Nov 26, 2012

{Guest Post + Giveaway: Coveted Series Trading Cards} Kept by Shawntelle Madison

Seeing Night Reviews is happy to welcome back the fabulous Shawntelle Madison, author of the Coveted series. I loved Coveted, with a quirky and fun female lead who loves to collect holidays ornaments. I can't wait for Kept which is coming out this Tuesday! Don't forget to get your copy for the holidays!

Behind the scenes: Creating the Trading Cards for the Coveted Series

I love trading cards. The Coveted series so far has three trading cards, but one of my readers asked about a 4th one before Kept came out. Here are the three trading cards so far. Abby (#4) will be given to readers this month. After that Natalya (#1) Thorn (#2) Nick (#3):

I thought I'd give a behind the scenes look at how I planned out my trading cards and got them printed and in the hands of reader. A little background first, when I'm not writing, I'm working as a web developer. Part of that skill set requires work in Adobe Photoshop.

When I first saw Romance Trading Cards become popular in 2011, I knew I wanted some for my series. But as the time of my launch approached in April 2012 for Coveted, I wasn't sure what I would do. I'd seen plenty of other cards. The standard was to have the cover on the front with a bar along the side. My first sample I came up with was similar, but I knew I wanted something a lot more creative.

I'd seen cards done by Kim Killion, historical author and creative director of Hot Damn Designs, and I asked myself, what could I do to make something different. Other cards that provided inspiration was MelJean Brook and Allison Pang. Most cards showed the whole cover, but I wanted a closer angle. I was lucky enough to have more than one piece of cover art, why not get close and personal?

With ideas in mind, it was time to get to work. Before I'd started the sample above, I went to a collector card printer, GotPrint, and downloaded a sample Photoshop PSD template file. This template file would provide guidelines to keep me out of trouble.

  • I needed a 300 DPI (dots per inch) version of my cover. Printing the collector cards requires a high resolution copy.
  • I needed to pick a character to profile.
  • I needed to verify the status of the use of my cover. I emailed my editor and verified I had permission to use the illustration for promotional purposes. All I needed to do was include a copyright message with Gene Mollica's information. Easy enough!
Most cards are vertical, but early on, I decided I wanted something horizontal. Since I had shorter titles, I made a decision to put the name in sideways on the front, just in case someone wanted to store the cover vertically with other cards.

My first card, Natalya's, featured a close up of Thorn and Natalya. I couldn't include the entire the cover, so I picked the best placement and include the book tagline. The placement of all of these elements were based on the composition and colors. In other words, I had no plans to keep folks from seeing the cover model, Paul Marron, in all his glory.

The back was where I got to have fun. I took a close up shot of Natalya from another cover illustration and used that as a picture of her. The background is a close up of the cover illustration. Then I typed up some fun facts about her. The standard issue who, what, where stuff. Then I got to search my book and find a quote that embodies her. The finishing touch was a line for the reader to learn more about my books on my website.

Now that I'd finished one. I realized I just had two more to go. LOL. But now that I had a solid idea for layout, I just had to repeat that process two more times. For the technically inclined, all my cards are stored in a single photoshop file. Each side is stored as a folder with its own respective layers for the text and images. I managed to save costs by not using outside images.

Once I was done with the images, I saved each of them as a high resolution jpg file. I took those JPG files and uploaded them into the shopping cart system at The process goes pretty quickly to get proofs if I do everything right. (I've had hiccups before. Like cards with one side printed upside down. *sigh*) A proof is basically a PDF with a preview of how the cards will look once printed. This is where I can see if errors are present. Once I approve the proof, they email me a few days later that my cards have been printed and they are on their way.

A few days later I have a box full of beautiful cards. Would you like a set? Just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope to my author address (check my website) and I'll be glad to send you a set in your envelope.



  1. Those are beautiful , my favouvite is the one with the first idea of cover for coveted where natalya is smiling ( trading card2)

    thank you a lot for this opportunity to win your book

  2. Beautiful cards. Looking forward to reading Kept as well!

  3. My Nick card is my favorite but I can't wait for more! :)