The thing is I could go out and hire someone new and get a stalk photo and have them put a cover together which would look great but I'm not stalk. The Harlow Whittaker Trilogy is not stalk and when I started this process I swore that I was going to be true to myself. My thing is, I chose to self-publish, that way I wouldn't have to abide by anyone else's rules, that's why my lead character has dark caramel colored skin, that's why my characters have names like Larken, Hendrix and Fin, because "I do what I want." So when I was looking for a cover for HW1 and I happened to meet the wonderful Yvonne Lucero who said she could draw exactly what I was looking for, I jumped at the opportunity.
It's rare that you find someone that you connect with and to meet someone that you connect with on a creative level is even more rare. When I'm writing my mind goes to some crazy places and it makes connections in some funky ways so for someone else to actually comprehend my vision and to take it to the next level well, that's orgasmic. So that's why the release for HW2 remains in June, and readers I know it's hard because HW1 ends on such a cliffhanger but believe me it is worth the wait.
When I told Yvonne about the second book, a few weeks later she said that she had the idea for the cover. Her cover idea is everything that book 2 is, and she hasn't even read it! See what I mean about connection?! And trust me, we all say you can't judge a book by its cover but we do. Have you ever picked up a book at a bookstore because the cover was so-so and you thought, hmmm maybe the story is sooo good that they didn't have time to spend on the cover design? I bet you haven't, so the cover is super important in terms of sales, catching someones attention as they walk past your book on the shelf, etc. In short, the cover says what you spent months trying to fit into thousands of words in a singular image without giving too much away. It's the perfect teaser, if you're lucky.
For HW1 I didn't want a cover that spelled everything out, or forced the readers imagination to adopt a picture of what the characters looked like. Just like when I wrote their descriptions I left things a bit open for the reader to create their own version. I wanted the cover art to do the same, which is why for HW1's cover, Yvonne drew them with their backs facing the lens. Her exquisite talent as an artist meets my writing style and I love it.
Basically I have loved the entire process of publishing my book because in part it as led me to so many fascinating and talented folks and if you want to work someone remarkable who is willing to work with an author's vision Yvonne Lucero is awesome. :)