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Covers: Where appearance really does matter

Congratulations! Your baby is now in the hands of your publisher. You’ve completed your Cover Request form, making sure the artist knows all the intricate details of your characters, from eye colour to tattoos and birth marks to body hair.

Yet you are anxious. The dreaded cover looms. It’s enough to make you reach for the gin. Am I right?

Yes, we’ve all seen some seriously dreadful covers over the years. We’ve sympathised with friends and colleagues and even complete strangers on their unfortunate end result. We’ve blogged and sniped and declared that our ‘5 year old could do a better job!’. And in some cases I do believe we are correct LOL!

However I’m here today, hopefully on a more positive note, to share with you my role in helping your baby make its publishing debut.

First things first I guess I should introduce myself. G’day. My name is Lyn Taylor and I am one of the Cover Artists for Total-E-Bound. I’m an Aussie as many of you already know (as if the G'day didn't already give it away), a wife and mother and part time artist. I’ve been with TEB for just on 12 months now and would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being such a fantastic bunch of people to work with.

But back to Covers. So. What is involved with bringing your new cover to life?

Firstly I read through the Cover Request form to get an idea what the book is about, the characters and any outstanding features (eye colour, tatts, etc) & story location. This is your opportunity to really try to get across what it is you want your cover to be, so make the most of this form. I’m always happy to check out links or images. However, just remember if you post an image of Hugh Jackman – don’t expect to get Hugh Jackman, LOL! The character images, unless they are an actual Stock model will be as close as I can get but please, I can’t perform miracles so you may be sadly disappointed.

The next few hours (yes, HOURS) will be spent searching for suitable stock of which I will fill a file with numerous possibilities. I then sit back and see which of the stock images I’ve collected work best together. Once I’ve made my selection, I open my working file and begin the tedious job of cutting out the images so that I can juggle them around the page to see what fits and what doesn’t. As I can use anywhere from 2 to 6 stock images in a cover I use the watermarked image at this stage. It’s quite rough and ready but helps to give me a feel for the overall cover. And as you can imagine it would get quite expensive purchasing stock that I may not even use.

Sometimes I may come up with a couple of different cover options which I will quickly flick over to Claire at TEB (thank god for email!). I like to check that I’m on the right track as some of the work can be very time consuming and it’s pointless spending endless hours on a cover that is not right for the book.

So after some suggestions or edits we’ll decide to go ahead with a particular cover. I’ll then purchase the stock and set about putting it all together. This part is quick and relatively painless as the hard yards have already been done. The final cover is then sent back to Claire and with fingers crossed it’s then forwarded to the Author.

It’s a pretty straight forward process and in the end I think we’ve managed to set a pretty high standard of covers for our Authors. I can usually complete a cover within 2-3 days providing the household is running smoothly LOL!

So I’ll wrap this up with a few links which you may find interesting - Lust in Time Breakdown & The Price of a Sword . I've done a few cover breakdowns over at my Blog and some of you may have already seen these. I do these from time to time so keep your eyes peeled - yours may be next LOL! You will also see that I've shown a few of the original stock images beside the Cover's I've posted here just so you can see some of the things we do to give you the best cover we can.

I look forward to working with you all.



My Blog

My Artwork


Lisabet Sarai said...

This was really informative for me. I'm completely hopeless in Photoshop or the equivalent, so I'm duly impressed to discover that your seamless, sexy covers are actually a jigsaw puzzle created digitally.

Live and learn!

Jambrea said...

What a wonderful blog. It is nice to see what goes into making a cover!

Kay Wilde said...

Great post Lyn. Thank you for taking the time to show authors and readers alike what goes into making our covers. Like Lisabet I am impressed. I had no idea just how many photos you use to create a single cover. I suspect most authors had no idea. However, now that I understand the process, I'll be more detailed in the photos I send along with my art form, hopefully making your job a bit easier.

By the way, I'm still receiving compliments on my Demon Wind cover.
It's awesome.


Ashley Ladd said...

So very interesting.

So where do we find "stock photos" to send to you when suggesting cover art so we can cut down some of your work?
Or can we?

So enlightening and you have a great blog.

Ashley Ladd said...

Another question about covers, Lynn.

I'm browsing around a stock photos site I found on the Internet. I find a few that are "free" and several more in price categories starting from $1. Should we, can we, send you these with our cover art request forms and if so, should we only use the "free" ones or is it okay for ones that cost $1 or $2? I just want to help you more instead of sending you all those pictures of Brad Pitt and Hugh Jackman and Julian Mahon. :)

Amarinda Jones said...

I always love reading how you put covers together - fascinating

lyntaylor said...

LOL! Thanks everyone. I'm glad you've found it interesting :D

Ashley, the stock photo's I usually purchase from Dreamstime or Istock. There are a couple of others but those are the main two. I do pay for my stock photo's but of course there is a limit to what I will pay. Would you believe some stockers try to charge anywhere up to $1500 US for their photos? What sort of money do they think we earn??? LOL

Anyway, if you find your characters at the places I've mentioned, I'd have no problem purchasing them for you :D In fact there's every chance that I may already have it in my ever expanding collection :D

Jamie Hill said...

Lyn, this was great! I'm already a huge fan, TEB covers are absolutely gorgeous and mine have all been perfect!

Thanks for all your hard work!


Dakota Rebel said...

Woo Hoo! Look at Hello, sitting there all pretty and big like.

I believe you may already be aware that I am quite a big fan of your work. In fact, I like to tell people "Oh, Lyn Taylor does ALL my covers." And "The cover, oh that was the award winning Lyn Taylor, isn't she devine?" Yeah, you do great work sweetie.


Ann Cory said...

Wow - that is so totally cool to see the breakdown of the pictures! I love it - thanks so much for sharing :) I've been extremely pleased by my covers and look forward to many more!!

~Ann Cory :)