#romanceclasscovers update: How, in 2020 (and a cover reveal)

December 29, 2020 - - No comments


To recap: Yes, we want to see Filipinos on covers too, and it has been this kind of journey.

1: Collabs and acquiring photos from fashion/style content creators.

2: Organizing our first shoot with Migs and Katrice.

3: Crowdfunding and organizing subsequent shoots with Rachel, Jef, Fred, Vanya, Gab, Gio, AJ, Cora, Bibo, Celine.

4: More shoots, with Bibo, Graie, Biel, JP, Alex, Liane, Rap, Sam, Jeanne, Ranjil, Carla, Jef.

What I learned after organizing over 10 shoots with photographer Chi Yu Rodriguez, and seeing photos from those shoots being used as covers, or reference photos in illustrations, in 28 published books (and more out soon!):

1) It’s not impossible to find people who can be our characters on our covers. (Scheduling a common time for 6 to 10 busy people was the pain but we got it done over 10 times.)

2) What is a little more difficult, but not impossible, is finding people who match our characters even if they don’t fit a “type” considered, for better or worse, to be employable in the modeling field. But we wrote characters like us; we know real people like them exist. Ideally they’d also know how to work in front of a camera, as many real people cannot. (Like me, I am such a person.) But so far we have not had a problem finding people the camera loves; people have the talent. What they don’t have most likely is professional careers in modeling, or adequate representation, or advocates who get the word out that they’re around and looking for projects that make them feel centered and valued.

*In some cases the photos we took were commissioned/purchased as references for illustrations. I’m still thinking about that process, because it makes sense to me that the inspiration for a cover also gets credit/compensation/consents to being illustrated. But that’s a conversation for another time and with other people.

Your mileage may vary of course, and we’re able to put all this together because this is a community of authors contributing what they can–from taking the photos to doing the makeup to styling to casting to crowdfunding. We did a panel on the behind-the-scenes of #RomanceClassCovers here:

But how now, in 2020? With a pandemic, and stay at home orders? We miss shoots…but we actually started doing them again.

2020 shoot with Janus (directed by Chi Yu Rodriguez)
2020 shoot with Carlo, Biel, Alec, and Deanne for an anthology by Suzette de Borja, Celestine Trinidad, Angeli E. Dumatol, EK Gonzales

How are shoots happening, you might ask. They’re happening remotely, with everyone in the team (including the models) at their own homes. There’s a new list of tech and equipment requirements. Some props have to be delivered. Models have to do their own makeup and styling. What’s the same: There’s a lot of laughing and realtime kilig. What’s different: Shoots go way faster without the traffic. Raining? No problem. One of our models was in New Zealand and it wouldn’t have occurred to us to work with her if we hadn’t shifted to this.

We miss shoots, but we’re learning how to do them, 2020 style.

And we revived the collabs. These are technically not our shoots, but involve books we’ve released:

2020 collab shoot with Rashmi (for one of my works in progress)
2020 collab with Rachel for Brianna Ocampo’s book

The collab with model Rachel Coates is for an upcoming #RomanceClass book by author Brianna Ocampo. Designed by Miles Tan, here’s the cover for Truth or Dare:

Truth or Dare by Brianna Ocampo should be available worldwide in early 2021!

More about #RomanceClassCovers at

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About Mina

Mina V. Esguerra writes and publishes romance novels. She founded #RomanceClass, a community of Filipino authors of romance in English.
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