Friday, November 2, 2018

The Elements of a Striking Book Cover by Jannine Gallant

HIDDEN SECRETS releases at the end of this month. I need to promote it. I don't intend to self-publish book one of my COUNTERSTRIKE series, (recently re-titled) FATAL ENCOUNTER, until May of 2019. For these reasons, I was NOT going to post my new cover. But I can't seem to control myself...

When I made the decision to self-publish this new series, I immediately stopped writing and started obsessing over covers. I was trying to put together a concept that fit with my outdoor scenery yet suspenseful vibe brand. I didn't want these to be exactly like my other covers, but I wanted them to be similar. I finally decided on scenes from the books where the heroine is running away from danger. Book One is in the woods. Book Two is on a rocky beach. Book Three is a pond near the heroine's cabin in the forest. Do you think I could find backgrounds I like with running silhouettes? Of course not. So, I emailed fellow Rose and cover designer extraordinaire, Alison Henderson, to see what she thought about adding a dark running woman silhouette to a background and to ask if she wanted to design my covers. She said "no problem." What a relief. But she also said she thought it would look better with a real person rather than the dark shadow I'd imagined.

And so the back and forth of creating the perfect cover began. So much thought goes into a cover. The concept. Images that convey the concept but also will actually work as a cover. It has to show up well in a thumbprint size plus attract the eye of a reader and make them click on it to read the blurb. I had a heck of a time finding background images that had a spot for the running figure, had a suspenseful vibe, but weren't too dark to show individual features, AND were cool and attractive enough to make a reader notice them. A tall order. We finally agreed on background images we both liked. Then, we had to find running women with the right coloring and the right clothes that could be dropped onto the backgrounds. Hello, 90% of the photos show women running toward the camera. Most all of them are wearing sports bras! Not what I had in mind for my heroines escaping crazed killers AT NIGHT in the dark and cold. We finally found images that work.



Putting them together is where Alison did her magic! She cropped the background, then overlaid mist on my running woman (very cool) to make her blend and placed her in the perfect spot after experimenting with sizing. She looked like she was floating. Yikes! I decided she'd have to move her forward to firmer ground, even though I liked the deeper placement better. Instead, Alison added a little more greenery at her feet to fix the "floating" problem and ground her. I was THRILLED with the results!

The final ingredient of any book cover is the lettering font, color, sizing, and placement for the title and author name. I did a little research into what the top romantic suspense authors use. Most were straightforward fonts, no cutesy or rounded letters. It has to reflect the suspenseful genre, after all. White was a no-brainer on this background. Size and placement were the next aspect to consider. Big name authors mostly use very simple backgrounds with their name at the top in LARGE lettering. The title is generally at the bottom. Authors without name recognition have larger titles at the top and their names in smaller type at the bottom. I decided to use a combo of this. Title at the top, but my name in equally large type at the bottom. Why tell readers, hey this author does NOT have name recognition? Maybe if my name is large, they'll think they SHOULD know who I am. At least that was the thought process I used. Alison found the perfect font and put my request for sizing into action, and we got it done on the second try. Amazing!

So, here it is! The final cover of FATAL ENCOUNTER. I love it! I'm forever grateful to Alison for being so accommodating and working with me to make my vision better than I originally imagined. We're a terrific team! What do you think? Did we do a great job? Does this look like romantic suspense? Would you click on it to read the blurb?


To check out my other book covers, visit my WEBSITE. And don't forget to pre-order HIDDEN SECRETS! Happy reading!


25 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Oh my gosh...perfect!! I had to squelch the urge to skip your post and head straight to the bottom, but I'm glad I did. How cool to see and read about the components by themselves, then blended so beautifully together in the final. Great job, ladies! It's a winner in my book. :-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Yep. What Leah said. You ladies did it again. Raise your hand if you're surprised though. I know I'm not! Nice work. That is definitely Jaimee running away there. I'd know here anywhere. LOL

Brenda Whiteside said...

I love it. I did the same as Leah and resisted the urge to just jump to the bottom for a peek. I so want to redo my Love and Murder series covers. Wonder if I hired Alison and paid for it if TWRP would let me? Ha!

