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The Joys and Agony of Cover Art

I thought I’d share my first experience in the world of book cover art. Now, to be fair, my publisher would do my cover art for Shadow’s Edge because that’s what publishers do for their authors. But, I know for me, the cover is one of the first things that draws me to a book. With that thought in mind, I really wanted my first cover to do the same. Here’s the thing with Urban Fantasy cover art.

We’ve all seen it, the standard book cover, a very sexy woman holding the weapon of your choice–sword, dagger, gun, knitting needles–with her back to you while nifty cool tattoos either trail down-pick a body part: arm, leg, face, shoulder, back, butt- and you can’t see her face. I get that image, really I do. Here, I’ll prove it to you.

I worked with the wonderfully awesome and, more importantly, patient, Kim Killion from HotDamn Designs. I had it narrowed down to two images, one with a dark haired woman, where it was cropped from just above her shoulders to the top of her thighs. She even had a dagger (not quite the style Raine prefers, but it had an edge so…) and the second image where the woman was facing towards the reader, nicely clean and wicked dagger in hand and the “I will hurt you and you’ll like it” look on her face that I think Raine tends to go to in most situations. Since both designs hit things I really liked, I had to ask my cronies (read, family, friends and the 7ED’s) and put it to a vote. As much as I love these groups, they did not help. Oh no, it was about 50/50 on the votes. Funny enough the guys in the groups tended toward the butt cover, and the woman were split. So I left it up the final decider–my editor. And viola~ we went with the second one. We’re still tweaking a few things, but I’m hoping to put up the final here and at www.jamigray.com very soon.

As a newbie author, I had to turn the wonderful group at Savvy Authors, who gave me some really fantastic names of cover artists. I have to say, there are no words to fully explain how valuable groups like Savvy Authors, or my truly outstanding critique group, 7 Evil Dwarves, become your best fans and your greatest source of information.

So what did I learn through all of this back and forth and hemming and hawing over colors and images and designs?

That I’m so glad there are people like Kim Killion out there who understand that writers are really quite decisive people in general, it’s just that they need someone who has a little patience and knows the right questions to ask to bring these people who live in our heads to brilliant life.

So here’s to the quiet heroes of the writing world–cover artists!



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