Smart Girls Read Romance

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

JUDGING A BOOK BY ITS COVER

Perhaps I should explain why I have been posting for Mary Adair recently. Her internet is so unreliable that I always post her blogs for her. Now, however, Mary is in treatment for the Big C. She’s taken what we hope is a brief hiatus from posting while she goes through another phase of her treatment. She is incredibly exhausted at present.

Several years ago, Mary and her husband moved to a remote area of Eastern Oklahoma on a large, lovely wooded acreage. Unfortunately, that means they are many miles from superior health care. In addition to being an excellent writer, Mary is one of the nicest people I've ever known. We met in a writing class many, many years ago and became friends. When Mary is your friend, you can count on her forever. Please send healing thoughts and prayers her way. 


As for me, I have been replacing old covers that look amateurish because, well, they were done by my husband and me and we ARE amateurs at cover design. Here are the before and after of THE MOST UNSUITABLE WIFE. You can see how very much more appealing the professional effort is than the one my husband and I did. We were pinching pennies and going for free photos. Ah, well… everything has a learning curve. I have to thank my husband, though, because he was willing to devote time to designing numerous covers.  The one on the left is the one we designed and the one on the right was designed by Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs.

Now I’m slowly making my way through some of the older covers, intent on perking up books with professionally designed covers by Skhye Moncrief. I just need to choose the cover models. Easy, right? No! Searching photo stock to find the right image to represent the main character/characters is amazingly time consuming and frustrating.

I have searched several sites until my eyes are about crossed. Not that I mind searching through photos of handsome guys, but I need a photo showing a handsome Caucasian man with dark hair who is clean-shaven and is wearing his shirt. That’s not as easy a task as it sounds.

There are gazillions of photos of men without shirts or with shirts unbuttoned. The image I need now is for a mystery, not a romance, and is for a widower with a young son. There is only a hint of a romance to come and no reason for the cover model to be without his shirt.

When I was traditionally published by one of the Big 5 NY houses, I had had several bad covers. I believe the amateurish products my husband and I produced were better than those, but still not good enough. In between the big New York house and my self-publishing, I was with Wild Rose Press, and they have gorgeous covers and helpful staff.

But, friends and I decided to self-publish and see how we fared. We love being in control of all the aspects of publishing. No one can tell us that a certain subgenre is not selling and we should write something else. We write what we want when we want. No waiting six months to a year before the book is published either.    

If only we could control sales! Sigh. Big, Big Sigh. I digress.

Here are some questions for you:
Do you care if a book is published by a big NY publisher, small house, or by the author?

Do you like bright colors or subtle tones on a cover?


How much influence do you give the cover?    

5 comments:

  1. My best to Mary.

    Finding the right photos is beyond frustrating! You always manage to choose the right one, though. I want your covers to be fantastic so everyone will pick up your books and see what awesome stories you write.

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  2. I don't know Mary Adair, but my heart goes out to anyone battling cancer. ..... I had sort of the same experience as you with covers. I thought I could do it because I'm sort of a half-assed artist. I was wrong. l.... I thought you and Hero did a pretty good job, but let's face it. The pros just do it better. As for your questions, I don't care who publishes a book as long as it is a decent book and fairly well-written. I like bright eye-catching covers generally, but if the story is dark, dark covers probably are more effective. I do like to see good art on the cover, just as I like to see good writing between the covers.

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  3. I think the cover is instrumental in luring a reader in. I've noticed all the covers recently are half-naked men or the head shots a male and female romantically staring at each other. I, too, like covers with some eye-catching colors. Something different from the norm, too. Good luck with your artist endeavors.

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  4. I'm so sorry to hear about Mary's battle. I know her only by interaction on this blog, but she seems like such a lovely person. My prayers are with her.

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  5. I'm catching up on reading blog posts and just saw this one. I'm so sorry to hear about Mary! I wish her a speedy recovery.
    I tend to like covers that are simpler. They don't have to include every aspect of the story! If the book has a dog in it, I don't want to see a dog photoshopped into a corner as an afterthought.

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