BOOK TALK TUESDAYS: THE MAKING OF A COVER

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Please welcome the talented Marion Sipe! I’m thrilled to have her visiting today!

Hey there everyone!

I’m Marion Sipe, and I’m a cover artist. I work with publishing companies and independent authors, creating covers that I hope authors are happy to have connected to their works. I’m a writer as well, so I’ve been on both sides of the cover and I know how tough a job it can be. Today, I’m guesting here with the lovely and talented Kim Cresswell—I got to make the cover for Reflection!—to talk about the process of making a cover, and working with an author to come up with something that’s fitting, and captures the feel of a story.

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The feel and mood of the story are actually the most important things. A cover doesn’t necessarily illustrate a given scene, in fact that’s not really the way you want to approach things. Instead of trying to illustrate a book, it’s best to use recurring and important elements to establish the mood you want the reader to be in, what you want them to feel when they pick up your book. Connecting with a reader on that level means they go for your book, instead of all the others lined up next to it, because readers read to experience something. They want to know that reading your story will put them in it, that they’ll connect to the characters, and that the plot will engage them, and that the setting will create a feeling in them. You can’t just write all of that on the cover, of course, and even if you could the reader probably wouldn’t believe you. This is one of the things that must be shown and not told. *G*

So, at the start of any project I want to know what the book is about, what its genre is, because that’s what will establish the mood. There’s more to it than that, of course, but genre is the first step. Should the reader be primed for romance? Should they be ready for action? Should they be drooling for a good sword fight? The genre tells me the first elements of the cover, and the first step in creating a mood for the reader.

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Next, I need to know the flavor of the story itself. Is it a bitter-sweet drama? Then I should use rich, deep tones, with notes of both solemnity and joy. Or is it a tart mystery with an acerbic main character? For which I should clearly use bold, contrasting colors to get the reader tense and ready to pounce on any clues. Or it could be a sweet romance, which calls for longing eyes, soft tones and an organic composition that lets the eye move easily between elements. Or maybe it’s an action-packed thriller, with explosions and guns and kick-ass women? Well, then it should obviously be bold, but not contrasting, complimentary colors with a straightforward feel. All of this I get from the synopsis, which tells me not only the twists and turns of the book, but far more importantly tells me its feel.

From the synopsis I also pick out recurring elements and themes which suit that feel. These should be visible in both the synopsis and the cover. Often authors incorporate these elements intentionally, for instance the recurring theme of snakes to represent the bad things. However, sometimes the elements are more subtle, or come from how an author describes their work. The particular words we use are important. There’s a big difference between ‘sexy and sophisticated’ and ‘romantic and sensual.’ Even though they’re both romances, the mood the author’s looking for is different in each case and requires different kinds of art. So, I like it when an author uses descriptive words to tell me what they’re looking for.

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I use all of this to come up with the basic cover proof. This is the first draft of the cover art, but it’s not finished. I send it to the author to get their feedback and make sure I’m on target. Often authors need adjustments or changes and we discuss what they’d like to see or how they’d like it tweaked and I give my input from an artistic point of view. Sometimes authors want things to match up exactly which can be an issue, but I do my best to accommodate any changes they request. I include two sets of revisions in the price of my covers because an author should have input and be able to ask for changes to the proof, but I put a limit on it because, as we all know, authors also love to tweak. *G* I know I do. It’s actually pretty hard to pry a manuscript out of my digital hands… Sentences or word positioning, it doesn’t matter, but there always has to be a point at which you have to let it go.

In the end, authors should be happy with their cover and excited about seeing it up, and that’s my goal. I hope this post has helped you see a bit behind the curtain, and given you some insight into what your cover artist is looking for!

You can find my portfolio here, my premade covers here, and my promotional artwork here. If you’re looking for a cover artist, feel free to contact me at marysipe@gmail.com!

I’m also having a sale on my premade covers throughout February, so make sure to drop by and check out the pretties!

Or check out my video portfolio!

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REFLECTION is available at Amazon | MuseItUp | ARe | BookStrand | Goodreads | AmazonUK
Coming soon to Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and other fine retailers. Available in print (late February)

Don’t forget to enter The Spread the Suspense Contest! Click here to find out what you can win!

NEWS: INTERVIEWS, EVENTS & CONTESTS

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Love is in the air!

Read an exclusive excerpt from REFLECTION @ CAPA Awards Party at trsparites.com

Nice to Meet you! (Camera, Condoms, and a sexy FBI agent)

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I have some fantastic authors coming to Book Talk Tuesdays!

On February 21st, meet Brandi Schmidt author of The Kindling (Paranormal Romance).

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Tru Darling is a Sparkler. She didn’t choose to be almost electrocuted, inherit otherworldly powers, and fall for the hottest evil guy in St. Louis—but that’s exactly what happened. Her power to see true love spark in the eyes of strangers, to watch it flicker with excitement, fuse with its perfect match, or witness it burn out from despair, is a wonderful curse that drains her emotionally and physically. But she can’t afford to be weak while she’s hunting down soul mates, saving others’ faith in love, and contemplating if her hot new boyfriend is her guardian angel or the angel of death. Being a Sparkler may have its perks; enhanced vision, intuition, and physical beauty. But what of the personal costs that come with Tru’s destiny? Constant danger, unbearable pain, and lost souls she just can’t save. Tru must choose between a normal life without love or a birthright that comes with great passion, danger, and responsibility.  Preorder here!

