Friday, January 18, 2013

Guest Post: Cover Art-Worth A Thousand Words? by Lily Grace

First things first. A big thank you to Darien for letting me take my pants off... err, I mean guest post on her blog today! I’m thrilled to be here. :D

My first novel, Analyzing Emory, came out January 4th from Dreamspinner Press. After my manuscript was accepted and I had signed my contract (and subsequently proceeded to hyperventilate for several weeks), the next step in the publishing process was to talk cover art.

Now, I'm not sure how many readers know how the cover art creation process works (and of course, every publisher is a little different), but the artist assigned to create the cover for your book has not actually read your manuscript. Authors are sent a form with a ton of questions asking about the tone of the book, description of the MCs, location, basic plot in 5 sentences of less, etc. And using the information from this form, the artist creates an image that will forever be linked (or at least for the duration of your publishing contract) with your story. So, you sure as hell want to get it right.

As someone who had only gone through the cover art process once before, I was a little green, and probably a little disorganized, and basically proceeded to do a complete brain dump onto my art form. I remember thinking to myself after I sent it in, "Did what I write down even make any sense? Will the DSP Art Department think I'm crazy?" Of course, I knew exactly what my MCs looked like and what I thought the cover should depict and the feelings it should evoke, but I couldn't quite tell them to "Please reach into my brain and pull out the exact image I have in my mind."

I shouldn't have worried. The DSP Art Department knew way better than I did what would work well, and I had the one and only L.C. Chase design my cover. I was given options, I provided feedback, and was involved with the process every step of the way. I feel very lucky. My cover captures the feeling and tone I wanted and I feel it truly visually represents the story I set out to tell.

There are always a few covers floating around out there that are unfortunately cringe-worthy. [Side Note: If you want a good giggle, I highly suggest you check out Lousy Book Covers (Thank you to Rowan Speedwell and Marie Sexton for bringing this to my attention via Twitter!) but be prepared to lose about an hour of your life!] But for the most part, cover images, like any form of art, are very subjective. People like and respond to different things. Some people like photo covers while others prefer drawn covers. Hot half-naked men do it for some while others prefer just one strong image or symbol that represents the book.

I guess my question is, how important are covers and how big of an influence do they have on readers when choosing which books to potentially buy next? Do you follow the “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule and read the blurb? Or, at first pass, if the cover art doesn’t jump out at you, do you not even bother to see what it’s about? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’ll admit, I’m a very visual person and if I’m short on time and browsing the new releases, I’m much more likely to stop and check out a book if the cover immediately draws me in. But on the flip side, there have been times that I’ve been attracted to a cover, bought the book, read it, and then wondered how that cover got put on that book because the story didn’t seem to match the art at all.

So please, share your thoughts. How important are covers to you? What, in your opinion, makes a great cover? And, do you think covers have the ability to “make or break” a book?

And, because I promised (and this entire post has been about the importance of visuals anyways), a little sweet eye-candy to round things out. ;)

(Photos from

When a family friend offers him the job of resident psychologist at Chicago’s GLBT Center, Kyle Michelson jumps at the chance to reinvigorate his career, move on from his recent breakup, and get his life back on track. Kyle hopes returning to the familiar territory of his hometown will do him good, but meeting Emory Brenner at a club changes everything.

Anything but familiar, Emory leaves Kyle breathless from the start. There’s just one problem: Kyle wants more than a one-night stand, Emory doesn’t do relationships, and neither man can resist the other. Luckily for Emory, he never has to see Kyle again. Or so Emory thinks until he runs into him while volunteering at the GLBT Center.

Kyle makes Emory want things he never thought he could have and chips away at secrets Emory has kept locked away for years. On the surface, Emory’s recovered from his past: he has a job at a record store and a roof over his head. But putting his trust in another person, having a relationship, means opening himself to more pain—and that is a risk he can’t take.

About The Author:
Lily Grace hails from the Midwest but currently resides in the DC metro area. Her background is in public health and the life sciences and she spends her days working as a health care consultant. When she’s not busy being a nerdy scientist she curls up with her laptop and dreams up romantic stories about beautiful men.

She's a fan of loud rock concerts, cooking, shoe shopping, and strawberry ice cream. She loves love, hates cleaning, and is still amazed that when she decided on a whim to try writing a story a few years back that it would lead to having her works published.

You can find her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

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