Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cover Love ... by Stephanie Julian

As a writer, the second hardest part of writing a book for me is opening the file with my as-yet-unseen cover. It's the biggest part of creating a book that I have no control over. And to me, that's scary. Writing is all about control. Your characters. Your world. Your words.

It literally took me several minutes to work up the courage to open the file for the first book in my Magical Seduction series, Seduced by Magic. What if the artist hadn't captured the image as I saw it in my head? What if I hated it? What if I the guy totally turned me off or the girl made me want to cringe?

Finally, I made myself click that file and I gasped...in wonder. Look at it and tell me that is not a beautiful cover. It's gorgeous. I was thrilled. And relieved. And I thought, how perfect.

Now, that cover in no way resembled what I had filled out on the cover art request form. I don't remember word for word what I wrote, but I do remember writing something about wings. And artist Les Byerly took that one word and crafted a cover that fits the book absolutely. It remains my favorite cover, simply because I adore those wings.

For Seduced by Magic, I had a distinct image in mind when I filled out the cover request. But when I wrote the request for Edge of Moonlight, the latest book in my Lucani Lovers series, I had no clue what I thought that cover should look like. It's a werewolf book. Maybe a wolf? A hot guy?

What did I get? A cool-looking chick (in fur!!) and an atmospheric shot with a tiny little guy in the background. But that cover, by cover-artist-goddess Syneca, so perfectly expresses the mood of the story, I think she must have crawled inside my head, dug around for a while and pulled this out of my subconscious. That woman is Kaine. How the hell did Syneca know that?

In the course of two years, I've gotten one or two covers that made me go, hmm, yeah, not exactly what I was hoping for. But those have been few and far between. And one has been my biggest-selling book. Go figure.

What A Goddess Wants, the first book in my Forgotten Goddesses series with Sourcebooks Casablanca, won't be out until July 2011 but my cover has already been produced. Before the book was even completed, which totally blew my mind.

I wondered how an artist could come up with a cover for a book that I didn't even have a handle on completely.

Once again, I hesitated before opening the file and again, I gasped in absolute delight. Gorgeous, isn't it? I think so. It's the perfect blend of heat and color and sophistication.

I don't think I'll ever get over that initial trepidation when I'm opening a cover file because the cover embodies so much of our hopes and dreams for a book. But I'm beginning to think cover artists are mind readers. Or, at the very least, wizards.

So tell me, what it is about a cover that grabs your attention?


  1. I really love the Seduced by Magic cover. It's one of the most beautiful romance covers I've ever seen. I like covers that evoke a mood like that one. Its otherworldly yet sensuous.

    Great post.

  2. thanks so much Karin. and otherworldly fits perfectly.

  3. Love the Seduced by Magic one as well. The color is a great choice. That warm gold tone is seductive in itself. The curves of the bodies are great, they really flow together. The way he is holding her breast is tender, without being all perv merve gropy. And the wings are the frosting on the cake. Lovely! I may have to send a submision to Eternal Press just for a chance at their cover artists!

  4. It's so funny how you describe the process of telling them what you want on your cover, and then they just do what's right! I had the same experience with my books-- the first cover was not what I had asked for, but it was way better than what I was describing! For the second cover, I just said: you guys know best. Surprise me!

  5. I love the Seduced by Magic cover also... it's pretty hard to ignore and that is the point. And I totally get the emotional attachment- the need we have to love our covers. These books are our babies and even though we know that after we give birth to them, others take charge of their future, we always hope for the best possible care. No wonder we feel like we've won a contest when the cover meets or exceeds expectations. Win-win indeed!

  6. I know exactly what you mean by being scared to open the cover file. You could be in for serious misery without much recourse. Finally, you have to click on download and hope for the best.

  7. I just got a new cover too and I liken that moment to giving birth: "Oh! So that's what you look like!"

  8. Stephanie, you have a very hard-working cover art fairy! I am pea green with envy at all the gorgeous Girlfriends' book covers. Maybe some of that luck will rub off on me (please, please).

  9. Stephanie, Your Seduced by Magic cover is top shelf! The artwork and title are a perfect marriage. An arranged marriage is how I felt about my cover. I also stared at the attachment for a while before opening it! I was forunate; I was perfect for me. I think the best covers make you want to open the book, and really, what more can you ask?