Derek Murphy, the designer behind Creativindie Covers, is a saint. When we first started working together on the cover for Out of the Ashes, he asked me what I was thinking in terms of concept. I told him and he provided with several possible comps.
Then I promptly doubled back around again and went another direction.
I didn’t mean to be the client from hell. But when you’re working with stock photography, you’re limited sometimes as to what you can do. I’d told him I didn’t want to use images of models where you could clearly see their faces, that I felt such an approach was too limiting, as it encouraged readers to think, ‘That’s exactly how the author envisions that character.’
But I realized there are a preponderance of covers right now in the m/m romance space featuring headless, shirtless guys (please see where Redemption ranks on this list), and I’d already gone that route once. Add to that the fact that the Texas motif images Derek and I had talked about using made me (and two of my editors who’d viewed the original comps) think the story was a true Western a la Brokeback Mountain (which it’s not). So I came to the conclusion we needed to change things up. After spending a couple evenings searching through various stock photo archives, I found some model pics I thought we might be able to work with, and Derek returned to his computer.
Last night, he sent the latest round of comps back. I asked him if he’d mind me posting a few of them here to get feedback. He graciously agreed. Some of these are a little more further along in the process than others. But I’d love to hear your thoughts as to what works and what doesn’t in terms of appeal. So please comment below and let me know what you think. I’m really curious.
As you can see, I favor a certain model (mostly because his hair is longer and the character he represents is described as in need of a haircut). But I could probably be convinced of the error of my ways.