On March 5th, I welcome J.Q. Rose, author of Coda to Murder (Mystery Romance).

Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.

Detective Cole Stephens doesn’t want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.

Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?  Coming Soon!

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REFLECTION – Upcoming Events

I’m going to be visiting the following blogs talking about Reflection!

February 17 – Interview at Kelly Whitley’s Blog

March 4 – Author Interview and giveaway at YouGottaRead

April 27 – Author Spotlight  at Lost To Books

You can purchase REFLECTION at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Amazon.ca AmazonUK, CoffeeTimeRomance, Omnilit, BookStrand!
Coming soon to Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and other fine retailers. Coming soon in paperback!

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CONTESTS

Don’t forget I’m giving away a Kindle Fire HD along with 30 other blogs! So cool! Contest runs February 1 -27th! Click here to enter!

Another great contest is coming! Stay tuned!

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INTERVIEWS, EVENTS & CONTESTS

Today I’m honored to be interviewed by my good friend and fellow author, Peter Cimino! Peter is the author of Lucky Says Hello (a short story set in the crime ridden, politically corrupt decade of 1930s when at times, it was difficult to tell the “good guys” from the bad).

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REFLECTION – Upcoming February Events

February 7-Interview at TBR (To Be Read) & Giveaway

February 11 – Guest at J Q Rose’s Blog http://www.jqrose.com/

February 17 – Interview at Kelly Whitley’s Blog

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CONTESTS

Don’t forget I’m giving away a Kindle Fire HD along with 30 other blogs! So cool! Contest runs February 1 -27th! Click here to enter!

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kindleYou can purchase REFLECTION at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Amazon.ca AmazonUK, CoffeeTimeRomance, Omnilit, BookStrand!
Coming soon to Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and other fine retailers. Coming soon in paperback!

3 Days and Counting…

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Three days until release day (Friday)!  I can`t wait to share REFLECTION with the world. 🙂 Stay tuned for a great contest coming Friday!  Save 20% by pre-ordering through MuseItUp Publishing!  Coming soon to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, SmashWords and other fine retailers. **Available in paperback in February!** (Details to follow)

Watch the trailer

Praise

Reflection is a fast-paced thriller with something for every reader: scientific experiments, murderous encounters, and a complicated love story. Kim Cresswell’s debut work will leave you hanging on every page in a world where every word counts, every man’s word is suspect, and those ‘three little words’ mean more than anything when all is revealed.”
~M.K. Chester, author (Carina Press)

Fast-paced and gripping. A riveting story action readers will enjoy.”
~Bestselling True Crime Author, RJ Parker
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Book Talk Tuesday will return next week (January 29th) with my special guest, Peter Cimino.  You don`t want to miss it! Peter is the author of Lucky Says Hello

During the mobster-ridden, politically corrupt era of the 1930’s, it was difficult to tell “good guys” from the bad.

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Pete Carissimo, known to his friends as Big Pete, is a successful Sicilian immigrant businessman and politician in New Jersey. He has connections, associations, and relationships in all walks of life—including a clandestine partnership with the notorious mobster, Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Pete vows his alliance with Luciano is strictly related to business, that he is not and never will be a gangster. However, in the fall of 1931, he finds his stellar reputation, successful business, and budding political career facing ultimate ruination with his secret allegiance on a head-on collision course with exposure. Backed into a corner, Pete is faced with becoming something he vowed he never wanted to be; a real gangster.

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year filled with happiness and love.

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BOOK TALK TUESDAYS – Upcoming Author Interveiws You Don’t Want to Miss!

January 15th – Internationally acclaimed bestselling author RJ Parker is most well known for his books, TOP CASES of The FBI (Winner of the World Book Awards 2012), Unsolved Serial Killings and Women Who Kill. He has seven true crime books available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats.

January 29th Peter Cimino, author of Lucky Says Hello (Pete Carissimo, known to his friends as Big Pete, is a successful Sicilian immigrant businessman and politician in New Jersey. He has connections, associations, and relationships in all walks of life—including a clandestine partnership with the notorious mobster, Charles “Lucky” Luciano. Pete vows his alliance with Luciano is strictly related to business, that he is not and never will be a gangster. However, in the fall of 1931, he finds his stellar reputation, successful business, and budding political career facing ultimate ruination with his secret allegiance on a head-on collision course with exposure. Backed into a corner, Pete is faced with becoming something he vowed he never wanted to be; a real gangster.)

Don’t forget REFLECTION will be available for purchase January 25th!

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A reporter’s determination to expose an illegal human cloning project places an innocent child in the crosshairs of a master criminal.

Available at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, SmashWords and more!

MY BOOK EVENTS

January 17 – Interview on Kelly Whitley’s Blog

January 23 – Guest Blog at Kathy Rygg’s–A Sense of Fiction

January 29 – Interview at Peter Cimino’s Writing Corner

February 1 – Guest Blog and giveaway at ROMCOM

February 3 & 4 – Guest Blog and giveaway at Just Romantic Suspense

February 7 – Interview at TBR

Blogging Today at Terry Ordell’s–Terry’s Place!

Stop by Terry’s Place and find out how I combine two of my passions…writing and gaming!

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Confession of a Gamer Chick

The Big List of RPG Plots (download)