I have an Arizona based historical romance that will be out early in March, but my mind is really on the series I plan to write next, which will be contemporary, romantic suspense and set in Tucson. If I was in this for the money, I'd stick to the historicals as they have done better than my contemporaries. I just can't do it. I need a break-- but not from writing.
With that in view, I have been looking for potential images for the heroes and heroines to come. Some I already had but let me say that finding images for men and women who look like we all do (except prettier) is not easy. It seems most of the royalty free sites emphasize historical or they offer sexed up contemporary. Some are too expensive for me to afford especially when this may be a series that does not sell that many books.
What I want are images for lawyers, artists, musicians, actors, models, detectives, teachers, judges, professional people of all sorts, as well as carpenters and truck drivers-- male or female. I want them for the ordinary people (except prettier) who work at a job and stumble into an adventure both of the romantic and dangerous sort. I need images to suit covers, as well as backgrounds when I don't already have them. I will also need them for trailers where the same person is on the cover and in the book trailer but with different expressions and garb.
I've written contemporaries before but not recently. In the past, my characters fit what I mentioned above and I liked writing the stories, but finding good images for covers was tougher. To some degree, a romance is mythic. It can feel as though it's real, but it has to have a bigger than life aspect as it's what inspires. If someone wants to read about people who fail and have miserable lives, there are plenty of literary type novels out there. A romance offers something different.
So how do you get that mythic quality while still looking real? If my husband and I were younger, I'd use us. Some writers do. But I am not writing about a H/h in their seventies... yet anyway ;). I saw a guy loading our livestock fencing and feed the other day who would have been perfect, but you can't really go up to a stranger and ask them to pose for a romance cover, not to mention the complications of royalties where it comes to contracts.
What I do at this point is get a handle on who my characters will be. For heroes, I plan an artist, actor, musician, writer, and not sure who the rest will be (maybe even a model *s*). The heroines will be four sisters and their mother-- all in the legal profession as lawyers, detectives, cops, or judges. It's reversing the usual for lead protagonists, but I think it'll be fun. I like going against the grain... but it might be why I will never be a best selling author ;). Luckily I don't need to be. I need to write and love it when readers do find my books and say they loved them. (Let's not mention the negative reviews). I feel so lucky to be doing this at my age. It's not always fun although it can be. What makes it good is that it's always challenging!
[Images from CanStock and Period Images]