Friday, April 5, 2013

The Making of a Book Cover!

I got my first glimpse at the final cover for my next release, Elusive Hope, last week. Yay!!  I have to say, seeing the cover and then later on, watching the video trailer have become very special to me. I guess it's because I'm a really visual person, so when I see my characters coming to life visually on the page and in a video, they become even more real to me and more endearing.

Anyway, I thought you might like to hear about the process. It starts with my publisher asking me to fill out a cover idea sheet. I'm copying mine from Elusive Hope below. I've deleted the parts that would give too much away about the story.

RELEASE DATE:  August 2013
TITLE: Elusive Hope
SERIES: Escape to Paradise
AUTHOR:  MaryLu Tyndall

A.      Year/Time period covered in the book:  1866
B.      Specific locales (include lay of land, season of year, specific natural elements in vegetation and geography, etc.): 

Mostly the jungles of Brazil and a couple weeks in Rio de Janeiro.  I’m attaching pictures of both

II.  SUMMARY (50-100 words of key plot):
The Civil War has ravaged the South, and Magnolia Scott’s parents, in a last ditch effort to regain their Southern way of life, drag her to the jungles of Brazil in the hope of starting a new Southern Utopia. Desperate to return home, Magnolia attaches herself to Hayden Gale, a con-man who joined the venture seeking his father whom he blames for his mother’s death. Together, the Spoiled Southern Belle and the rogue swindler travel to Rio de Janeiro, both harboring deep secrets and both hoping to trick the other one out of what’s left of their money.

A.    Main Character #1   Magnolia Scott
Age—   22
                        Occupation— Spoiled Southern Belle
                        Hair Color— Light blonde
                        Eye Color— Blue/Sapphire
                        Hair Style—   Worn up with the style of the times (pictures attached)
                        Clothing Style— Tries to always dress to perfection (pictures attached)
                        Overall Description (could include height, build, personal style, countenance, etc.)—   Medium height with feminine curves.  Magnolia has a snobbish, aristocratic bearing which she learned by being the only daughter of very wealthy plantation owners.  However, on the inside she’s a wounded lady who doesn’t believe she ever measures up and who feels indebted to her parents.

            B.  Main Character #2  Hayden Gale
Age—  25
                        Occupation— Swindler/Con-man
                        Hair Color—Dark Brown
                        Eye Color— Green
                        Hair Style— Long. A bit past collar
                        Clothing Style—   Blue collar working
                        Overall Description (could include height, build, personal style, countenance, etc.)—  

            C.  Secondary characters, if they are essential to the cover (up to 2):

IV.  Story Conflicts that could go into create a cover scene/mood:
 Hero and heroine are both trying to swindle each other. Magnolia wants to go back to the States. Hayden needs her money to help find his father, whom he blames for the death of his mother and wants to kill. 

V. TONE (select most appropriate for designer direction, though your choice may not always be used)
            __ Traditional romantic showing both characters
            _X_ Romantic showing one character (__hero or _X_ heroine?)
            __ Comical/quirky romance
            X_ Suspenseful romance (_X_ dark or __ light coloring?)
            __ Suspense or mystery without romantic tone
            __ Women’s fiction
            __ Other (please describe)

VI.  Symbols (e.g. flowers, fabrics, objects, natural phenomena that illustrate or clarify the book’s objectives and would be appropriate in cover art) – please note 2-3 options:
Heroine has a hand mirror that was given to her by her father. It has great significance to the story because it represents her extreme vanity but also  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.  

Mood of the story is suspenseful and mystical and romantic.  The hero and heroine are traveling through the Brazilian jungle to Rio de Janeiro.  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I’m thinking of either a scene set in the jungle or one at Rio de Janeiro.  Perhaps she’s sitting near a waterfall in the jungle and looking at her reflection in the water. ??   This happens several times in the story.

*Attach any picture, drawing, or other description that may help the artist create a cover that captures the setting, characters, mood, and feel of the book.

I’m attaching the following pictures to the note I’m sending this with.

