Who are those gorgeous peeps on the cover?

Thgs_Goodbye Tootsie

 

Goodbye, Tootsie. Putting it together: Part Three

Last week, I talked about my almost fruitless mission to find the right leading man to grace the cover of the second book in my 1920s romantic mystery series, Goodbye, Tootsie.

From one end of the internet to the other I searched—one romance stock photo site to the next. That’s right, ladies. One drop-dead gorgeous male model after another after another.  It was grueling. (And yes, I have wonderful friends willing to help, but some jobs just can’t be delegated.)

My search for leading man Detective Sean Costigan finally ended at RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC), where I signed up for two Exclusive Cover Image shots of well known cover model Jimmy Thomas—one for Goodbye, Tootsie and another for the last book now in progress—Good Night, Angela.

Working with site owner Jimmy Thomas turned out to be a pleasure and very similar to working with a cover artist. I answered an emailed questionnaire about my characters—their physical descriptions as well as personalities. The questionnaire also asked about the book’s genre, setting, tone and any ideas I had for poses, costumes or props. I included sample images to illustrate my ideas.

Mr. Thomas came back with a few questions based on the ideas I’d offered—such as, “Should the models be looking at each other? Should one be looking at the camera?”  “If so, which one?” These may seem like ABCs to a model or photographer, but I’d never thought about these details, much less the impact they could have.

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - DL Royer

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa – Delynn Royer

Soon, I received an email with links to view portfolio shots of female models. Who would be in my top seven to be Trixie? There was no guarantee I would get my first choice. Or even my second or third. Schedules and availability would be taken into account.

I sent back my list and waited. But not for long. Within a couple weeks, I received several high quality proof images in various poses. It was difficult to choose just two, but I did. Those two will be exclusive for my books.

Holy cow! (As Trixie might say.) Had this process been fun or what? Thanks, Jimmy! 🙂

 Next up… working with a new cover artist and…

cover reveal!

 Having direct input on cover art is one of the aspects of indie publishing I absolutely, hands-down enjoy the most. Indie authors… do you feel the same?

Traditionally published authors … what has your experience been with cover art? Good ? Not so good? (I’ve been both thrilled and horrified.)

 Readers… do you judge a book by its cover?  Will you buy a book with a mediocre cover? What draws your eye to a book’s cover?

 GoodbyeTootsieTitleGOODBYE, TOOTSIE
January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

 

Photo Credits

Custom Shoot for Goodbye, Tootsie – Copyright © 2014 RomanceNovelCovers.com

Goodbye, Tootsie title design copyright © 2015 fiona jayde media

In Search of Sean Costigan…

qpq_TootTOOTSIEGoodbye (2)

 

Goodbye, Tootsie. Putting it Together: Part Two
In Search of Sean Costigan.

In my last post, I talked about my decision to go indie with the sequel to It Had to Be You. One of the most important things an indie author needs to think about is cover art.

I wasn’t in a position to duplicate the first cover—not with the same artist, model or imagery—but I wanted to preserve some elements. Namely, a classic cinema and vintage feel.  That meant black and white.

1920s Fiction, 1920s romantic mystery, 1920s mysteryAlso, beautiful as that first cover is, I wanted to depart in some ways. Mainly, I wanted both my lead characters to appear. For that to happen, I needed to find the right leading man.

Thus began my internet search for Detective Sean Costigan.

Who is Sean Costigan?

Sean is a second generation Irish New York City cop. He’s thirty-three years old, smart, driven, and, yes, a bit jaded from years on the job. His smiles are rare. They have to be earned, and he has a dry sense of humor.

What’s he look like?

Sean is 6’1” with raven-colored hair, dusky blue eyes, and a lean, muscular build. As for “type,” I confess to imagining Alex O’Loughlin in the role even though his hair isn’t quite dark enough.

So, I spent hours on the internet searching stock images. There are some sites that cater to romance authors that offer no shortage of beautiful men. (I had a tough job, right?) But believe it or not, my search actually grew tedious.

I had three problems.

  • Type

While several male models fit Sean’s physical description, few were paired with females who fit my leading lady’s type. (Think Amy Adams .)

  •   Pose

Clinch poses were plentiful, but Goodbye, Tootsie is a romantic mystery, not a full-fledged romance. There’s a difference.

Think about the TV series Castle. How often do you see Beckett and Castle crawling all over each other in their publicity stills? Not often, if ever. That’s because the romantic content of the show—while indispensable to the chemistry—is warm, not hot. It bows to the show’s murder mystery plot in each episode.

  • Time Period/Costume

I adore the 1920s, but it isn’t the wildest selling time period for historical romance. The scant selection of stock available with Roaring 20s costume reflected that.

And so, how close was I to throwing in the towel?

I was ready to surrender and settle for a cover with a feather boa and a hip flask when I decided to give it one more go. I returned to the leading romance sites, starting with RNC—Romance Novel Covers—owned and operated by cover model Jimmy Thomas.

Avid romance readers recognize Mr. Thomas. His image graces the covers of countless novels.  He also happens to fit Sean’s physical description. Too bad there were no 1920s period photos that fit my criteria among the wide selection of stock offered on his site. But Mr. Thomas did offer one thing I hadn’t seen elsewhere— exclusive custom cover shots.

By then, I was ready to consider going the extra mile, but, as an indie author, it’s my dollars and cents being invested to put out a quality product as well as my time.

So, I asked myself two questions. How long had I spent writing this book? And how much more time would I spend not only scouring the internet for cover images but editing, formatting and otherwise promoting it?

This made my decision easy. My time is worth a lot—at least, it is to me. So, I signed up.

 Next time …  working with Jimmy Thomas at RNC to get the perfect shots.

Until then… here’s a behind the scenes peek taken during the custom shoot for the cover for Goodbye, Tootsie. Meet Mr. Thomas and cover model Inessa, who is now my Trixie.

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot - Behind The Scenes - Jimmy Thomas & Inessa - Delynn Royer

RomanceNovelCovers.com (RNC) Custom Photo Shoot – Behind The Scenes – Jimmy Thomas & Inessa – Delynn Royer

What do you think? Could these two play homicide detective Sean Costigan and perky girl reporter Trixie Frank in the movie? 🙂

 Indie authors… Have you ever had trouble finding just the right image or models to grace your covers?

GoodbyeTootsieTitleGOODBYE, TOOTSIE
January, 1925
Homicide detective Sean Costigan and tabloid reporter Trixie Frank are on the road to romance but at cross-purposes at work when they investigate the New Year’s Eve murder of “Poor Little Rich Girl” Abigail Welles after she comes into control of a family fortune.

COMING SOON in Summer of 2015!

Cover art design by Fiona Jayde. Learn more About Fiona here.

 Photo Credits

Goodbye, Tootsie title design copyright © 2015 fiona jayde media

 Custom Shoot for Goodbye, Tootsie – Copyright © 2014 RomanceNovelCovers.com

It Had to Be You – Copyright © 2014 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.