Please give Tessa a warm welcome everyone, and don't forget to enter her contest!
Before I start, I have to have a fangirl moment here. Nalini is my absolutely favorite paranormal writer and has been since I read Slave to Sensation many, many moons ago. I am so thrilled that she invited me to post on her blog!
I spent a long time trying to decide what it is I wanted to write about for today and since my latest cover for Dark Embers has generated a lot of comments— and because Nalini has some of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen--I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about how books get their covers.
To begin with, I have to say that I have been incredibly lucky at NAL— they have given me beautiful, sexy, provocative covers for all of my books and I could not be happier. In fact, I just got the cover for Hidden Embers, my second dragon book as Tessa Adams, and I am very excited about it.
Now, I can’t tell you about everyone’s experience with covers—as I think each publishing house does things a little differently—but at NAL, the cover art really is a collaboration—between the author, her editor, her agent, marketing, the artist, and the art director. Wow, when I lay it all out like that it sounds like a lot of work. But then again, that sounds about right. Trying to get a great cover is a lot of work.
Sometimes an author just gets lucky, as I did with my first book, Full Exposure. I had almost no input on that cover—I said I wanted something to reflect the heat (Louisiana bayou in the summertime and Kevin is an iron sculptor who welds his pieces together) and something that reflected Serena hiding away and Kevin slowly stripping her defenses from her. And voila, I got the absolutely GORGEOUS cover for Full Exposure (one of my favorite parts is Serena peering out from the spine of the book).
My Tie Me Down cover, however, took a lot more work. My editor wanted to shake things up a bit, and though one major theme in the book is Cole’s sexual domination of Genevieve, there is one scene where she turns the tables on him. My editor wanted to exploit that scene on the cover—to make the book really stand out from others of its kind (which is why Cole is the one tied up here). But when we first got the cover, the title was in huge white block letters, Cole (with his arms tied behind his back) was dead center and the whole background was dark shades of brown.
It was an interesting cover, but both my agent and I—and to some extent my editor—felt that it wasn’t really catering to the audience (in other words, it looked like M/M erotica and we were afraid that people who bought it and found out it that it wasn’t would be upset). Plus the whole cover just looked really harsh and forbidding and didn’t appeal to us as women at all (a problem since romance novels are geared toward women). So we took our concerns back to the artist, who came up with the present cover—he added a layer of cursive underneath the title, added blood to the white letters to signify the serial killings that are the book’s subplots, moved Cole to the left and put Genevieve in the upper right corner. Of course, now the cover looks like a fem dom book (which it definitely isn’t) and my Genevieve has blonde hair, not brown, but at least the overall cover is really striking and beautiful—and has a subtle feminine touch that I really, really like.
I think my Tease Me cover is absolutely beautiful. The color scheme is an interesting cross between Full Exposure and Tie Me Down, which I love. When my editor came to me, we had originally envisioned the first scene from the book, where the two main characters are on facing balconies in a beautiful New Orleans courtyard. But no matter what the art department did, they—and marketing—just weren’t happy with the finished look. So they went back to the drawing board and the very sexy cover for Tease Me was born. I love it and was glad to hear that readers do as well :-)
Which brings me to my Dark Embers cover, which was another one that was nearly perfect when we got it. When my editor asked what I wanted, I told her a desert scene (my dragons live in the modern day, in the caves under the New Mexico desert) and a hot guy with a dragon tattoo—and what I got was exactly that. But when the original version came back, both my editor and the marketing department were concerned that it wasn’t dragony enough, so she had the art department add the belt buckle and my Dark Embers cover was complete.
So in the spirit of my blog entry, I thought I’d ask what some of your favorite covers have been? Some of my recent favorites are Maya Banks’s cover for Sweet Temptation, Unspeakable by Laura Griffin, Larissa Ione’s for Sin Undone, Nalini’s for Archangel’s Kiss, and Lauren Dane’s Inside Out. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of my first Dragon’s Heat novel, Dark Embers.*
*Tessa will close the contest and announce the winner in the comments.