J. Kenner Writes…about Hot Guys, Romance Covers, and Good Times

J. Kenner Writes about hot guys, romance covers, and good times

There are a lot of fun things about being a romance author — chatting with readers on social media, meeting other authors, and, of course, justifying all sorts of interesting email newsletter subscriptions —  but one of my very favorite things is getting that very first peek at a book’s cover.

My first cover was for Nobody Does It Better, a Harlequin Temptation. And the way it often works in traditional publishing, especially at a house like Harlequin, is that you get your cover … and you hope you like it. Because it is going to be your cover.

Fortunately, I really liked mine! (What do y’all think? Dated, I know, but I still love it.) A few books later, I had Aphrodite’s Kiss release from Dorchester and Nobody But You from Pocket. Both these covers were from commissioned original art, which was pretty common then. I tried to buy the art for Kiss, but it was too expensive, alas. The art for Nobody But You, however, now hangs in my house. 

I’ve had some very fun covers over the years … along with a few that made me want to cry. The worst of which, thankfully, were changed before readers ever saw them.

I was traditionally published for over a decade before going almost exclusively indie, and things are different when you’re not just being handed a cover. And by different, I mean way more fun (and yes, sometimes stressful, but, hey, who doesn’t need a little stress in their life?).

Since you’re here on Frolic, you may have seen my cover reveal for the fourth book in my Stark Security series.  These books are sexy romantic suspense novels, with each book featuring a different hero, and because I wanted a certain look, I did a custom shoot, hiring a photographer Annie Ray of Passion Pages and bringing in my own models.

You might think this would be work (ironic smile) but it’s terrifically fun, especially when the guys are so great at posing like Tom Chants from the cover of Broken With You.

And, of course, one of the perks of working with cover models is that they sometimes end up in your hotel bathroom (weirdly shooting covers for someone else’s book — we’re a tight knit community, we authors…). Like Justin Edwards and Dillion Lalor did in Reno a while back. 

Julie Kenner Cover Shoot
julie kenner photo shoot

I dove into the deep end in 2017 when I first started using models instead of buying images from a stock photography house. Twelve guys for twelve books for my Man of the Month series. But the shoot was a blast, and I love the way all the covers turned out, so it was absolutely a win-win!

Man of the Month Series by Julie Kenner

Bottom line? Back in the day, seeing that finished cover was a huge thrill. But it really doesn’t compare to bringing the cover to life yourself and getting to know the models who stand in for your characters!

What are some of your favorite covers?

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