Monday, June 16, 2014

How to Fill Out a Cover Art Spec Sheet

The Wild Rose Press is one of a rare few who request input from the author regarding the cover of their book.  That said, however, although we strive to meet and exceed your expectations, without good information from you, the author, it’s a mighty difficult task.  So here are some things to consider when filling out your cover art specification sheet.

But first and most importantly on the cover art specification sheet as well as the manuscript information sheet, SAVE IT AS DRAFT while working on it.  If you lose your internet connection for even a second, you’re going to lose all the information you have put in before you submit it.

No on to the cover sheet:
  1. Be clear on the hero and heroine’s description if you want to have them on the cover.  Finding models that meet your descriptions is very difficult, but with some tweaking we are able to generally hit the mark.  But please be specific in hair color, style and length, ethnicity, and body size.
  2. Give us links to other books, not necessarily Wild Rose Press books, that have the style you want.  Dark vs light, dreamy vs stark contrasts, painted vs photographs.
  3. Mention elements that are pertinent to the story.  But don’t expect all elements to be used.  For instance, an emerald necklace is a major point in the suspense story you’ve written.   That would be an element that would work well on the cover.  But the heroine’s choice of shoes, while mentioned a time or two in order to give more insight to the reader into her personal style, is not a true element in the story, so it wouldn’t be a good candidate for the cover.
  4. When describing what you envision, be very clear, but also be aware that your ‘fabulous concept’ may not be appropriate to the market, or simply not doable.  We have many authors give very specific ideas on the layout of a cover down to the minute detail of the scene.  These types of super detailed covers are usually composites of images, and may not look quite as you had excepted.  So understand that your concept may not happen or may be altered to fit the market or reasonability in design time and availability of images.
  5. Location is extremely important if you wish for a specific scene on your cover.  New York City skyline certainly doesn’t resemble London.  So be sure to give us good information on where the story takes place if it is to be a part of the cover.
  6. Timeframe of the story is also extremely important if your story isn’t a contemporary.  Medieval is vastly different from Regency, as were the roaring 20’s to the 1940’s.  So be certain you tell us when the story takes place so contemporary imagery doesn’t appear on a non-contemporary book.
  7. Be clear in things you absolutely do not want on the cover, if you have any.  Some authors hate people on the cover.  Others hate people with their heads cutoff, and some don’t care for certain colors.  Tell us what you don’t like if you feel strongly about it.  This is usually something we can avoid with good links to the kinds of covers you like.
  8. Do NOT send us a drawn up version of your idea.  We cannot accept mockup covers since we don’t know where they originated.  We don’t want to steal another designer’s idea.  While looking at existing covers at Amazon and in our own store may seem like we’re doing just that, we do not attempt to recreate the cover examples given.  We only use them for tone and general guidance on what you like.

And most importantly remember that the artist does not read your book.  They only take the information you give them in our Wild Rose Press Cover Art Specification Sheet.  So give them as much information as possible so that they may create the best cover for your book.


Ashantay said...

Thank for your the clarification on cover art sheets. This is the are that most intimidates me! But I've been very happy with the way Diana Carlile reads my mind. (smile)

Unknown said...

Great information. Thank you.

Lynda Coker said...

Really helpful. Thanks so much.

GiniRifkin said...

Thanks for another informative blog.

I love all of my covers. Each artist has taken my ideas, hopes, and suggetions and created artwork beyond my expectations.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

It's always helpful to be reminded of what to include for covers. Thanks.

Author Kat de Falla said...

It's so nice to be made of a part of this very important process. I love my cover and am grateful I was allowed the input! But kudos to Debbie Taylor who took my ideas and made them fantastic!

Marie Tuhart said...

Great information. I always have a hard time with the sheets. But Angela does a great job with what I give her.

Vonnie said...

All good points to bear in mind, although your submission sheet for cover preferences is already specific. I write for another similar e-publisher and they, too, have excellent covers as you do, which goes to show...let the author have some input. Some of the older publishers have generic covers that could be anyone, anywhere, and bear no resemblance to the book contents.

Unknown said...

Thank you for helping me understand that the artist needs information for the 'concept' to work.

Unknown said...

Thanks for such an excellent overview of the process. I have been very pleased with my covers so far.

Cierra James said...

Great points of reference for cover art.

JACLYN said...

The cover for The Whims of Fate was done by Diana Carlile. She did a fantastic job. It is an actual scene in my book. The hero and heroine are at Good Harbor beach in Gloucester, Ma and are dressed just like in the scene. Absolutely perfect.
I have received more compliments on the cover.

Thank you Diana.

Jaclyn V. Di Bona

Ally Hayes said...

I was pleasantly surprised to find I could give so much information about ideas for my cover. I enjoyed the process and now love my cover, thanks!

Mary Morgan said...

I love filling out the cover sheets. I feel as if I'm contributing/helping the artist.