A lot changes influence the project when you work with an artist on a cover. Through one of these strange and offbeat coincidences, I jumped at the opportunity to work with fine artist Aunia Kahn. This cover was no exception to the process of cover creation. This character -- Snow -- underwent a transformation from her normally svelte, former-prep-school self to this much more smoky and scruffy version tearing through the woods with work to do!
To get to this point, Aunia had to ask for my feedback several times, and we had to fine-tune Snow's representation together. If you don't think you'll be collaborating with your cover artist heavily, then you may not be serious about the representation of your cover character! Even late in the game I realized there was information that I hadn't given Aunia was changing Snow's expression. "Those aren't," I remembered to tell her, "Snows fireballs". Things like this make a big difference to the mood of your cover. Without guidance, Aunia couldn't tell if my character was powerful enough she commanded the fire. Snow's expression, as a result, was smooth and centered. Missing details like this can impact the feel of the book.
You can hurl fireballs in Snow's path, and she'll still find a way. That single-mindedness had to come through on the cover. Aunia leaned Snow's expression the way I feel it should lean, toward a feeling of staunch determination. This is one of the core qualities that helps Snow to keep her head above water, and I'm glad that Aunia reined the picture around in that direction. Scared as she might be, fear, alone can't uproot the fundamental character of a person. It reveals their nature in extreme. In Snow's case, that dogged resolution, that task-oriented temperament has her just steps ahead of the fire! And that's spot on.
This cover is a beauty! I'm going to be glad to use it when the time comes!
But I can't promise this is the last little tweak! Possibly, neither can Aunia!
For more on Aunia Kahn see: https://auniakahn.com/