Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hart EMS Series: The Art Of Creating A Cover!

Ever wondered how book covers are created? Well, if you've followed my books since I first started publishing back in May 2012 you'd know I've come a long way in my cover art since then!

Much like writing & getting my stories out there, it's been a learning process, involving months of research, scouring of the internet, and in depth emails with design experts.

I thought you might like to see a little of what I've learned. I'm by no means an expert, but I have managed to evolve in the creation of my covers, to the point where I'm, well, pretty chuffed.

Meet Benjamin Hart & Sophie Pascoe. The two new protagonists in my latest Romantic Suspense Series: Hart EMS.

I'd already story arced the first three books in the series, spent a considerable amount of time developing the character parameters, and written the first four chapters of book one, before I found them. But, there they were, staring out at me from a Stock Image Website, complete with attitude, the exact looks I had pictured in my mind, and coming across as super sexy.

So, even though book one is not yet complete, I had to snaffle them up for the covers. Over the course of several months surfing and playing I finally settled on the style I wanted my cover to be; I went for an HDR look, with a cross processed finish, to give the final cover a little zing.

But, two figures standing on a near white background is boring, right? So, next came the theme, or message, I wanted to convey in my cover art.

Hart EMS is all about a paramedic with unusual skills who gets caught up in a murder mystery. Along the way, she has to deal with her sexy, irresistible, but downright pain-in-the-butt boss, Benjamin Hart. It's modern, fast paced, involves a vibrant metropolitan city, and takes the reader on an erotic and suspenseful ride. So, how do you put that in a book cover?

I went with the Miami CSI look. You know, the almost surreal, over-saturated colouring that awesome crime-scene programme has, which, in my mind, far outstrips its counterpart, CSI New York. And although this is a raunchy romance in parts, it is also very much a suspenseful crime/murder-mystery series slap bang in an urban setting, as well. Couple that CSI Miami look, with streaking lights to mimic speed, and the cityscape of metro buildings, and you've got an outstanding edgy, urban look.

So, choice of background chosen, I searched for the right scene with the perfect colour combination to accompany my couple, brought it in line with their HDR & cross processed look, to make it all blend seamlessly.

Then came putting the two together. And here is where the next learning curve for me began. I'd tried various programmes in my efforts to learn to cut an image, but finally settled on Gimp. Using You Tube, I watched helpful, easy, quick videos, such as the one below, making, surprisingly, the whole process so easy.

My finished product looked like this. 

And OK, so it took a few efforts to get it right, some scrapping of my first attempts and some experimentation to make it work for me. Such as toggling between the zoom feature, using a mixture of 800%, 200% and 100% at different parts of the picture.

The most difficult? Getting the hair right. But all up, I'd say each image requiring cutting took only about 20 to 30 minutes. I was blown away with how easy it actually was.

And then, the final proof was in the finished look. When I placed the cut picture of my couple onto the vibrant city scene.

Awesome right?

Well, I think so and in the end, so achievable. In fact, I was so stoked with my new found skill, I had to celebrate with a glass of wine. (Yes, I had been wanting to master this particular ability for yonks!).

So, next came the fonts, and I'm sure you'll agree, it's a bit of a personal preference. But, I wanted any easy to read script, with eye-catching colours.

Not necessarily the "normal" romance book cover look, but this book is not a "normal" romance. It's a mixture of Romantic Suspense, Murder/Mystery, Crime Scene, Contemporary, a hint of the unusual, and an edgy, fast, sensual story.

I have three books in the series planned so far, but depending on potential, there could be more. So, here they are, the Hart EMS Series. Now, I'll just get back to finishing writing the first book, so you can all rush on out and grab one!