Picture of hero: Hayden Gale
Picture of Heroine: Magnolia Scott
Rainforest picture
Brazilian jungle picture
Rio de Janeiro picture
Post-civil War Gowns
Victorian Hand Mirror
Creek in Jungle
Victorian Hair Style 1 and 2
Tropical Waterfall

Me again.  Cool huh?
Then several months go by while I write the book!  My publisher will sometimes send me pictures of models they are considering to use in the photo shoot for the cover. This time they did and here they are:

Model 1

Model 3
Model 2
Model 4

I get to choose which model best fits my vision for my heroine, Magnolia. They won't always go with my choice, but at least they consider my input. I chose Model 2, but I believe they used Model 3

NEXT:  My publisher will send me Cover layout compositions.  There are usually 2 or 3 of them using different gowns and different backgrounds (The models in these are NOT real models but just pictures used for placement)  My publisher asks me which one I prefer.  I love this part because I get to see what ideas they've been kicking around.  Here are the compositions they sent me:

They are ALL gorgeous, aren't they? I had a hard time choosing. I even had to ask my Motley Crew for their help!!  But I finally told my publisher I liked Composition 1 and 3 the best. I liked the sunlight in 1 and the mystical jungle look of number 3.

Then I didn't hear anything from them for a couple months. By this time, I'm finished with the book and working on edits with an editor so the characters are even more real to me than ever. 

Then, finally, I get that email in my inbox that says: Elusive Hope Cover.  My heart starts to beat a little faster.. and if you were close by, you may have heard me squeal in delight. I open the mail, download the picture and get my first look at the cover of my next book.   

So, what do you think???


  1. Gorgeous! Wonderful!
    You know, MaryLu, all of those x's make me want to read this book even more. You are such a tease! LOL
    Congrats on the new cover!

  2. It's gorgeous!! I find this post of yours fascinating, because I'm a rookie graphic designer and am just beginning my own online business to create and sell such book covers. It's intriguing to see the process professionals have to go through. Thankyou so much for sharing! :D

  3. MaryLu, thank you for sharing with us the creative process, both on your end and your publisher's end. This whole thing is just fascinating to me. And I really think that this cover compliments Forsaken Dreams beautifully! And yes, as Chaplain says, you are such a tease. :)

  4. MaryLu,

    Stunning cover! Just like Chaplain Debbie said all those x's make me want to see what adventure waits Magnolia and Hayden! Congrats and Happy writing!

  5. Oh, I am so excited for the next book! I know Hayden and Magnolia will have lots of fireworks! When will you post the video trailer?

    PS. Five comments before Mrs. Hurley? This must be a record! Hope she's ok.....

  6. Looks beautiful - seems like a very LONG wait until we get to read :)
    Happy Writing! ♥

  7. Fri Apr 5th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Wow, I had no idea how much went in to the choices and selection of a book cover, and "ALL" that is involved !!! It was most interesting following down through today's blog, and reading how it all came to be. I love all of the various book covers you showed, but I especially love the "final" one !!! Truly -- beautiful, captivating, intriguing, mysterious .... and the list goes on !!! Exceptional book cover, MryLu .... you should be so very proud !!! (Can't wait ....)
    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda

  8. I love it! Thanks for sharing the process of the cover. I've always wondered about that! Very cool.
    I love the main characters' names - can't wait to read their story.

    And Callie - you made me chuckle at your statement about there being 5 comments before the faithful Mrs. Hurley! She did arrive ... :)

    Have a great day ladies!

  9. This was so interesting! I've always wondered about the process myself, so i really liked this. (plus, I liked seeing all the choices you had to choose from! :)

    Can't wait to read this!

  10. Thanks for once again sharing the 'behind the scenes' information of how a book comes together. It's interesting to see the process for choosing a book cover. Of course, it's torture having now seen the cover without enjoying what's inside (insert GROAN here). Can't wait to read it!

  11. It's Beautiful! I didn't realize so much went into a book cover! It honestly sounds like a fun process, except for how long it takes. Congradulations on your next book!

  12. Breath taking! Next to your last one, this is a favorite!
    I liked the green dress, but it didn't look like the right dress for the time period and could have thrown some people off.

