From cover to cover
Pickyme (Patricia Schmitt), cover artist, loves her work. But what does it entail? Where does she get those gorgeous photos? Who does she work with? Photographers, models, editors, and designers all have their place in creating that next perfect cover.
How do you create romance novel covers?
With my bigger publishers, I have to hire a photographer and they book—most of the time they book the models for me and I tell them a little bit about the cover, what kind of poses they want to see, and they’ll do a cover shoot. I’ll get the photos back, I’ll go through like 500 photos and pick out the best ones I think work. Then I send them to the—I collaborate with a designer and the designer is the one who does the full print jacket. Does the spine, the back and with the type, and puts it all in the mechanical. So I send it to her, she’ll narrow it down, and then after she narrows it down, she sends it to the author’s editor. And the editor goes and picks which pose and what she likes. She’s like, let’s use this one; let’s try this one. They email it back to me—tell me exactly what they want, you know. Most of the time what I’m finding, I’m jumping into series a lot now, where there’s already been a previous three-four books and so I have to follow a certain model now. The series has to flow; a reader has to be able to recognize that that’s their author.
Actually DeviantART.com has a ton of photographers and that’s where I met the Russian photographer that I use a lot. He focuses on male models and he’s magnificent. I mean he’s all about the muscles which is what we need for the covers; perfect. [laughs]. So I started—he actually gave me a stock picture for—I think it was my second cover for Susanne Saville, and he gave me the stock picture as a Christmas present because he was already a friend of mine and he was like, you can have it, you don’t have to pay for it. So I got to use that picture and it was the best cover, it turned out so well. And then he started selling his photography on stock sites, but I would just go and buy it. Sometimes he would let me have a little sneak peek and I would say I want that one. [laughs]