…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Hi there! I want to start off by thanking you for inviting me here for a Q&A and to the readers for taking time out of their day to stop by and read it. :)
How did you get into cover designing?
Many years ago, I designed my first cover for a friend who writes poetry. It’s got girl bits in it. :) In 2009, he decided to publish his second book. At the time, I was working in my corporate office job and had most of the creative elements sucked out of my tasks. To say I was starved for an artistic outlet would be a gross understatement. I worked with him to do the layout of the book as well as the cover art. That entire process piqued my interest in the publishing process.
Around the same time, I met someone online via a tech group. As luck would have it, we also shared an interest in M/M romance. He decided to write his first book and asked if I would be interested in making a cover for him. I thought, sure, why not. His book did well so he published another, and I, in turn, designed another cover. Word started spreading and I began receiving requests from other authors. I froze when I received a cover request from Carol Lynne.
Six months later, I had built up my portfolio, won a few design awards, and started working with publishers. I finally quit my corporate job in 2012 and now focus on design and writing full-time.
You write as well as design covers. Do you design your own covers? When you don’t, are you tempted to?
I write under the pen name of Jaime Reese and I’ve designed both covers for my two books. I know how difficult it is to find a stock shot to match a character or story. For the first book, I didn’t start writing until I found the perfect stock image and was able to tweak him to match my character. After I saw “him” (Julian) staring back at me, the story flowed quickly and easily. For book two, I cycled through a few stock models as I wrote until I found the one who appears on the final cover. He’s heavily tweaked but the end result is a perfect match for my character (Cam).
I will admit though, I’m curious how another artist would interpret my story on a cover. :)
What’s your favorite cover you’ve designed?
I don’t think I can pick one – not even from my own books. It’s the equivalent of picking a favorite child. There’s a little bit of me in every design I complete and I like each of the designs for different reasons (the author, the story, elements of the piece, or the overall experience). There are also designs which have allowed me to explore new techniques, illustrate something original, or those which simply happen at a time in my life when I needed the creative outlet to get through something in real life. So many are favorites whether the author knows it or not.
What’s your favorite cover someone else has designed?
Oh, I’m sooo not going there. LOL There’s some heavy talent in the industry – both in the big time presses and in the smaller digital presses. There have been a few with faces, no faces, objects, extreme color and no color, some photos and others illustrated that I’ve really liked. I don’t have one particular favorite and I look at both the overall design and a particular element (even a tiny one) and think – wow, that’s cool.
Where do you find your stock photos for covers?
For stock images, I use different sources depending upon the project and what I need. I usually use traditional stock sites but have, on occasion, coordinated licensing agreements with photographers for a particular image or model.
What’s your favorite font?
This is completely dependent upon the tone of the story and my mood. I have a few go-to fonts for certain themes but I don’t have one font I would use across the board.
Are you as sensitive to feedback on you cover designs as you might be on your writing?
Both are forms of art and the feedback from others is completely subjective.
However, to me, they are completely different animals.
With cover designs, my primary concern is ensuring the author is happy with the final art. It is their story and capturing its mood, theme, or characters the best I can for their cover is most critical to me. An author squee is priceless during the process because I know I’ve hit my mark.
For my writing, I am essentially creating something that is “me” and putting it out there. It is not easy having something so personal be picked apart, graded and dissected. I accept that it’s part of the artistic process. I am curious what others think, but I’ve learned to balance that curiosity with the understanding that you just cannot please everyone.
How important do YOU think a cover is to selling a book?
Unless you’re an auto-buy author for the reader, a good cover is very important in marketing a book. There are some instances where a cover sells a book, but that is not the norm. I believe its job is to entice the reader to further explore the title. Online bookstores display tons of covers at once. A good cover will stand out and capture the reader’s attention (either for the art or by conveying a message/mood) and, hopefully, lure them into reading the blurb and discovering a new story.
Thanks for the interview!