Jannine Gallant said...

Leah, I'm glad you approve! That background was the hardest to find. You type in woods, and you get fall pictures. This book takes place in the spring! It was a challenge!

Jannine Gallant said...

Margo, I agree the figure is Jaimee. This was the only running woman I found right away. I'm happy you approve!

Jannine Gallant said...

The concept of covers is SO important, Brenda. Kensington repackaged my Wilde books because of the couples on them. They looked too contemporary, and not like romantic suspense. You could always ask RJ, although I would be shocked if she said yes. I'm tempted to pull A DEADLY LOVE from them, just so I (and by that I mean Alison lol) can re-do the boring cover!

Brenda Whiteside said...

I did ask, Jannine, but just as the 5th book was releasing so they weren't too receptive. It wasn't a flat no. They said they could bundle them and use a different cover. I'm going to ask again, once book 5 has been on the market for awhile.

Jannine Gallant said...

The problem with bundling them is they'll probably want to charge $15 for the package. Those bundles are hard to sell unless they're really cheap. I hope they'll agree to just redo the individual covers. But, yeah, waiting a while is probably smart.

JENNIFER WILCK said...

I absolutely love the new cover! It gives off the exact vibe you described. Nice job to both of you!

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I'm glad we captured my vision!

Alison Henderson said...

I LOVE this cover! I never get tired of looking at it. I just hope we can do as well with the others. It was fun to work on and easy for me because you found such great images. I hope it draws readers to an exciting new series.

Jannine Gallant said...

Alison, the number of hours I put into looking for the perfect images was actually pretty staggering! Your input on what would work best for this background was invaluable. I sure HOPE readers will be drawn, and I can't thank you enough for bringing the whole concept to life. FYI, since we finished this, I've actually managed to get a decent amount of writing accomplished on book 2. Imagine that!

Alison Henderson said...

Yay! You clearly needed to mark this off your list to be able to move forward.

Vonnie Davis said...

I enjoyed this post and learned a lot. Thanks for sharing. I have a cover a cover artist did in what looks like a hurry. A bear is stuck onto a snow scene with no blending and a bare-chested man in a kilt. Really??? And the thumb-size looks like a white diaper of snow. I hate it, but it was too soon after Calvin's passing to handle any negotiations. I just went with it. You and Alison did a fantastic job.

Jannine Gallant said...

That's too bad, Vonnie! You should go back now and tell her you want some changes. If she's in the business of cover design, she should want you to be happy with it. Word of mouth is huge in the community of authors looking for services. It sure wouldn't hurt to ask!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Way to go, team Alison and Jannine. Cover design is not for the faint-hearted...what a fine job! It's tough to think ahead about series covers, but it's important to do. What's interesting about this cover is the woman could be running toward me orally from me...cool!

Jannine Gallant said...

Sometimes thinking ahead can be a huge benefit, Rolynn. For Book #3 (which I haven't even started writing yet) I had a vague idea of what I wanted for the background and the season. Then I found a really incredible photo and thought, hey, I can write a scene to work with this image. A novel (sorry about the pun) idea that may work better than finding an image to work with a specific scene.

Diane Garner said...

I've been going through the cover process also. Hard for me. Much better with words than images. Your explanation of the process was really good. Love the new cover!

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm glad you like it, Diane. Alison and I have done several together. You start figuring out what you like and what works best after a few of them!

Andrea Downing said...

Very interesting process. You both certainly got there in the end. Well done!

Jannine Gallant said...

Hmmm, I responded to this on my phone, and it disappeared... At any rate, thank you, Andrea. The process is definitely interesting!

RE Mullins said...

What a great cover. Thanks for giving into the temptation to share it.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Robin. Yeah, it's hard to control those urges!

Diane Burton said...

Oh my gosh, what a fantastic cover! Alison can work wonders. So talented. Best wishes for this new release.

Jannine Gallant said...

Thanks, Diane. Yes, Alison does a fantastic job! This release is months away, but I'll take all the good wishes I can get!