We've Got You Covered!
with Missy Tippens and Lindi Peterson
Missy Tippens, here. And I’d like to welcome my very good friend and critique partner Lindi Peterson. Lindi had books published with Belle Bridge Books and is now publishing independently as well. She just released her first indie book last week, and it has an amazing cover that fits well with her brand and her Belle Bridge covers. I thought I’d ask her to share her journey in achieving that. But first, I’m going to share about some of my fantastic Love Inspired covers.
Several years ago, I shared a post about Harlequin’s Art Fact Sheet. (Click here, but please come back!) This AFS has been invaluable in helping figure out what will make a great cover. Now that I know better how to fill out the form, I’ve found that the art department has made the covers almost exactly as I envisioned them!
For my latest release, The Guy Next Door, I sent my editor a Word document with photos of a couple sitting by a campfire. I also sent a photo of a campfire beside a lake. And I even sent a photo of s’mores!
Here’s the description I typed with the photos I sent (Spoiler Alert for the story!):
Scene #2 – Roasting marshmallows for s’mores at lakeside fire pit. A big proposal scene where they declare love. Hero and heroine sitting on logs that surround the fire. Scene actually takes place in late afternoon/ early evening with light filtering through tall pines. But night scene might make nice cover.
I think they got it just right! And the heroine looks a lot like the photo I sent them (a photo of the daughter of a friend of mine).
On my previous book, Georgia Sweethearts, one of the scenes I described as a possible choice for the cover was when the hero and heroine shared their first kiss. I sent a photo of a man and woman sitting side by side with a note to meld two photos, the first one for an example of the pose.
Then I also sent along a second photo of a picnic table with this added:
Better setting/background--in back yard under a tree. (Add tulips):
Well, here’s what they came up with (and note the tulips, even!). They captured the heroine’s ponytail as well as the clothes that I described in the AFS.
For A House Full of Hope, I sent photos of each of the kids. I sent photos of black labs. I sent a photo of a white wooden farmhouse, adding this note:
Large farmhouse for three generations of Rykers (with porch and front steps and white railing but also has rocking chairs on porch)…
I also sent along a photo of a canopied drive and wrote this:
Canopied Drive to house scene (#1) (peaceful, dappled sunlight) and add black lab trotting down road as well as kids’ bikes tossed on side of road to indicate playing…
So the editors and art department did a great job showing all that. They even captured the pink that the oldest child always wore (a description I added in the AFS).
I’ve been blessed with covers that go along with what I’ve envisioned on the stories. So I’m sharing some tips that I think help.
--Use scenes that convey the overall theme of your story—romance or family or suspense…
--Consider using scenes that include hooks that sell well such as children, brides, pets, cowboys, firefighters, holiday etc.
--Use scenes that evoke emotion. Peace, fear, love, hope, danger…
--Use places that are important to the story but that are also visually appealing.
--Consider covers with people as well as covers without (landscape). Some genres sell better with one or the other.
--Study covers of bestselling books in your same genre.
I hope this helps you when you’re working on your own covers—whether traditionally or independently published. And now, I’m going to turn over the post to Lindi…
Hi all! So great to be back in Seekerville talking covers with Missy.
In my Indie journey I knew from the start I didn’t want to design my own cover. A lot of people do, and they do it well. But knowing my strengths and weaknesses, I knew I would be hiring someone to design my cover. Missy mentioned that I have published with Belle Bridge Books. The ladies there were great in giving me permission to have my series keep the same look.
But first, who would I choose to design the cover? There are so many great individuals and companies that are designing now. Just as I was delving into this journey I saw my friend Sherri Wilson Johnson’s cover.
I said, self, find out who designed that cover. Just so happened I was with Sherri. She gave me the number of the gal, Lynnette Bonner, who has a cover design company, Indie Cover Designs.
I looked over the covers Lynnette had done and was impressed by the diversity and the quality of the work. Her rates were reasonable. I ended up telephoning her because of the situation with keeping my covers the same as the trad pubbed book. Lynnette looked up the first book and she helped me with the questions to ask my publisher to get the correct items.
Again, the gals at Belle were helpful and sent me links to purchase the template for the background and the dove that drapes down the side
Then my search began. I love people on the covers of books. So, I searched and searched and searched. Those who have done this know how many hours can go into finding one photo.
The perfect photo.
I sent Lynnette several examples and we decided on one.
Then I purchased the template and the dove images and the beach girl. Yes, in Indie pubbing you do have to put out the money for the images. But it’s money well spent in my opinion. I bought $60 worth of credits and didn’t use them all. The stock photo site I used was Dreamstime.
Then I sent all the images to Lynnette. She put everything together and we tried a couple of different background colors before settling on the final blue.
When I saw it I KNEW it was perfect.
While this process is different from the Art Fact sheet Missy spoke of, it has a lot of the same elements. Your vision in someone else’s hands. Your ideas sent through cyberspace coming back to you in the form of a beautiful cover.
I enjoyed this part of Indie publishing. (Formatting and I aren’t best friends, but that post can be written by someone else.)
Lynnette and I have already decided to work together for book 3, Rich in Faith, which is coming out in February.
I feel like I’ve found someone who understands what I want in a cover. I found I worked well with Lynnette in the fact that we could email or message on FB. She let me know when she would be able to get to my work and I tried to keep her posted on my timelines and when I would be getting certain information to her. So a comfortable relationship is very important when choosing someone or a company to make your cover.
Thank you Seekerville for having me again! I always love hanging out here.
I’m giving away 2 copies of my current release, Rich in Hope. Kindle version or print. Your choice.
Missy, here again. I'll be giving away 2 copies of The Guy Next Door (print or e-book, your choice). But we need you to LET US KNOW in your comments which book/s you want to be entered for!
Also, let us know what you think makes a good cover.
TODAY!!! HOPE FOR THE HOLIDAYS RELEASES!
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Connect with Missy and Lindi:
@MissyTippens on Twitter
@LindiPeterson on Twitter