original stock photo. Since it's so not safe for work, I'll just say a man with a towel riding really low is, um...Yeah. So... the man needed a good shave before I could use it on a cover. I wanted the cover to convey this was an erotic romance, but not THAT much of an erotic romance (though it is pretty dirty). After spending hours photoshopping out pubic hair, I decided I still needed something to cover that area.
This is what I came up with.
By no means did I think this would be the final cover, but I had a core look. I wasn't a fan of all the red, but from all the black surrounding him any other color didn't quite work. I also needed to figure out how to get something with a tartan into the cover so it ties in with a title. But, this book could look like an erotic romance. A contemporary one at that, because we romance readers are hardwired to think Scottish = Historical.
I worked some more and came up with this:
I was ok with this and something or the other nagged me about the overall cover, but it was serviceable. I knew I'd revisit it the closer to the release date. The edits came in and I finished them. I got through my first round of proofing. There was no more waylaying the inevitable. I had to fix this cover. There was no way in hell I'd go with this as the final.
So less than a month before the release, I scratched that as the cover. The two goals I couldn't budge on is that it needed to look like an erotic romance and it needed to look like a contemporary.
I liked it but it was still missing something. Plus, his coloring looked off because of the light. Plus, nothing about it really said contemporary. At this point I did something drastic because I honestly couldn't see then potential of the cover. Let's just call it the attack of the blue-green alien.
Now if I were writing a paranormal this could be fine, but I wasn't. I give myself brownie points for the simple fact you'd be able to see this sucker in thumbnail (from space), along with the title and my name. Needless to say, I scraped this sucker.
And then I called on a friend in the middle of the night to help me. The idea well had run dry. I'd helped her create a draft of her own cover she wanted to use a comp. She suggested I used the same technique and coloring. I honestly had nothing to lose at this point. She punted the idea of having a bed or a night stand and that meant moving him over. Also, that damn tartan needed to get in there.
Now I'd gone a step too far to the left with his coloring, but I liked the idea of a woman instead of an object. It felt more personal. When you have a nekkid man in nothing but a towel you don't want him by a nightstand. Maybe a bed, but...you get the gist. Anyway, we were on to something. The woman didn't work because she didn't feel contemporary. She felt like a Geisha to me and ding, ding, ding that rings like a historical. We hit stock sites. At this point it was like 1/2 in the morning. So our emails were getting silly.
Finally, I did this:
And that was the last draft or I'd end up screaming for bloody murder. Plus, I absolutely loved it. It looks contemporary. It looks erotic. It haz tartan. Booyah!
So, that's how a cover is made. Sometimes, because if it was all the time I'd hire out.
*This book will be released on October 10th.