One of my hobbies while I was working on Marrying A Monster was trying to make my own cover art. This produced a bunch of dubious results and two or three that were decent but not appropriate to my genre.
Then I went looking through premades. There are a lot of very talented designers who make premades available at reasonable prices, but a couple of things made my search more difficult.
One, my books are not steamy. The thing to remember about the “bare torso” style of cover art is that the author (and/or publisher) is usually being very honest in advertising the contents of the book. It attracts people who like that kind of content, and tells people who don’t like it to keep on moving. If I gave Marrying A Monster that kind of cover, it would be false advertising, which is a good way to annoy your potential buyers.
Two, the setting is a fictional country called Jaiya, “in a world not quite like ours.” Jaiya has elements of several cultures, including a religion very loosely inspired by Christianity, but the climate, ethnic groups, and parts of the country’s history are inspired by India, Pakistan, and the other countries in that area.
There are several places where I describe people as having gold or bronze or tea-colored skin…which meant that any piece of cover art with blonde or red-haired, fair-skinned people was automatically a no-go. I also describe the characters as mostly wearing modern clothes and talking on cell phones, so the handful of “Exotic India” covers I ran across didn’t seem to fit either.
I eventually decided that since people in that part of the real world come in a huge variety of ethnicities, it was okay to look at artwork where the characters could maybe pass for Mediterranean or Middle Eastern, or where the stock photos involved had been manipulated so thoroughly that trying to judge the character’s ethnicity seemed pointless.
Then I fell in love with a particular premade at Rocking Book Covers and contacted Adrijus, the designer who runs the site. He was happy to make the font changes I asked for, and just submitted the final version to me today.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very pleased to present to you, the cover art for Marrying A Monster!