As promised, today’s blog features a Q&A with ebook cover artist Jennifer Quinlan . I’m so excited to feature her!! Since my undergrad degree is in art (and I try to write through that lens), I thought it might be fun for both readers and writers to see a “real” book cover artist in action. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a special discount offer on a custom book cover design! Click here to see more samples of Jenny’s work!
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What are your favorite genres?
I love to lose myself in another world while reading, and so I rarely read contemporary novels. I want to be transported somewhere else—I get enough reality in real life! My first love is historical fiction, but I’m also hooked on historical romance, and I read some paranormal romance, some traditional fantasy and urban fantasy, some steampunk, and some young adult too. I’ll take on any cover project if I feel I’m up to the task, but because I spend so much time in my favorite genres, I feel more knowledgeable and comfortable designing those types of covers.
By asking lots of questions! It’s important that I get a picture in my mind of what I need to do before I even take on the job because I need to be sure I have the skills to accomplish what the author needs. Then I go in search of my artwork. Sometimes I know exactly what I’m looking for (and when I do, it never fails that I have a hard time finding it!), other times I feel like I’m starting blind and my search takes me all over the place. But eventually ideas start flowing and it narrows down in focus until I know where I’m going.
Nope. I just don’t have the time. I ask questions that really help give me an overall picture of what the book is about and who it needs to appeal to, and what themes or emotions the cover needs to invoke. Often I need to ask more questions once I’m knee-deep in the design process, but so far I’ve found that I have been able to design covers that really fit and make authors very happy without reading the books.
I’m a hugely visual person, so I’m always looking at images. I use other covers for inspiration or guidance within a particular genre, and I spend hours and hours browsing stock images and art. I also use emotion as inspiration. It’s really important that I understand what a cover needs to do to entice a reader to pick up a book, and what emotions a cover should convey and how that relates to the story behind the cover, and so as I’m looking, I’m looking for images that bring out that response in me.
Start over! LOL! I do ask for some creative license when I embark upon the design process, because sometimes an idea may strike me or I might come across an image that speaks to me but is different than what the author and I discussed, and I like to be able to play with inspiration when it strikes me. But ultimately, it’s the author’s book and the author has to love the cover. And for that reason there is a stipulation in my contract that says an author is entitled to a second round of mockups if they don’t like what I came up with on the first go-round. It stings a bit when that happens, but I learn from it and try to narrow down what those covers were lacking so I can get it right on the second try. So far I have not failed. It’s very important to me that every author I work with has a positive experience and walks away with a cover they love.
Not sure if a custom cover is in your budget? You may want to check out her stock covers posted on her website here.
Jennifer Quinlan, aka Jenny Q, is a freelance editor and cover designer specializing in historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Armed with a History degree from Virginia Tech, a Copyediting certification from the University of California, San Diego, ten years of marketing experience, and a lifelong passion for good books, Jenny is dedicated to helping new voices get published and to helping indie authors craft polished novels and covers that garner critical acclaim and higher sales.
A farmer’s daughter, Jenny was born and raised in Virginia, and though she likes to visit the big city once in a while, her heart belongs to the country. When not working she enjoys photography, spending time outdoors, and traveling the southeastern US visiting historic sites, having some fun in the sun, and eating good food! In addition to reading, she loves country music, football, dogs, and big trucks. She also loves connecting with fellow book lovers and invites you to visit her book review blog, Let Them Read Books, or her website, Historical Editorial.
Don’t let anyone tell you cover design doesn’t matter. The beautiful covers
Jenny created for my novels have made such a difference in sales. With its new
cover, sales of my novel, Hope of Israel, jumped 300%. Jenny was so easy to work
with and her work is amazing. ~ Patricia O’Sullivan
Now for the SUPER SEEKRIT offer from JennyQ to my blog readers. Jenny is offering 20% off a custom cover design if you contact her and use the word “HETAERA” in your email. Thanks, Jenny!