Please welcome Raine Miller today, who is talking about book covers. She has some pretty cool stuff for show and tell, too!
Let’s talk historical book covers. The jewel-toned gown slipping off the shoulders, the headless chest of a hottie in breeches standing in front of a manor house. Sound familiar? Probably too familiar if I am honest, and while they can be beautiful I realized that style wasn’t for me. It just wasn’t the look I wanted for my books. As I searched, I soon discovered there just aren’t a lot of images for historical covers out there to be had. Yes, there are some very expensive photo sites with beautiful pictures, but too pricey for what I would be getting. There are sites that sell period-image stock, but I wasn’t seeing anything there either that I felt I could use. Short of doing a custom photo shoot I found myself very frustrated in getting the sort of cover I wanted for my historical books…until I discovered that a modern-content stock image could be altered in such a way that made it look historical. This is how I did it. But first, a disclaimer that none of this could have happened without the skill and supreme patience (and I do mean patience) of Jena Brignola at Bibliophile Productions. Our collaboration on three of my historical books:
This image is probably the one that required the most alteration, but it turned out so well I was encouraged that I could find more pictures that could work for other historical covers. The stock image is shocking at first because the girl is painted up like an alien. LOL!! Alien woman to Victorian beauty with some careful cropping and tattoo erasing. Hair style is one of the problems with modern stock images of women because there aren’t a ton of them with hair arranged up. The longer I studied this one the more I fell in love with her expression because it worked so well for my heroine, Georgina. Also, the simple show of her braid gave it a historical feel, and once her eye color was changed to hazel The Undoing of a Libertine had its cover:
The next project was for my book, The Muse. I found this stock image and felt it was perfect for my couple, but it sure needed a lot of work before it was finished. I also had to find a background image to use as a kind of wallpaper and ended up using an old painting that has passed into public domain due to its age.
First of all my Graham needed the shell necklace erased and the stud in his lip removed. Not too historical for my Lord Rothvale in 1812! My Imogene needed a silky shawl instead of a man’s dress shirt, and her hair changed to dark blonde. The finished result is something I think is stunning. Not too many orange covers out there and I like that too.
My most recent project was something of a real challenge when I bought a Mike Thurston image and it was a significant investment. I was originally going to use it for a contemporary novel because, well duh, it’s a contemporary shot, but the more I studied it, I realized I could use it for my upcoming historical, The Rogue. We struggled with the coloration at first because I like my historical book covers to be in color. Black and white is awesome for a contemporary cover, but hard to pull off in a historical. The problem was that Mike looks best in black and white. The brilliant Jena came up with the idea to do a duotone treatment with him where you use a combination of color tinting over black and white, so Mike could be shown in his best light, but yet the cover still presents as being in color rather than in black and white. Here is how it went. First the image I bought from Mike was converted to duotone from the color. I love his expression and also loved that he was partially covered behind a vertical blind. It works perfectly for my hero, who in a sense is “hiding” from his destiny. We fought with using curtains to cover the blinds but they didn’t look masculine enough, or drape properly, and it just wasn’t right. I found stock images of old wooden doors and once we put a door over the vertical blind it immediately changed the whole look. I also used a public domain painting for the background on the wall behind him. Gravelle is a breeder of race horses and so the charging horse seemed appropriate for him. That’s a painting of his Alabaster on the wall along with some other stock images of wallpaper and ornate picture frames. Mike was flipped and so was the horse to make everything fit best with the words. I LOVE how it turned out.
So there you go with using contemporary stock to make your historical covers.
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