Continuing with my small attempt to shed some light on the somewhat unsung heroes of the romance community, I have an interview with the lovely Niina from For the Love of Reading who also happens to design covers for romance novels and she reads Tarot cards! I hope you'll leave Niina a comment or two!
Adria: Hiya Niina! Welcome to my corner of the world! Have a seat, don't mind the strange noises coming from the... Um, dragon in the basement. Okay it's technically my dog snoring but that doesn't sound as intimidating.
Adria: First off, can you tell me a little about yourself? What exactly is your job title and description?
Niina: Hiya Adria. :) Love dragons… and dogs, so we’re all good. :) I’m a Cover Artist, you can say Cover Designer as well, and some even call me Graphic Designer as I do Covers, Headers, Banners, Ads, Website Graphics and Book Trailers, kind of everything that falls under making print and online business pretty. ;) I have clients who are independent authors, and I also work for few Small Romance Presses like “Red Sage Publishing”, “Steam eReads Australia”, “Soulmate Publishing”.
Adria: How did you get started doing cover art?
Niina: Funny story actually. :) I got started when a Book Review client saw the cover I made of her book, to demonstrate how important a quality and genre specific cover would be to get your book into your reader’s hands. She liked the one I made so much she asked if I could do it for her for real. I looked up the legal way to use photos for a book cover and http://niinascoverdesign.weebly.com was born. I wasn’t new to photo manipulation though, I’m that age that when Photoshop first came out it was coolest things since sliced bread, aka I’ve been designing fan graphics since Photoshop was born. ;) … wait a minute, which came first, sliced bread or Photoshop? Ah, one of life’s big mysteries!
Adria: About how long does it take on average to design a cover?
Niina: Well my record is 24 hours with Violet Gray’s covers, all 5 of them (http://thevioletgray.blogspot.com). Normally a week is all it takes, but I say two weeks because it really depends on how fast my clients answer/check their e-mails… I don’t like to disappoint. ;)
Adria: So far, which cover has been the most challenging for you and why?
Niina: Hmmm… I think whenever a client is dead set on little details or have a premade image in their head what the cover should be and they want to tweak a cover over and over – those are hard because I want to make them a great cover that is classy and clear – the more changes the client wants the longer it takes and the more the quality goes down.
Adria: There are some truly gorgeous romance novel cover out there, do you have any favorites? I know some of my absolute favorite covers are the ones for Thief of Shadows and Duke of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt, Twilight with the Infamous Earl by Alexandra Hawkins When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries and Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione.
Niina: Well from the top of my head Loretta Chase’s Scandal Wears Satin, Jeaniene Frost’s One Grave at a Time and my pre-mad How to Rope a Cowboy or Two. ;)
Adria: When you're working on a cover, what do you use for inspiration? Do you listen to music to set the mood or do you prefer absolute silence?
Niina: I usually pick music by genre, if I’m designing erotica or erotic romance I love Kings of Leon, for romance it’s Snow Patrol, for Paranormal it’s Bat for Lashes for Cowboy romance it’s Luke Bryan… I love Luke Bryan. ;) Of course sometimes there are simply quiet days, all depends on the mood of the day too.
Adria: As a reader I'm a little ashamed to admit that I'm more likely to pass up a book if the cover isn't "attention grabbing." What do you think makes a good romance novel cover?
Niina: Well it needs to have that grab doesn’t it, wither it’s a little skin, a steamy kiss or just a hint of romance – it depends on the genre – but I can tell you what makes readers pass them by. ;) The authors holiday snap shots, red awkward font choice, bad photoshopping and a pet in the cover… oh how many times clients have asked for these I have to play defense. ;)
Adria: You also run a blog called For the Love of Reading and I'm sure you have a personal life on top of that, how do you find time to do everything?
Niina: When in full body mind and soul power its fun, but when you fall ill or something you are suddenly swamped. ;) I love to spend time online, so it’s really no bother most of the time. But I’ve had some back issues lately which made me have to put FTLoR on Hiatus, but when it clears up I’m hoping to make the blog active again. :)
Adria: Where can potential clients see examples of your finished work?
Niina: Best place would be Testimonials: http://niinascoverdesign.weebly.com/testimonials.html
OR Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/niinacshouse/covers-ive-made/
Adria: Let's lighten things up a bit shall we? How about a little "Either/Or" for fun?
Niina: Sounds good!
Adria: Red or White Wine?
Niina: Love red, it’s more decadent, where white is fun. ;)
Adria: Dogs or cats?
Adria: Paperback or Hardcover?
Niina: Paperback – surprised? ;)
Adria: Summer or Winter?
Niina: All seasons! I love them all, they are amazing and special… but to pick one I love summer’s heat.
Adria: Karaoke or Dance Club?
Niina: Dance for sure. Cannot sing, at all.
Adria: See? Not too bad right? Thanks for chatting with me Niina, is there anything else you'd like people to know?
Niina: It was nice chatting with you too! I’d love to hear from your readers at my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FTLORCoverDesign and the website is here: http://niinascoverdesign.weebly.com where you can find all the info like Prices (25$, 45$, 55$ or 75$) see the covers I’ve made, here testimonials from other authors and see about 3D Cover styling for your cover or maybe about making a Book Trailer. :) It’s all there!
I also have a Tarot Reading site if you wanna give it a see: http://littletarotshoppe.weebly.com the site also has a FB Page, if you Like it you get a free one card reading: www.facebook.com/TheLittleTarotShoppe