Today I’m bringing you an interview with another of my favourite people — but with a difference! Bree Archer is a cover designer rather than an author. I first met Bree in the M/M Romance Group’s DRitC event last year, when I wrote the story for Bree’s prompt. Bree was an amazing source of support and encouragement throughout, even offering to design me a cover for my story. This made such a huge impact on me — I felt like I was a real author, not just pretending! I was amazed all over again when Bree sent me the mock-ups to look at. She captured the feel of what I wanted exactly and made the process so straightforward and easy, I knew immediately that I wanted her to design the covers of Deep Magic and The Biggest Scoop. As a fan of Bree’s work, I am really happy to see that she’s been nominated twice in the Best Cover category of the M/M Romance Group’s Member’s Choice Awards (voting opens January 1st!).
Bree, thanks for letting me interview you! How are things?
Bree: Thanks for having me, Gillian. The past few months have been busy, but I’m excited that the holidays are here because that means vacation time!
As a brief introduction to people who aren’t familiar with you and your work, would you mind introducing yourself and what you services you offer authors and publishers?
Bree: I’m a book cover artist that designs ebook and full print layouts for both self-publishing authors and publishers. I have a background in art with a masters degree in fine art. All my work takes place on the computer these days, but I also enjoy sculpture and painting.
The last time we talked in October, you had a crazy amount of covers to work on! They must be out now. Would you mind sharing them with us?
Bree: Of course! Here are few books that are out now.
What is your creative process when designing a cover? What tools/resources do you use and where do you find inspiration?
Bree: Sadly, I cannot read the book that I’m designing for because I’m generally working on 3-4 covers a week! So, one of the most important items is the cover request which is a form the author fills out giving me important details about the book. After I read the request, I will have a general idea of the cover that I want to create. Next, I visit the various stock photo websites to see what models and background images are available and I gather everything in Photoshop and start to design the cover. I also spend quite a bit of time on the font layout. Font is more important then people realize. Having clear, legible, well-placed font will make a cover look really polished.
For inspiration, I stay active on Goodreads and look at all the current books that are being released. This also helps me to see what models have already been used. Nothing worse then seeing “that guy” on every cover!
Designing a cover for a story you haven’t read leaves a lot of scope for misunderstandings! You’ve got a form on your site for clients to fill out, but is there anything you’d like to tell authors about the cover design process or any advice to help authors get the cover they want?
Bree: The cover request is really important. I highly encourage filling out the form completely and providing pictures if a person or place inspired the story. Pictures will also help me tremendously with the model search. At the same time, I think the author should have an open mind when it comes to the cover. Sometimes a simple, beautiful cover will stand out more so then the traditional “two people + background.”
Congratulations as well on being hired by Entangled Publishing! Their site looks lovely! We’ve mainly talked about M/M Romance so far, but you design a range of covers! Do you have a speciality or a preferred genre? Or do you prefer new challenges?
Bree: Thank you! I work with Dreamspinner Press the most often (weekly actually). So most of my covers are M/M Romance, but I also do a lot of work on MF Interracial Romance cover. IR can be quite challenging because there is a serious lack of high quality African American female stock photos out there, but it’s a fun challenge. I also really enjoy working on YA covers because those tend to have a bit more freedom.
January is right around the corner. Do you have any resolutions for the new year? What are your goals as a designer for 2016?
Bree: I never make resolutions because I always break them! But I would like to learn how to do interior book formatting. I think being able to offer both exterior cover design and interior font layout would be helpful for self-publishing authors.
Knowing how busy you are, I’m going to keep the interview short and say goodbye here, but thanks again — it is always awesome to catch up with you! How can readers keep up with you?
Bree: Thanks Gillian! I love your stories so much and it’s always fun to chat with you.