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Monday, January 28, 2013

The People behind the Author: Scarlett Ruger

I've learned so many lessons in writing Nowhere to Run. One of the biggest was that when you finishing writing a book, it's not the end of your journey. In fact, it's only the beginning of what becomes a wild, wacky and educational ride.

Yes, I had finished writing my novel but before it had finished, I had already started writing a list of what I had to do next. This included finding an editor, a proofreader, a formatter and a cover designer. I knew I would need to promote the hell out of my book. I knew I would need to handle edits and rewrites. I was smart. I got prepared for it.

My first move was deciding on a cover designer. I knew I wanted a cover designed before I even contemplated the editing process. I wanted a cover designer who would understand me, understand my scope and my vision for the Stephanie Carovella series. I also checked prices and worked out what I could and could not afford.
Then I decided to hell with it and went with who I thought would be the best for me.

I actually looked at three cover designers.

Okay Creations

Okay creations was the first business I looked at for my cover. I knew how fabulous Sarah's work from previous covers. She also designed Leigh Bennett's Flirting with Magick and it's phenomenal.

I really love her work. She's an amazing designer. But I had to cross her off the list, simply because most of her work is YA novels and I hadn't seen her design crime novels. I needed someone who I knew had designed crime - someone who could show me examples of their work.

Indie Book Covers

Another amazing designer. Author Michelle Warren is also a qualified graphic designer, with under 10+ years underneath her belt. Her work is stunning. It's flawless, beautiful and she is a gorgeous person to work with. I really, really wanted to use her for my cover, but again I had the same problem. I needed someone who could take the vision I had of Nowhere to Run's cover and make it a reality.
As much as I love Michelle's work, I wasn't sure it was the right fit this time. I say this time, because I know she is the consummate professional and I have vowed I will use her further down the track.

Scarlett Ruger Designs  

Scarlett Ruger Designs was my last option. I'd always thought about using Scarlett but was worried about her prices. I assumed they'd be steep. They're not. Scarlett is also a designer for Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I assumed she was too busy. She wasn't.

I love her work. I always have. She's professional in everything she does - from how she contacts you, to the way she works. Some designers will refuse to go with the concepts you have in mind. Scarlett is different. She listens to what you have to say. She keeps in mind the fact that, while she is designing the cover, it is your book and as an author, you have the final say. 

Her ability to work with authors and make their dreams come true is why I will work with her again. I would recommend her to anyone and wouldn't even think twice about it.

Scarlett is the consummate professional. She is friendly, she makes herself available and she works hard. When I approached her with my ideas, she listened to them and gave her into into what she thought I wanted. She nailed it on the head.

Then of course, there was the fact, she designed covers that suited mine before. Like Okay Creations and Indie Book Covers, I scoped out Scarlett's work. I knew already she was a big gun by the fact Amazon headhunted her. I looked at her covers and I liked what I saw. No, scratch that, I loved what I saw. The decision was made easy for me when I saw her crime covers. They were sharp, gritty and perfect.

She worked with me over a week, using concept board and emails to each other before we got the final product, which is now Nowhere to Run's cover. I still get blown away when I see it. I still love it. I think she nailed what I was going for. 

She delivered 100%.

That's what you need is a designer. Someone you can work with. Who will take your ideas and run with them. I gave her free rein, but she also gave me the chance to input. The end result, was a cover we were both proud of. If you don't have that, then you've got problems. 

I've heard of designers who refuse to listen to people's concepts, who do what they want without giving a damn that the author isn't happy. It's why you need to research a cover designer before using them. Ask around. Look at their covers, be wowed by them but ask authors their thoughts about the designer. Find out prices. Find out opinions on how easy or difficult it was to work with the designer. Find out how quickly they design the cover.

Research is really the key. You'd be surprised what people will tell you behind closed doors. 

Scarlett, got ticks in every box with people who had used her before. Her prices are amazing for the professional quality she gives to her work. People told me how easy she was to work with, and they were right. 

As much as we hate to admit it, people don't just look at the back of your book. They also look at the front. They want a cover that will grip them and suck them in. 

Scarlett nailed it, which is why she's an integral part of me team.

Would I recommend her to anyone else? Hell, yes.
Would I use her again? In a heartbeat. 


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