Since all I seem to be doing lately is cover art, I suppose I'll chat a bit about that with you. :-) I manage to write a paragraph now and then, but to be honest, creating cover art saps away my creativity, leaving little left for writing. Eventually I hope to find a balance between the two. In the meantime, I'm going to share some tips with you on how to fill out your cover art form to help best help your artist.
I know the first time I opened a cover art form, I just stared at it. Ummm... hmmm... I had no idea what to put. So there it sat, for three days, on my desktop without any answers. When I finally did fill it out, I attached a mock-up for the artist. She used my design to create the amazing cover art I have now for Written in Blood (thanks again, C.H. Scarlett!). My second cover art form, I had a good idea about what I wanted, so I filled it in with specifics and didn't bother putting anything together. What landed in my email box was... not stellar. So I created another mock-up, hoping like last time, the artist would use it to make a beautiful version of her own. Instead the publisher decided to use my cover. Well... okay, I wasn't about to say no to that!
Now that I've worked with almost a dozen authors and will work with dozens more in the coming months, let me tell you what I look at when I receive your cover art sheet. The first thing I go to is what you WANT on your cover. These are the elements that make your story unique, that you as the author want to make sure is on the cover to represent your story. The second thing I look at is the description of the hero/heroine. After all, I need to know what to look for in models! Hair and skin color are the biggest ones, as eye color can be changed, for the most part.
Next I look at your blurb. Believe it or not, I do read this. It gives me the general feel of your novel, the vibe potential readers should get from the cover to make them interested in clicking and learning more.
Lastly I'll look at what you don't want. This is as important as what you want. I had one author list "no haunted house". This was important, as her novel was a paranormal about ghost hunting, so it's very possible I would have gone looking for an old creepy house. Another told me to keep it simple, no clutter. This comment about made my brain spaz out. I HATE empty space. Nothing is more boring than empty space. Needless to say I botched the first attempt on her cover. Thankfully, the owner of Astraea Press stepped in and sent me an awesome picture she wanted to see on the cover. I worked with it from there and produced a simple, yet profound cover. *phew*
So, when you fill out that form, really think about the elements that are most important to your cover and what elements aren't. And know when I design your cover, I put a lot of thought into it, but I want your input too. Don't be afraid to tell me what you feel needs changed!
For those of you who are cover art form filling veterans, do you feel your cover artist reads the form and if so, do you think it made a difference on the end result of your cover?