Now that I'm working on another project, letting the first draft of Seducing Sensei rest, it's time to put together other elements like... the cover.
Since Zoe did the illustrations for the trailer, I thought, why not have her do the illustration for the cover. But, I have a few reservations about an illustrated cover.
First, I didn't want the book to look like a comic or manga. But I've seen other book covers for M/M do this type of style. Not that I'm copying them because I think I'll have the success they do, but because I think an illustrated cover will set the right mood.
Second, I didn't want an illustrated cover that might draw the wrong reader. This isn't a children's book. Look at the excerpts. Tell me I'm wrong. Go ahead. I'll wait. Look at the excerpts. Oh...they are found here and here.
Third, I'm not sure an illustrated cover would convey the right tone. (Note: tone and mood are not the same thing.) Both set your expectation, but this story was written with yaoi in mind so an illustrated cover sets that up.
Ultimately, I chose to go with an illustrated cover because of branding. The cover, book trailer and teasers will all have the illustrations Zoe created. It's just makes sense with that point of view. I'll go with Zoe again when I make the next books so I have an all around brand with the Notice Me Sempai series.
You can see from Zoe's first attempts it doesn't give any impression that this is an all male menage. At least not really. The above picture is adorable. They look like they're posing for the year book. But the cover says this could be a story about three humorous friends, their lives, their differences and how they relate. That's not this story.
This cover on the right looks like it could be about a humorous story, but again that's not this story.
In a perfect world, we could show all the characters faces because all three "heroes" are main characters. All three are vital to the story.
These past illustrations are not the cover. None of the characters traits are shown. Yes, Mori is a teacher, but he's a flawed person weak to physical contact.
Itsuma is a bigger than life character whose ego fills the room before he even steps inside.
Scott is the lovable dude that everyone can't help but protect--even if he is way taller, way beefier and just larger in every way.
This cover to the left is suggestive, but I wanted blatant. I wanted readers to understand this has got sex in it.
What we have to the left is sweet. It gets a message across, sort-of, but I'm not sure that the message warns readers about how sexually graphic this particular story will become.
* Separate note * I love Mori's eyes in this one. He's adorable both in the book and the illustration Zoe created. Mori is very flawed, but I've tried to make him as likeable as possible. I think looking at him and his mannerisms help relate to him. We'll see what beta readers say.
It shows Mori's weakness, it shows Itsuma taking the lead like he always does, and it shows Scott's eager but gentle way. Those are my characters. Oh, for those who don't know the order from left to right is Itsuma, Mori, Scott. The best character illustrations of them are found here.
So Zoe's got the okay from me and I've got a rough sketch. The next time you see the cover will be for the cover reveal. For now, try to use your imagination for detail, color and shading. Until next time!
XOXO ~ Stephy