Friday, February 20, 2015

What Happens When You Design a Book Cover UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR? Brilliance!

My last post showed what can happen when a cover artist and the author are on the same page. Like my cover for TAKEN BY STORM. I told Steven what I want and he sent it. I thought it was gorgeous! No changes needed to be made. That's got to be kind of rare.

However, Steven and I don't always start on the same page. But, with a lot of patience on his part, we eventually get there. Today we're going to be looking at the cover creation for my romantic suspense, UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR. Let's start off with a blurb to give you an idea of what we're trying to capture.

Blurb ~

Dylan Fisher is a paramedic & part-time mall Santa Claus. But he never heard anyone ask for what Delaney asked for, a dad. When Dylan’s eyes land on her mother, Keira Kelly, he almost finds himself in need of CPR. She was stunning.

Keira is still grieving the loss of her husband, but a reckless driver has her thinking about nothing but survival. When she wakes in the hospital to find a hunky paramedic at her bedside she begins having thoughts that would put her on the Naughty List for sure.

Okay. So it needs to say hot paramedic, Christmas, and romantic suspense. That's a lot to encompass in one cover. Here's the first cover I got from Steven. 

I've got to admit, as this picture slowly came up on my computer I was like, wow! I love it. Only problem was Dylan's a paramedic, not a doc.

So we get cover 2.  And, yowza!Again, I love it, but I'm a little concerned that this isn't right for my book. Maybe it's me, but bare-chested men make me think the book's going to be really racy. Now I think my writing is hot, but not verging on erotica by any means. I also feel like we're missing the suspense element. I suggest adding siren lights to give it that urgency and the tagline, "When Christmas magic turns to murder." I show the cover around and several people comment that they aren't getting a Christmas feel, so I suggest adding some holly. About now I'm definitely kicked off Steven's Christmas card list and probably well on my way to being an ex-client. 

Cover three. Whoa! Too much going on here. I meant the ambulance lights instead of the guy. And now the guy's all funky colored...

Cover four. Now we've got urgency all right, but no romance. Sigh. I ask Steven to bring the guy back, but put a shirt on him. I'm also moving the holly around to get it in just the right spot. Steven's replies are getting shorter. "Take a look at this one." He no doubt is imagining a special place for me in the fiery pit.

Cover, gulp, five. I really, really like this one. 

...but is there too much white now? Could we make his shirt red to bring out the Christmassy feels?

Cover six. Okay. Really

digging this! We've got Christmas going on. The tagline gives us the suspense. The dude is fully clothed, but still hot. This is working!

But, although I liked the banner being purple before, now it doesn't work. I ask Steven to change the banner to red, and the font on the tagline to black, and the exclamation point to a period. I'm always getting carried away with exclamation points. I'm excitable. 

At this point Steven is either a). rethinking his choice of careers, or b). figuring out a way to do away with me that involves hemlock. Cover 7. Now it's really coming together. It's 
Christmasy, we've got the hot guy, and suspense with the tagline, and we're all color coordinated. Or are we? I had one last change to make. 

Steven?! (In my best whiny voice.) Can you make the banner red closer to the red on his shirt? And change the REAL ROMANCE COLLECTION to green? Our final cover--->

I'm sure Steven was breathing a sigh of relief!

So whatcha think? Better than where we started?


  1. Sorry I'm late to this. What a great post. I love seeing the process. Steven must be a saint! :) Yes, I agree that the final product is fabulous, much better than where you started.

  2. Agreed, Steven is a saint. And he hasn't even changed his email address and not told me or anything! ;) Thanks for visiting, Alicia!

  3. Wow! You went through a lot of covers to finally get a good one. I really like how he listened to you to get a cover you were happy with. Best wishes on this book.

  4. Yes, Steven is the cat's meow! And I'm not just saying that because he is currently working on another cover for me! I love the anticipation (and hate the anticipation) over a new book cover!