You see the Second Vendetta cover on the home page. Well, above appears the lady who designed it. I was surprised and pleased to learn when I asked her for this interview that Kelly Abell is not only an artist but an author of Romance and Paranormal tales as well.
Cursed (Hunters of the Cross Chronicles) the first of a series of Paranormal Short Stories featuring paranormal hunter Gabriel Rome and his partner Grace is now available from Solstice Publishing. Get your copy here for only 99 cents! http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Hunters-Cross-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B007RO0XL8/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1334921068&sr=8-7
Check it out.
Now for the lady herself:
WW: Assuming that book cover art is not your only artistic endeavor, what other forms of art/media do you indulge in?
KA: My true creative talent lies in writing, but I also enjoy photography and photo manipulation. One of my best friends is a professional photographer and she turned me on to digital scrapbooking years ago. While I don’t do that much, the skills carried over. I’ve also worked on advertising and marketing campaigns in the insurance industry for the last 25 years. Designing corporate presentations and brainstorming marketing ideas has been part of my career and sort of led me to my interest in book covers. I’ve been working in the publishing industry on the side for over five years and have always been intrigued by cover art. Using my skills, I began to work with publishers on cover art and fell in love.
WW: Obviously, the primary purpose of the book cover is to attract readers’ attention in hopes they’ll buy the book. What elements do you focus on?
KA: The cover is your first impression for a reader and it must grab attention and look good in thumbnail size. I like to involve the author in their design and combine my marketing skill with their vision. I have a form that I send to each author to try and capture that vision. I really consider the genre of the book. If it is a suspense or thriller I like to use darker backgrounds, give the fonts a more intense look and color, etc. Balancing color from opposite sides of the color wheel allow fonts to pop and add that “thriller” feel to a book and three dimensional effects helps the title and author’s name stand out to readers. Likewise, if it is a romance I try to have that portrayed by a brighter happier cover with a more sweeping font. You sort of get the idea. The cover should tell the story at a glance and make you want to buy the book.
WW: What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of designing these covers?
KA: Probably the most difficult thing in designing a cover is finding the initial look that captures what the author had in mind. With most publishers the contract states that the publisher has the final say on the cover, but I still try to work with the author to at least attempt to capture that look they had in mind in conjunction with what I think will attract a reader’s eye. A cover needs to pop and sometimes it’s difficult to create or find all the right images that will create what I have in mind for the book. But when it does come together it’s magic.
WW: I once heard a publisher comment that artists prefer to hold their work until the last moment to deny authors much opportunity for input, since most writers are “visual idiots.” Is that your experience?
KA: I wouldn’t say that at all. In my experience it has been a joy to work with most authors. Occasionally you get one that really has a strong vision for what they want on a cover, but I don’t think that it will capture the reader’s attention as well as what I have in mind. In those cases I do several mock ups to try to come to agreement and most of the time we are successful. There have been times, though, where the publisher has had to step in and say “this is your cover because I believe it is what will sell best.” For me though, that has been a very rare experience.
WW: Any anecdotes to share about working with writers?
KA: So far I’ve had some very pleasurable experiences, and I love working with authors. I’ve had a few experiences when an author would respond back to a design and say “what are you thinking?” and I’ve had a few that come back and say “Wow! I never would have thought of that for a cover!” One author wanted a design that incorporated a combination of real photos with cartoon relief and we went through maybe 5 covers, but when I nailed it he was thrilled. Sometimes an author really doesn’t know what will work best until they see it. It’s my job to sell them on their cover just like a reader, and believe me there are some tough customers out there. 🙂
WW: Like any other field, I assume cover art has its “stars.” Who are a few of your favorites, and what covers might we recognize?
KA: There are too many wonderful artists to mention. I know I’d be leaving someone out. If you are curious just check the copyright page inside your favorite book. The kudos to the cover artist should be there. I like to think of them as the unsung heroes in the book world.
WW: Any other questions you’d like to pose or statements you’d like to make that these questions failed to explore?
KA: I would only add that I believe the fact that I am also an author really helps me relate to the covers I design. I understand the industry and know what readers look for in their covers. They want something that grabs their attention and gives them something visual to imagine as they read through the book. That’s what I try to do with my covers… create that mini story on a cover. Being a writer and having that creative gene really helps as a cover artist.
WW: Hey, Kelly, thanks for appearing on Writer Working. We see the results of the work you and other artists produce all the time, but I don’t think I’ve ever before heard anyone talk about what it takes to get from drawing board to the public eye. Best of luck to you for your work both on and inside the covers.