Monday, September 8, 2014


I’ve been a cover artist at the Wild Rose Press almost from the beginning, as well as an author. I know how important it is for our baby to be wrapped nicely. We have ideas in our head about what makes a good cover. We describe for the artist things like this: “The heroine has emerald green eyes, short red hair, super petite, and short, with a glimmer in her eye. She’s holding sunglasses in her right hand and has a foot on a beach ball.  Her bikini is blue. The font should be Comic Sans, in blue, with a sun reflecting off the pecks of the man behind her, who is a brunette with long hair.”

This may sound wonderful in the head of a creative author, but for a cover artist… it is a moment to cringe.  We spend hours and hours looking for something remotely close to a red head, and all we can find is long hair. Or we find them, but they are all wearing business suits. The more details wanted, the harder it is to comply. And when we can’t find it, you end up with a silhouette. 

So, here are some things to note:

Understand the right artwork is hard to find, so give lots of concepts just in case.
Simpler covers often to sell better, so think less busy.

Don’t be so specific that artists will most likely never find the exact artwork (especially for vintage books)

Find covers that you like and give us links of samples (this helps for us visual people)

Know that it’s okay to let us know about a font you like, but do not expect us to have that particular font. It will likely be similar.

Understand that matching hair, clothes, etc. is difficult, so be broader.

Find out what art website we are currently using (it changes sometimes), find artwork that you like, and give us the art numbers. If we can use them, we will.

Give us location, time of year, and tone of the story. These are the most important elements to making a cover appropriate. Fill your forms completely out. If there is something really important, don’t leave it out.

Consider your title. Often the artwork the author asks for do not match the title. This is confusing for the reader.

And lastly, remember that artists work on royalties too, and really care about the success of your book. We want it to do well.

Blessings and congratulations on your publishing endeavors!

Kim Mendoza
TWRP Cover Artist


Mary Morgan said...

Thank you, Kim, for your insight as a cover artist. Fortunately, I've been blessed to have two outstanding covers. I try to give as much information as possible, but I would never think to tell the artist what font type, haha! That's too much detail for me to consider. I leave it up to the "creative" artist.

Unknown said...

This is great information to know. For me what I really want to match to my hero and heroine is hair color. The rest I think can be worked out. As a reader, as well as an author, it bothers me if the cover description doesn't match the description in the book I am reading. Just my opinion, of course :)

ELF said...

Excellent tips. I always wonder how you manage to translate an author's vision into a cover and you have definitely made it easier to understand the process. Great post, thank you for sharing.

stanalei said...

Wise words from the cover artist of my time-travel and dreamscape! Thanks Kim... Still loving my covers!