  13. Amazing! I had no idea the awesomeness that went into having a cover made. How exciting to see your story come to life in a cover! It looks like so much fun! It's beautiful MaryLu!

  14. Thanks, everyone, for sharing my joy!
    Bush Maid... best of luck in your business venture. If I wasn't an author.. I would love to be a graphic designer.

    Callie, not sure when the trailer will be made.. probably not until late summer. You'll be the first to know! (well, after me, of course) Thanks for checking up on Brenda!! LOL

    Hayden.. one of the heroes in this series is named Hayden! What are the odds of that?

    You are correct, Shelby, the dress is not completely right for the time period but by the time I saw the cover, it was too late to change. She should have a bustle on which should puff the skirt out quite a bit in the back. Sigh.

    Anyway, thanks so much everyone for your comments!! Hugs

  15. Gorgeous, MaryLu! This is such a fascinating process - appreciate you taking the time to share it. Wish we'd see more "work-in-progress" posts similar to this. :)

  16. I tend to resist information on books that are months prior to releasing because it's just so hard to wait, but I LOVE the cover! I think they got a great mix of your ideas and I look quite forward to reading it!

  17. Very cool - and informative! Thank you for sharing!

    Gorgeous cover, too. Wow.

  18. Thanks for sharing the process with us, MaryLu! It really is such a fascinating process. It always amazes me when publishing companies release books with really horrible covers. Covers are so important in my opinion, especially when a person is not familiar with the authors work. I fully admit to having bought books based on the cover! I would have picked the same model as you, and I liked cover example one and three the best too. I think your new cover flows nicely with the cover for book one!

  19. Thanks again, everyone! Rissi, I'll try to post more about these type of things. In truth, my life is very quiet most of the time. I sit at my computer and write and rarely hear from my publisher or anyone else.... but I will try to keep my blog readers more in the loop.

    Karen, I know 7 months is a long way away.. I agree with you! IT's so hard to wait.. even for me, and I know what happens in the story.. not sure why my publisher is creating the covers so early these days..

    Emma I agree about covers. They are very very important. I think my publisher is finally catching on. My least favorite cover of mine is The Red Siren.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

  20. What an interesting process, thanks for posting. Very lovely covers.

    I enjoyed the first book in the series and am eager to read Magnolia and Hayden's story. I'm interested to see how through God's grace and love they dedicated their lives to Him.

    Congrats on the series.


  21. Absolutely stunning cover! I thought they couldn't get any prettier but this one is the top :)

  22. Saturday, April 6th,
    Dear: Callie, and, Caroline,
    Ahhhh, you are both funny -- only read your comments "today".
    Now remember Callie -- you are to call me "Brenda" ... (and the same for you, Caroline ... just kidding).
    Now, I'm laughing ....
    But, yes, I am totally fine, Callie .... thanks for being concerned. And, Caroline -- you were obviously 'reading' all of the comments ... good work !
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda

  23. Absolutely gorgeous cover MaryLu, I love it!!! Thanks for sharing the making of the cover, that was fascinating and insightful to read. I didn't know you have as much input as you do with it as I was under the impression that the covers were almost completely out of the authors hands! Fantastic job to all!!

  24. MaryLu, this is absolutely breathtaking! They did such a wonderful job on it! Wow, you are so blessed to have such great cover designers. I saw this the other day and didn't scroll down far enough, and thought those gowns were gonna be it and I wasn't crazy about them. But the one they picked is perfect. No wonder you squealed! lol Oh, I can't wait to read it!

  25. Thanks for sharing this process! I love the cover.

  26. Ms. Tyndall,

    I enjoyed seeing the cover art process as much as anyone else as I've always been fascinated by the steps that lead up to how a book goes to print! :) I must confess, I liked the green dress at first, but then, I thought the final cover was fine, except that I wasn't sure how to judge a timeline choice, so I yield to the commenter who said the bustle was missing! I think though, despite that one flaw, it's a brilliant cover because it draws you into the jungle and the mystic atmopshere that apparently surrounds that installment! I am hoping to read Forsaken Dreams long before that arrives!!

    Blessings to you!
    & Thank you for being so open about your process as a writer!