Behind the Scenes of a Cover Shoot with Erica Cameron

Today's guest for the CRAP (Cover Reveal Anxiety Phase) is Erica Cameron, author of SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE, available March 4 from Spencer Hill Press.


 Did you have any pre-conceived notions about what you wanted your cover to look like?

While I knew I wanted my cover to be representative of the story and not just some pretty, but pointless, image, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted it to look like. My creative brain just doesn’t work like that!

How far in advance from your pub date did you start talking covers with your house?

The very first conversations I had with my editors were almost two years out. Just after they bought the book, they mentioned a few things about the plan for the cover. Over the next few months, we began clarifying our plans as the cover designer, Jeremy West, read the existing draft of Sing Sweet Nightingale. The cover shoot happened in March of this year, almost exactly a year away from the release date.

Did you have any input on your cover?

Yes! Spencer Hill was really fabulous about this. They asked for my ideas and my descriptions of the charters and the world as well as my thoughts on concepts they developed.

How was your cover revealed to you?

The first time I saw it was as a PDF attachment in email during a Skype call with my editors. They wanted to see my reaction!

Was there an official "cover reveal" date for your art?

Yes! I had a fabulously fun time revealing the cover and reading half of the first chapter at Book Expo America (BEA) in New York this past May. On the same day, the cover went live online and the response was amazing. Everyone loves Jeremy’s work.

How far in advance of the reveal date were you aware of what your cover would look like?

I saw it for the first time about a month before the reveal.

Was it hard to keep it to yourself before the official release?

OMG YES. I managed not to show it online, but pretty much everyone I see on a daily basis got to see it before the official reveal.

What surprised you most about the process?

For me, I was surprised when my editors and my cover designer invited me to the cover shoot. From what I understand, the authors aren’t generally there for that part of the process, but I wouldn’t change that experience for anything! It was so fantastic to see it in person and talk to the cover model. The whole day was a blast!

Any advice to other debut authors about how to handle cover art anxiety?

If you have concerns about the direction of a concept, be honest. In a polite, respectful way. Depending on your house, there’s no guarantee the art team will listen to you, but not saying something won’t help anyone. Often, the best way to go is to bring your agent into the mix and let them voice your problems. They’re more likely to handle the situation without getting emotionally invested in the answer, which is good for you in this case!

Below are Erica's pictures from the cover shoot session. What a lucky author to be present during the creative process!