Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Covers, We Have Covers...

We have come a long way with our cover art. When Phaze launched in late 2004, we had only one artist to meet our cover art needs. She did a bang-up job on our earlier titles like Fairy Godlover and the original Three Days in New York City concept - the large apple logo, which changed to the current cover when the second edition came out. When she left two years later, though, we were left scrambling for replacements. A big deal, since cover art plays a large role in selling a book, and we weren't about to resort to stick figures.

I took on a few projects with what knowledge of Photoshop I had (until then I'd been making cutesy photos for contests), while others in the house with expertise did the same. Eventually and thankfully we found Debi Lewis, who assumed the position of the head of our Art Department, which contracts a number of designers. You could say this marked the beginning of our shift from the CGI style that earns quite a share of derision from cover snarkers (some is justified, I will say, especially for a few of my books) to the use of photography that earns a bigger share of derision from cover snarkers, since most ePubs tend to dip into the same pool.

Much as I would love to visit a stable of waiting cover models ready to disrobe for my camera, we're not there yet. We're close - we do have a nice collection of original pictures of the Phaze Phenom and Fox for our staff of artists to utilize, but until hubby and I lose fifty pounds and get rid of the gray you're going to see hot iStock chicks and hunks for a little while longer.

We just plan to make them look more original.

So here's a taste of what we have going on in cover art right now.

Twice Born - L.E. Bryce

One of the first covers I did for Phaze was L.E.'s Dead to the World. That was a challenge, because before then we had never pubbed a book like Dead before. This was a homoerotic epic, set in a unique Arabian Nights-style backdrop, a complex world of L.E.'s creation. It was really a story in need of original artwork, but we were limited in our resources. The task fell to me to do it, and the end result was more than satisfactory. Dead's cover won last year's GLBT Ariana Award for cover art. With Twice Born, the sequel, we went with a similar theme which I think works well.

The Water Lovers of Sirilon - L.E. Bryce

Now this cover I really like! This summer we are releasing three of L.E.'s novellas in the Water Lovers series (Ki'iri, Becoming, and Still Life), which also includes Dead and Twice. Debi Lewis did this cover, which is going to look incredible when it's printed.

More to come!


granamyr said...


While it's great to see my covers showcased, it worries me that you didn't mention anywhere the author contribution to the end product. I know I'm not responsible for the composition, but the stock images, the fonts--I spend time window shopping for those.

Kat Lively / Leigh Ellwood said...

You're absolutely right, mea culpa. One day I won't have so many things on my mind that I'll be able to give everyone the credit he/she deserves.