Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Cover Art that Could Have Been #scifi #romance

Original Lyrical cover
One of the big things for me when relaunching Keir was the cover art. Although I loved the cover I got from Lyrical Press Inc., it had two main issues for me. One, the tattoos weren't right and they weren't as prolific as my character's description (but frankly I was lucky to get any at all). The second was not having Quin on the cover. To be fair, with the restrictions of cover art getting a blue skinned tattooed man and a redhaired woman as an actual couple was an impossible ask. It's something you have to learn to accept as an author. You might not get what you envisaged, or what you put down on your cover art request form. You might not get anything even remotely like it if the publisher decides your vision is not only unattainable but also unmarketable. The cover for Keir was certainly popular. It was also an award winner. It wasn't exactly what I'd expected.

But one benefit of being a self published author is that, providing you have the budget, can find the stock images and have a talented cover artist (like Danielle Fine) on the job, then you can get something at least remotely like you want it. And with taking back the rights to my book, I wanted to get away from that old cover and reclaim Keir completely.

So the first task was to throw together some ideas on a Pinterest board of what I was looking for and what images Dani could find that might match or make suitable alternatives. This took time as we both hunted for stock images and uploaded them with various notes along the lines of 'might make a good Quin' or 'which of these do you prefer?'. Then Dani put together several draft images. I'm showing them below, along with a note about why they didn't make the cut.

I'll confess right up front that I have a thing for faces. I know there's a bit of a split opinion because some readers prefer to imagine how the characters might look. To those, I apologize. I love faces on books. I feel like the character is trying to catch my eye and talk to me. And the advantage is if I'm picking the image, then I know what my character looks like and I can share it with you.
Now, this one is striking, but first off I've seen it used a couple of times already. One bug bear I see a lot of complaints about is the repetition of certain images on book covers. I remember seeing one particular blogger who had collected some 37 book covers featuring the exact same couple in the exact same pose, and in many cases there wasn't even a variation in lighting, colouring, effects, text etc. I did not want to do that. I wanted something as original as it could possibly be. So, this one had been used and on books I'd seen. I also felt that perhaps it was a bit too scary, especially for a romance novel. I want people to be intrigued and pick it up, not get the shivers.

With these two, my first issue was again that I'd seen the image used before, and on another science fiction romance to boot. Secondly, the text was too like the Lyrical version, and with the right hand one I was concerned that it would be unreadable at thumbnail size (always look at a much smaller version of your cover art, and/or on your phone. So many people surf on their phones now, and thumbnails are all you'll see on most retail sites. If you can't read the title when you know what it says, you can't expect visitors to read and remember it either, and you want them to remember it. Right?). So even though I love squiggly text, I had to reject it from a marketing point of view.
This one - loved 'Quin' and liked the gateway type image at the bottom, but didn't like the guy. At all. That just wasn't Keir.
This one had Keir and Quin, as I wanted, and the image of Keir was one I'd added to the Pinterest board. It's also the same model who posed for the Lyrical version of the cover. But again, I've seen it used a few times. I really liked the image for the gateways that my characters use to cross time and space, but it's too Stargate looking, and not how I describe my portals in the book. And Quin...wasn't quite my Quin.

Something here might start looking familiar now, though. Again, I wasn't keen on Quin and the portal looked too much like something else. The one on the right fitted more with my idea of the gateways - a door full of stars. And the guy...well, he definitely had the right look for Keir...

So 'Keir' was staying, and it was time to settle on an image for the bottom half of the cover. What I really, really wanted was Quin. And I stumbled across an image that totally captured her for me.
THAT was Quin (and yes, fans of New Who might see a resemblance to a certain companion. NOT deliberate. To me, this is Quin and not Amy Pond, although I can't deny the Doctor Who-ishness of the story). And that was the cover I wanted. I had my SFR couple. A few more tweaks were needed to get the right text and to add the new tagline and series title, and then we were there.
A Science Fiction Romance Novel
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon | All Romance eBooks
Kobo | iTunes | Scribd

 Google Play | Smashwords
So there's the evolution of the cover for Keir. And since the sneak peek for book two went out in my newsletter last week, I can now show you the cover for Keir's Fall too.

Now you can see the linking design between the two books, and the tattoo symbol that will be on all the books of the series, and a return of that gateway image I loved. But you're going to have to wait a while to see the cover for the third book...


The tour for Keir continues, or you can pop back and read any of the previous posts.

Tour Dates and Places
4th May SFR Station - spotlight
7th May Literary Lagniappe - Two Hero Inspirations (+giveaway)
7th May The Multi-verses of Liza O - No, It's Not Twilight
7th May Romance Authors At Large - Top Five Movie Inspirations
8th May Cover Reveals - excerpt
11th May Mark of the Stars - excerpt
12th May SFR Brigade - How Alien are your Characters?
12th May Spacefreighters Lounge - The Cover Art That Could Have Been
18th May Everyday Fangirl - My Four Rs of Writing
27th May The Perils of Pauline - Why I Wrote Keir
3rd June Katherine McIntyre - interview

Last week as well as having fun setting up Keir for re-release and preparing my Breathless Press titles for re-release, AND celebrating both my third anniversary as a published author on the 7th and my 22nd wedding anniversary (copper, for those curious) on the 8th, I've been deciding on cover art. It was a tough choice, in a good way! The reveal for the new Restless In Peaceville cover will take place this Friday (15th May) at:

Everyday Fangirl, The Perils of Pauline, Aurora Springer, JoAnne Kenrick, Philip Hoy, Dana Wright, Raven McAllen, SA Hoag, Celia Breslin, Tara Quan, Sparky's Fireplace, M Stegman, Shelli Rosewarne, and Kelliea Ashley.

Also on Friday I'll be doing my regular monthly post at Romancing the Genres, and I'll be sharing my suggestions for some summer reads - my favourite books from the past year! Want to tell me yours? I might mention them too.

Tomorrow I'm at Everyday Fangirl as part of a series of Fangirl interviews about our love of Star Wars. ^-^

And finally, there will be an exclusive reveal for Tethered's new cover over at the SFR Station on the 22nd May. 

This is a very busy Pippa Jay signing off...


  1. > 37 book covers featuring the exact same couple in the exact same pose


    Thanks for the behind-the-scenes cover peek!

  2. Loved seeing all the cover possibilities!

    1. I thought it would be fun to share them. ^_^


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.