We all know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” right?
But we all do it. In fact, the truth is that for authors, the book cover they choose (or that is chosen for them) is the single most important decision that determines whether readers pick up their book. Without a stellar cover, readers will never make it to the perfectly crafted description, guaranteed to make them want to click download or carry the book with them to the register.
It’s a daunting task!
I’ve wanted to write a series of firefighter romances for quite a while now, but the biggest hangup? The covers.
You see, when an indie author has a book cover designed, we *typically* use stock images. These are models that have been paid by a photographer for the rights to their images, and then made available to download for a small fee. That can be $1 per image for some basic stock, or upwards of $300 per image for specialty images like historical period scenes.
But the fact of the matter is – firefighter stock images? They’re mostly terrible. If they are intended for romance books, they definitely aren’t intended for the clean and Christian variety, if you know what I mean. And if they aren’t shirtless firefighters (because that seems very practical, doesn’t it?), then they are firefighters in full gear so you can’t see their face – which is also not exactly the vibe I need!
But, for a few of my previous covers, I’ve had the privilege of working with photographers I knew, using real people they were photographing for engagement or other occasions. One of my friends uses real military couples on her books, and she said she found them through Instagram.
Almost a year and a half ago, I started combing through pages and pages of photos trying to find what I was looking for. And there it was. An adorable engagement photo of a firefighter and his bride – in uniform, posing on the front of the fire engine. Then another image, and another.
Eventually, I found more than a dozen potential images, and then I started reaching out to the photographers of each one. To use a picture, you have to have permission from two places – from the photographer, and also from the models!
It was a lot more work than I expected, but in the end, I had five cover images with signed releases from the photographer and the couple. I had real life firefighter couples who were willing to be on the cover of my romance books! My wonderful designer (Jess Mastorakos!) took them and created my favorite covers to date. Check them out below!
Second Chance Fire Station is a collection of standalone romances – all second chance, all firefighter stories, and all taking place in the small town of Minden, Indiana (which you may have visited in my Main Street Minden Series, or throughout the Bloom Sisters Series). We met Captain Bryce Storm in Dancing with Dandelion, and his story is first up – The One Who Got Away will release May 23, 2022.
Can these best friends rekindle a second chance at first lover or will they both end up burned?
Captain Bryce Storm has always known exactly where he belongs–right here at the Minden Fire Department. When his best friend Krystal comes back to town to care for her mother and they resume their easy friendship, he catches a glimpse of what might have been. But she didn’t want him back then, and she doesn’t want him now. Even if that smoldering kiss says otherwise.
Hollywood hopeful Krystal Daughtry is glad to spend time with her old friend, ignoring the way the firefighter makes her heart flip. But there’s no way she’s setting aside her dreams for a man the way her mother did–not even one who knows her better than anyone in the world.
Their friendship was on the edge of something more when she left at eighteen–which is exactly why Krystal had to go. If she hadn’t chased her dreams, she’d be stuck in this small town forever. Can their sparks ignite a second chance, or will Krystal always be The One Who Got Away?
You can preorder the book now on Amazon.
I’d love to know — do you like second-chance stories? How about firefighter romances? If you have recommendations for firefighter stories I should read, drop them here! Remember, each comment is a giveaway in our Birthday Bash giveaways!