Thursday, February 16, 2017

Prepping for a Cover Design

by Elva Cobb Martin

As promised in my previous post today I want to share with you the information my publisher requested from me to help build the cover design for my debut novel being released in March, Summer of Deception. Here's the type of info you'll need to get ready for  YOUR novel cover! The below excerpt comes from a document my publisher sent to me. Their requests are in bold with my answers below. And this is not ALL the document by any means--just what relates to the front and back cover design.

COVER INFORMATION FOR AUTHOR                                                  PROMOTIONAL  SURVEY

* Do you prefer faces/people on your cover? Please specify.  

I prefer people and faces.

* Do you prefer a man or a woman on your cover?

Both, if possible, with a Southern mansion in the background and miniature dachshund and black Arabian stallion perhaps on the back spread. The hero could actually be shown astride the stallion on a beach on the back cover edge. The season is summer. See following sample pictures. (I didn’t get ALL of this but I was happy with the cover)

* If you would like people on your cover, please provide general physical descriptions including hair color, skin tone, and appropriate attire.

The Heroine is 22, a recent college grad in elementary education with long, thick dark curly hair, intelligent blue/green eyes and long dark lashes, fair complexion, height 5 ft., 8 inches, 125 pounds, tall, but small bones, willowy, but well-endowed, spunky, rides horseback, good cook, heart-shaped face with wide eyes, full lips, and well-defined but pretty nose. (a suggested photo sample follows in this doc.)  

Wears sun dresses, jeans, Bermuda shorts and pullovers, sandals, but also can dress up in lovely attire for evening out. Prefer the evening attire on cover, if possible.  (GOT THIS)

The Hero is 30, a wounded Marine Middle East war hero who wears eye patch, is physically very strong, dark tan, 6 ft., 4 inches tall, weight 210, all lean muscle, thick dark hair with a tendency to curl when wet, cut military short, has thin mustache, steel gray eyes but wears the patch over the left eye damaged in military, runs a modern southern plantation, rides black Arabian stallion and drives jeep over plantation, owns Mercedes and a Ferrari.
Large strong hands, square jaw, thin lips,
Every day wear: levis, black or khaki Marine t-shirts, army boots, cowboy hat
Dress up: black tie and tux, pullover knit shirts, khaki pants. If on front cover prefer him in dress up wear, if on back cover, in his rugged levis/Marine tee/cowboy hat as plantation hard worker.
(a suggested photo sample follows of the hero). For front cover, dress for hero and heroine should match as far as dress up or every day wear. (GOT DRESS UP)

Please provide a back cover blurb for your book. Please note: this is not a short synopsis or outline of your book. The purpose of this is to interest the readers, so it should be catchy and appealing. If you have never written a blurb before, I recommend starting by going online and reading several in your genre. Which make you want to read the book? Those are good examples.

Back Cover Copy: Is the owner of Barrett Hall a man of integrity or is he part of the secret drug smuggling society that caused her brother’s death?
Rachel York has no idea that love, danger and a shocking revelation await her in Charleston, South Carolina. What could be better than spending the summer taking care of a five-year-old girl on a southern tea plantation? Of vital importance, the Charleston location will allow Rachel to learn more about her brother’s reported death by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
She arrives and discovers a handsome new owner with whom to contend. The little girl’s widower father, Luke Barrett, is an unhappy, wounded, former Marine Corps Special Forces operative. He knows nothing about his deceased uncle’s job offer to Rachel and threatens to send her packing. Even with his eye patch, bitterness, and distrust, Luke begins to capture Rachel’s heart until the night she uncovers evidence he may be keeping his plantation solvent by allowing cocaine smuggling on his coastline.
Both Luke and Rachel conceal secrets. Peril and distrust, as well as love, test Rachel’s faith, and Luke’s struggle to find faith again. When all the deception rips asunder in a hurricane, will love survive?

Please provide two short, catchy phrases/selling points for your book.

These are often seen in advertisements and on the book cover. 5-10 words.

A wounded warrior . . . a woman searching for truth.

My original tag evolved into this final front cover tag:


Cover/image examples. Please supply us with several examples of covers you like and feel carry the tone of what you would like to see on your cover. These need not be Prism covers--copy and paste them from anywhere. This greatly aids our artists in capturing the essence of the cover you are going for. (Here are a couple of cover ideas I submitted.)

Here is my final book cover!

How do you like this cover? Do you think the designer (Nicola Martinez, Pelican Book Group) did a good job using my information?  I gave her an A+.

In my next blog I will share some characterization pointers that helped me visualize and write about my main characters in Summer of Deception, an inspirational romantic suspense. And don't forget it will be released in March!

If you think this article would help other writers, please share it on social media by simply clicking on the buttons below.

Blessings and Onward!
Elva Cobb Martin