Missy here. I'm breaking from contest stuff today. I wanted to share a post that I put on my personal blog in March 2007 after making my first sale. I remember at the time thinking that I wish I had kept track of all this info as I was writing the book, because it would have been so much easier than trying to remember from a book I had written 3 years earlier then had revised several times. I swore I would keep track of it on the next book. And did I? NO! So I'm in the midst of figuring it out all over again. I hope you'll find this info useful!
Harlequin has what's called an Art Fact Sheet that they use to help design cover art. It's amazing all they take into consideration--which is a good thing!
So here, copied and pasted, is my post from http://www.lifewithmissy.blogspot.com/ on March 18, 2007:
Writing for Steeple Hill (Harlequin) has been a great experience. One of the opportunities I've had is to fill out what they call an Art Fact Sheet. For any unpublished writers reading this post, I thought I would tell you what information is on the sheet so you can think about it as you're writing your book. Other publishers have something similar, so it can be helpful to keep track of this information. I believe Camy Tang blogged about this after her sale to Zondervan. So check out her site as well.
Some of the information they want you to include on the sheet includes:
*Themes of the story
*Key emotion/mood trigger
*Story synopsis--very short, maybe 4-5 paragraphs (Ack! A writer's worst nightmare. :))
*A short questionnaire that includes these questions:
1) What is this book about (beyond plot description)? How would you describe it to your friends? What is the takeaway?
2) For the key relationship in this book, what is the turning point or climax? Please describe.
3) What are the overriding themes that run throughout – the bigger message?
4) What is the significance/inspiration for your title? Is it metaphorical or literal?
5) What interesting visual elements (either object or place) have great significance in this book?
*A basic character description for the two main characters (hero and heroine) which includes physical characteristics such as hair and eye color, age; occupation; then other items such as first love, a trait, other info you want to give.
*A section on the setting that includes: location, interesting visual elements, time of year/holiday/season.
*Then a section for you to list 3 scene ideas that might make nice cover art. You'll answer some questions about a "moment in time" from your story that you might like to see illustrated on the cover of your book. These scenes can include people or not.
I hope you found this helpful. It was fun for me to fill out the fact sheet! Well, except for having to figure out that very short synopsis. :)
Oh, and another thing to consider is that they're willing to look at photos/pictures you might have collected of people that look like your characters or of the setting, etc.
Just for fun, what is the theme of your current WIP (work in progress)?
Back to 2008.... Okay, how about answering the question I asked above--what is the theme of the story you're working on? It might be a little harder to figure out than you think!