Monday, September 30, 2013

The Making of a Cover: Under His Kilt

Some covers are incredibly easy to make. The stock photo is dang near perfect and I don't have to do much but crop it, play with the colors and then add my title and name. Font is key and that can take eons, but for the most part it's a day's worth of work.

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, 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.


bettye griffin said...

Reminds me of something my cover designer and I went thru. We ended up throwing out the original picture and starting with another one. Thanks for sharing.

Melissa Blue said...

Sometimes the original idea just doesn't quite fit and pretty much nothing else either. lol

You're welcome!