Authors are taught to show rather than simply tell, and in this case, that means pictures. Many thanks go to Art Director Patti Brinks and graphic designer Dan Thornberg of Design Source Creative Services, who were kind enough to share a number of behind-the-scenes pictures with me so that I could show you the story.
Although some publishers use stock art for their covers, Revell prefers to custom design their historical fiction books. While it's a more expensive approach, it also means that the covers reflect the book. Don't you hate it when the cover shows a blonde, but the book describes her as a brunette? That doesn't happen at Revell.
One of the first steps is to choose a model. As part of the cover art process, the author is given a questionnaire which asks her to describe her heroine, not just in terms of her physical appearance, but also her mood. Using that, the design team reviews portfolios to find a model who has those characteristics.
I'm delighted with the choice of Laura W. to portray Lydia.
Next comes the costume, which is oh, so critical for historical novels. As part of the questionnaire, I noted that Lydia wore fancy pinafores to work at the candy store. That led Patti Brinks to a search for just the right apron.
The Photo Shoot
Once the model is chosen and her clothing selected, it's time for the photo shoot. As you can see from the outtakes, the photographer experimented with various positions and expressions.
Are you surprised by the white background? We'll talk about that next.
As you saw above, the photo shoot was done in front of a plain white background, and you've probably guessed that the background was added later. That's true, but there's more to the story than that.
The first step was to purchase an image with the basic design.
If you compare this to the final cover, you'll see many similarities, but also many differences. In addition to the color of the building, the background is different. That's because Dan Thornberg used the photo below to substitute hills for the second row of buildings.
He also made a number of other changes to create this final background. How many can you find?
The First Cover
Before the cover is finalized and presented to the sales staff for their approval, the design is sent to the author for her comments.
You're right. The problem was that the store name says "tionery." It's true that Lydia's store is a confectionery, but its name is "Cimarron Sweets." I knew readers would be as bothered by that discrepancy as I was, so I asked for it to be changed. Fortunately, that was an easy modification.
The Back Cover
With the front cover completed, it was time to write the back cover copy and design the back cover. Like every aspect of the manuscript-to-finished-book process, it was a team effort. One person was responsible for obtaining the endorsements; another wrote the back cover copy; still others were involved in the actual design of the back cover. But at last, everything was finished and ready to be sent to the printer.
You can find more information about A Stolen Heart, including an excerpt, on my web page. And if you'd like to order a copy, here are some buying links:
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book Distributors
Other Cover Art Blogs
As I promised at the beginning of this rather long blog, here are links to previous posts I've done about cover art.
Summer of Promise
Waiting for Spring
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the process of creating a book cover. I can't wait to see what Revell has in store for the next one in the series.