Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cover Art

Lady of the Lange Lijsen,

James McNeill Whistler,


Below are my answers to some of the questions from the Carina Press cover art fact sheet. It was an interesting exercise to try to put oneself in the place of a cover artist and describe story elements appropriate to a cover.

Genre: urban fantasy/magic realism.

I learned later that the novel may be marketed as a paranormal romance/paranormal mystery. Readers are not as interested/fussy about precise classifications as writers tend to be, so I'm good with that. Further, Marketing knows more about what currently invites readers to pick up a book than I ever will.

Sub-genres/Themes: romance, suspense, justice.

Visual Hook/Mood: dark, with an undercurrent of dry wit.

I interpreted this question as one necessary to determine primary colour choices for the cover. Since danger surrounds Lillie straight from the opening line when a dead man strolls into her bathroon, cheerful shades (or pretty flowers and butterflies) would not be appropriate.

Level of sensuality: Low. Heated kisses, no sex.

An answer useful to the artist to determine placement, position and number of any figures on a proposed cover. Should they be entwined in a hot embrace or separate -- a hero standing protectively behind a heroine, for example. Should a hero even appear at all...

I answered questions concerning time period, location and specific setting. I provided an elevator pitch and descriptions of main characters, ie. Johnny Thresher is big, hard-faced and wears semi-SWAT black.

Another question asked what visual elements - either place or object - have significance in the story and one can easily see how this might translate to the cover.

I chose graveyards since several scenes are set in cemeteries; and Lillie's antique bracelets - her heavy, solid silver, two inch wide, Celtic clasp (or "cuff") bracelets, inlaid with copper knotwork and gripping beasts, and inset with blood garnets -- as two significantly visual elements.

And we shall see.

I just hope my answers do not cause the cover artist to hurl things against walls in frustration while muttering wrathful words about visually impared authors.


raine said...

I can't wait to see this. Cover artists, I think, are as unique as writers, with their own vision of things. I expect you'll see it soon with a summer release planned. Joy!

The bracelets are a wonderful touch, hope they use them.
And if they don't put Johnny (sigh) on the cover I may send them a nasty note. ;)

fairyhedgehog said...

This is fascinating. It's a whole side of writing a book that I know nothing about.

It makes me want to read your book!

Bernita said...

Yes, Raine, and covers presented so far are just excellent (and drool-worthy like all your covers are), not only in themselves but for their appeal to Carina's demographic.

Thank you, Fairy!
This level of involvement is new to me also!
I believe excerpts will be available at launch to help you decide.

Charles Gramlich said...

I find these kinds of questionnaires difficult, but often interesting.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Not a chance. Your answers were very detailed, and as a past artist, I was already building a pic around what you described.

I thought I did okay on my comments cuz I loved my cover!

Good luck, though!

Demon Hunter said...

The cover sounds like it will be wonderful, Bernita. I cannot wait to see it. ;-)

BernardL said...

You did a straight forward job. I can imagine a couple covers and the graveyard would be a necessary element - but nothing campy.

Bernita said...

One is very afraid of leading the artist totally astray, Charles.

You relieve my mind somewhat, Betsy.

There is no question but that the cover for QUENCH ( hope I have the title right) is smashing!

The other covers are anyway, Tyhitia, so I hope.

Tried to, Bernard. Yes, it probably should have a few tombstones in the background somewhere.

laughingwolf said...

many pics came to mind from your words, as they should, for most readers conjure up their own visuals as they peruse a book...

since it's about lillie, i see NO reason to have some dolt [male] on the cover!

can't wait to read your book, covers are mostly irrelevant to me

word verif: spathrol [as in: spa troll? new kinda monster? ;)]

sylvia said...

I am really looking forward to seeing this cover when its done!

Bernita said...

Word vers have improved, LW!
As soon as these house-keeping exercises about covers and such are done, I expect I'll begin having anxiety attacks about disappointing my friends should they buy the book.What if they hate it?
I hope you'll still speak to me, LW!

Sylvia, I'm like a kid waiting for Xmas...Will the present be what-I-wanted - or something useful but dull?

writtenwyrdd said...

Should have mentioned the dog!!! Glad to know that your publisher, at least, seeks input from the author.

Anonymous said...

Marketing buckets and labels might just be the thing that finally pushes me over the edge into insanity. (If I'm still sane, that is.)

Bernita said...

I did, Written, I did!

I've heard that most publishers do, though that doesn't mean all publishers - specifically their art departments - pay any degree of attention to the author's input. There are horror stories out there.

As nuts together, we have to watch out for the squirrels, Jason!
A new label seems to pop up every few months in a never-ending search for a new cache.
Carina seems to rely more on the familiar standard labels.

Chris Eldin said...

oooo.... very Neil Gaimann, but sexier!

Bernita, Thank you for sharing your journey with us. This particular piece really fascinates me---how to translate words into images.

I've always loved your Lillie character and wonder if they will put her on the cover, or if she will be presented more mysteriously.

And given all the art on your blog, I wanted to ask you if there are any paintings that somehow capture the spirit of your story? Perhaps a collage of a handful of paintings?

Chris Eldin said...

And fwiw, I MUCH prefer the "Magic Realism" label, but I understand how marketing would categorize it as paranormal romance given the insane amount of readership for this genre!!! Whatever it's called, it's going to be exciting!!

Bernita said...

Chris, I always experience delighted wonder when someone says they really like Lillie.
Other Carina covers do have figures on them so I expect to see Lillie in some shape and form.
I have little bubbles of champagne excitement whenever I think about my cover.
The digital commerce manager invited me to send any photos/pictures which I thought might assist visualization.
Of course, my mind and memory went immediately blank and for the life of me I couldn't come up with any... newbie-freeze! Some pictures on the blog might have been useful for tone and background though.
If there's a next time I will be better prepared to provide a more useful response.

writtenwyrdd said...

Funny, I picture Lily as looking a lot like you, but please don't think that it's because she's Mary Sue-ish!

Carla said...

I'm sure the cover will be wonderful. Good luck!

Bernita said...

Written,she's much more dainty and delicate-looking than I am.

Thank you, Carla. The other covers from Carina are really good. Surely mine will not be the glitch!

laughingwolf said...

never fear, m'dear, would never stop talking with you...

'sides, i KNOW the book will be GREAT!

word verif: esses

Bernita said...

My dear friend...
I just hope you'll find it good,LW, or, at least, not a total waste of time.

laughingwolf said...

going by what i've read of yours in the past, i'm sure you'd only show a highly polished product :)

writtenwyrdd said...

It's good. Stop angsting already! ;)

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