The Story And The Cover – Finding The Right Model

While working on ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series, I built character by character, developed, considered their look, decided who they are and in what direction they would head within their story.

But also, I was ‘creating’ their look; dark hair, blue eyes, black hair, bronze eyes, tall, muscular, petite, almost ethereal. I will deliver many descriptions while ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series progresses.

In my head, the characters and their personality formed together with their look, and while creating them, I didn’t consider any consequences – like the book cover to the story.

Let me give you an example:
Katie is a breathtaking beauty with caramel colored hair and brown eyes; her cream skin makes her look almost fragile.

To find ‘Katie’ I was busy looking through hundreds of pictures on several websites. In a way, it was an exciting task, and my excitement grew with every picture. But after a while I got slightly bored, my hope slowly dying that I would find “THE” Katie… the woman I had created in my head.

I wish I could say, ‘suddenly’ I found her, just as she was in my fantasy… but the fact is, I didn’t. Katie was not one of the models, but the Model I found has caramel colored hair and is stunningly beautiful. I set the first mark on her picture. Whenever I discovered a model who got close to her beauty or my description, I tagged her. In the end, I compared all the models and by process of elimination, I ‘rejected’ one model after the next until I got ‘my Katie.’

I took some time to get used to ‘combine’ my fantasy with the model and then went through the different pictures of the model. Finally, I picked the one that’s on the cover now.

By now that’s ‘my Katie’ on the cover.

I was talking with my cover designer about the cover. I could deliver her Katie, but what about the rest of the cover? The man, the background, the font? I’m lucky to have a cover designer who knows her stuff. I informed her that I couldn’t go through the model search again. I wanted some mystery, some secret.

Soul Taker isn’t a love-story-romance where a man and a woman are kissing on the cover…


I wanted something different; a man every reader can connect to, and has the chance to create the character’s look in their own fantasy. And my cover designer found the solution. I’m very proud of the ‘Soul Taker’ cover.

Since the second book in the series is completed and only needs to return from the Copyright Lawyer, we had to get together and discuss the next cover.

Believe it or not – I was sitting on the monitor and dully clicked through hundreds of pictures.

Let me tell you – the thought of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is planned to contain 13 books, scares me.

How are you designing your covers? At what point do you start considering what should be on the cover, and if you have cover models – how do you pick them? Let us know about it in the comments. We’re curious.


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Your Unique Author Picture – Research By A. J. Alexander

Picture courtesy of: http://gregceoblog.com

 

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I have been thinking about Author Pictures lately. I know very well what I have on my Social Media accounts right now isn’t a great thing to do. One of the main reasons for these overexposed profile pictures is the fact that I don’t like it to be on pictures. And from what I heard this can be seen in the picture.

 

No matter how often I’m told the pictures look great, and I’m supposed to be pretty, I don’t believe it. This does, in fact, have a psychological root which was planted in my childhood, but I think this is another subject and doesn’t belong here.

 

Now, since one day I will undoubtedly be published I will sooner or later have to think about my author picture, and that’s why I went for another round of research.

 

One of the first interesting and informative articles I found on Huffington Post where Heather Hummel talks about the relevance of a professional author photo. She not only talks about the quality of the picture but also shows certain problems that can come up and presents the respective solutions. For example, does she mention the expression on the picture, the quality, the background and presents some final thoughts. (Read the entire article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-hummel/the-relevance-of-a-profes_b_4498575.html)

 

By going on with my research, I found “The Review Review.” Written by Randy Susan Meyers the article “Look Great In Your Author Photo” gives you tips and tricks on colors, clothes, and makeup and also describes what you can do to hide certain flaws and how to choose your photographer. I thought it is a great helpful post who I would recommend reading when someone needs a (new) author photo. (To read the post click here: http://www.thereviewreview.net/publishing-tips/look-great-your-author-photo)

 

On the Author Media website, I found a fantastic post, written by author Thomas Umstattd. He clearly states that his article is not for the author, but for the photographer! And I think he did an amazing job. Even though being an author I learned a lot by reading his article, and I might even be able to show it to my future photographer if necessary, to show him what I need the picture for. The article is enormously useful to us ‘clients’ too! (It can be read here: http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-take-portraits-for-an-author-website/)

 

The last impressive article I found on “Book In A Box,” written by Tucker Max, Chairman & Co-Founder at Book In A Box. He shows what’s good and what’s bad and not just said, some pics are good or bad but also explains the reason in clear, simple words. He provides us with different examples and gives us great advice on what not to do and what he would recommend getting a great picture. I decided to provide you here with a small part of his article:

 

The Author Photo Rule That Rules Them All

Here’s the thing that makes author photos so hard to give advice about: There is not one “right” way to do it. Like I talked about above, the “right” way all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. But there is one overarching rule that you need to sear into your brain when it comes to author photos (or any profile photo):

Know what you want to say to what audience, and make sure you signal it properly.

This is the key to everything. The author photo for a CEO of a Fortune 500 company should be totally different from the author photo for an up-and-coming comedian. Why? Because they are signaling different things to different groups.
Generally speaking, the CEO’s author photo should signal professionalism, effectiveness, reliability, and trust. The comedian’s photo could be wacky, pensive, goofy or even serious, all depending on his comedic style and what he wanted to signal.

To read the full article go to http://bookinabox.com/blog/how-to-take-author-photo/

 

I have to say I learned a lot by reading these four articles, and I’m sure I’ll find a great photographer who helps me. But then, maybe I’ll just hide under a stone and rather provide the world with my stories than my face.

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Author James Jones
courtesy of: http://www.jamesjonesliterarysociety.org/