Friday, September 28, 2007

The Making of Heartsong Covers

Quite awhile ago, an author asked me to post a blog entry about how Heartsong covers are designed. So, in case you're interested, here's a little bit about the process:

Step One: I email the author a background information sheet to fill out about their Heartsong story. This sheet asks for info like setting, physical description of main characters, key conflicts, symbols that represent key themes in the story, and a scripture that emphasizes the spiritual message and can be used on the back cover. Authors are encouraged to attach any images they feel will help the designer develop a cover that truly represents the story.

Step Two: Once I have background sheets for all four books in a cycle, I email them to our off-site designers. They read through the information, do a little brainstorming, then email me back with written descriptions of their cover ideas for each book.

Step Three: After I have approved the descriptions, the designers get to work on the mockups. Models are hired, costumes chosen, and the photo shoot set up. Models are hired from traditional agencies or sometimes from non-traditional sources. Costumes are generally acquired from wardrobe shops the designers maintain relationships with and/or from private collections. Photo shoots take place on location or in the designers' studios. The designers mainly use Adobe software (Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) to put the cover together.

Step Four: The designers email me the mockups, which I look over and send on to the authors for feedback. Most of the time there are just minor adjustments that need to be made from this feedback, though occasionally we do need major changes.

Step Five: I either approve the mockup or request changes based on my the author's feedback and mine.

Step Six: Once I've given approval to the mockups, the designers make final adjustments, apply style treatments, and prepare files for printing.

Step Seven: Our off-site designers email final files to me and our in-house designer, Ashley. Ashley prints a copy of the covers and gives them to me to route around the editorial department. In this step we have several pairs of eyes looking for any final adjustments that need to be made like proofreading errors in the back cover copy.

Step Eight: I get one last look after the covers have routed and any last-minute changes have been made, then I sign off on them and Ashley prepares and sends the final files for the printer.

There you have it, the making of Heartsong covers!

And here's Jodi with the latest cycle of Heartsongs. She's been busy reading! :)


Becky said...

Yeah for Jodi. Teach them to read Christian fiction young!

The Write Life said...

I tell you what - Jodi is just too cute with those cheeks (just made for kissing!) and all that hair!

Good job on training a new generation reader there. LOL.

Job security for all of us...


Janice Thompson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janice Thompson said...

JoAnne, we're so happy you're back on the job! And the covers are looking so good. I honestly think my RED LIKE CRIMSON cover was the best so far. Can't wait to see the next one!

CHickey said...

I am so looking forward to seeing the future cover of Fudge-Laced Felonies! What fun!

Kristy Dykes said...

The process for producing Heartsong covers has been fascinating for me. You've been great to work with, JoAnne. You've been willing to make minor changes; for example, on The Heart of the Matter, the mockup had the heroine wearing glasses. I asked for them to be removed since she didn't wear glasses. (I think the designer must've gotten this idea since this is an "ugly ducking" type story.) You quickly made the change, and wala, a great cover!

Mary Connealy said...

My daughter got married Saturday. I'm still brain dead from exhaustion and emotional overload...but the doctor refuses to pull the plug.
It was a beautiful wedding. Amazing. And to think it was only a few weeks ago she was Jodie's age.
I find the process of developing covers so interesting.
I think Barbour does a terrific job of covers. I love the Petticoat Ranch cover, better than my best imagination.
I think Heartsongs are all so beautiful. And I LOVE the style of the Cozy Mystery covers.
I'm getting a little misty thinking about it...which might be part of my general state of sentimentality.

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

Love the picture of Jodi. Thanks for sharing it as well as the steps to the cover.

I have loved almost all my covers. I really like the one for WHO AM I? I can hardly wait to hold the book in my hands.