Friday, September 13, 2013

Raw Photo to Finished Cover: Delilah Marvelle Case Study

Morgan here with a mini cover design workshop and case study. Today, we will examine Delilah Marvelle's cover for Lady of Pleasure. Not only is Ms. Marvelle an amazing historical fiction author, she is also an incredibly supportive friend. (I swear, whenever we ask her for help, she says, "Yes" before we can finish asking the question!)

Lady of Pleasure is the third book in her five book School of Gallantry Series.  The first two books in the series were traditionally published. She is now in the process of self-pubbing the last three books. (Note: She does plan on redoing the covers for the first two books to bring them inline with the last three cover designs.)

Ms. Marvelle worked with Jenn LeBlanc at Illustrated Romance for the raw photo. In fact, she paid for the rights to use the stock photo below exclusively.  For the images for Night of Pleasure and Master of Pleasure, Ms. Marvelle was on site for the photo shoot to help stage the exact poses she wanted.

After procuring the raw photo, the final cover design was completed by Seductive Designs.

Raw photo and finished cover
Cover Design Notes - Take a moment to examine the two images above and note the following:
  • 'Delilah Marvelle' is in a traditional footed font. The font color really pops due to the contrasting color chosen.
  • The book title is centered and in a loopy font that works well for historical audiences.
  • The raw photo uses cool colors and tones, while the finished cover uses a warm color palette.
  • The heroes hair color and style were changed.
  • A red, textured curtain was added to the background.
  • A ruby earring was added to the heroine.
  • The entire cover screams historical! The reader knows, even at first glance, the story genre and the type of story they are purchasing.
Overall Comments:
  • Notice that it is the details that really help the cover come together - a tweak here and there can help you customize a stock image for your books.
  • Titles don't always have to be centered and the font choices should be made with your genre and subject matter in mind.
  • Your author name should be clear and easy to read!

Ms. Marvelle approaches all of her projects with a clear idea of how she wants the finished product to look. Not everyone has an artistic eye for design - which is why there are professionals who can help guide you through the design process. When working with designers, it is always good to take a moment to contemplate and write down your thoughts on images, colors, and feelings you want your cover to convey. Before approving the finished design, look at it in full size, thumbnail, and black & white. 

Whether on the shelf or online, your cover is what PULLs your potential reader to your book at the Point-of-Purchase (POP) with the goal of creating a SALE!

Therese says: Delilah's been exploring all different types of media promotions and has a few book trailers. My favorite is the one where my friend Andy is the narrator.