Monday, August 15, 2022

How I end up with good book covers - by Vijaya Schartz



Find my books at amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo 

I write in various genres, and as I am a very visual person, book covers are important to me.

Except for one or two fails with now defunct publishers, I’ve always been blessed with great book covers. Other authors think I’m lucky, but I cultivate an open line of communication with the publisher and designer. I know they did not read the book, so I work very hard to give them the elements I envision for my book covers, to communicate the spirit of the story.

I was often told I have a good eye for color. And if you look at my sci-fi covers, you’ll notice a lot of blue.

For many of my current covers, I went online to the stock photo companies used by my publisher, to look for the perfect cover model to represent my hero and my heroine’s personality and state of mind, as well as the best background. Then I sent these pictures and suggestions to the publisher for the cover designer. I was always thrilled with the resulting cover.

This time, however, as I am polishing my next novel, a new publisher rule emerged that except for Historical Novels in period costumes, the covers would no longer portray people with faces, but instead we should use backgrounds, silhouettes, or other elements to create a mood.

At first, I cringed. I had already picked my heroine for the cover, and I so loved my characters, I had found the perfect cover models with the right faces and personalities among the stock images. But I was up for the challenge. My October release, ANGEL SHIP, Book 1 of a new science fiction series Blue Phantom, is about a ghost ship, an Angel captain, a noble heroine, and of course, a big cat with an attitude. It contains lots of action, evil sorcerers, space battles, and romantic elements.

Here are some of my older BWL covers with people on them. Find them on my author page at: amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo 


As I scrolled through thousands of background images, I selected a few representing the best approximation of the inside of my glowing angel ship. Then I found a big cat like my heroine’s bodyguard, and a pair of cool angel wings.

When asked to send my cover suggestions, I almost panicked. How would the artist make a kick-butt cover with the meager elements I had selected? It seemed impossible, so I prepared myself for the worst.

What I didn’t count on, was the immense talent of the artists who create these book covers, their knowledge of the genres (science fiction in this case), their years of experience and their awareness of industry trends. But most of all, I underestimated their ability to visualize what I couldn’t.

The artist made it all come together by using the background in ways I didn’t think of, finding the perfect font, in the perfect spooky glow, to give the impression of a phantom ship. And the result is extraordinary. I absolutely love this cover. And the next books in the series will have the same background and same fonts, but with a different cat. Yay!

My hat’s off to the BWL Publishing team. I love you guys. You are my heroes.

The book comes out in October, but in the meantime, you can catch up with the Azura Universe with these two sister-series, Byzantium, and Azura Chronicles. Hint: Captain Blake Volkov, the hero of ANGEL SHIP, was a secondary character in ANGEL BRAVE. 

amazon B&N - Smashwords - Kobo

Happy Reading! 

Vijaya Schartz, author
Strong Heroines, Brave Heroes, cats

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