Did you ever wonder how a book’s cover comes about? For Harlequin Historical books (and other Harlequin books) the author fills out an Art Fact Sheet, which is what the cover artist uses to design the cover. I just completed the Art Fact Sheet for Book 3 in my 2 book series, The Masquerade Club (I couldn’t resist adding a third book!).
The Art Fact Sheet is filled out online. It starts with a general form covering the time frame of the book, the general setting, the story’s themes and issues. Next comes the synopsis, which is very short and bare-boned. There are questions after the synopsis, asking what the book is about, what is the most appealing part and what are the most interesting visual elements.
After this there are character charts which give the physical characteristics of the hero and heroine. Theoretically, the hero and heroine should at least have the correct color hair on the covers, although we know that doesn’t always happen. I must say, though, that Harlequin has always gotten the hair color right on my covers.
In the last section of the Art Fact Sheet, the author has the chance to suggest scenes from the book which might make a good cover. This is where our major influence on the cover can be. The cover artist does not always do what was suggested, but if you’ve seen Harlequin Historical covers, you can see that the artists do amazing covers!
When I first started writing for Mills and Boon, the UK branch of Harlequin, they were recycling covers from their files of decades of old covers. Even so, I only was given one cover that I thought really didn’t work and looked a little dated. That was for A Reputable Rake. When the book was released as a Harlequin Historical, though, it had one of my favorite covers of all time!
Ironically, it was the Mills and Boon version of A Reputable Rake that won the RITA.
Do you have a favorite book cover? And did you notice that my blog format has been spruced up? It should look better on tablets and smart phones now. What do you think of it?