There is something almost ethereal about this cover. I’m not sure if it’s the man, his expression or the softness of the color, but whatever it is, I love it.
I’ve had all sorts of covers, hot, sweet, sexy and okay, I’ll admit it, boring. The worse covers are those that don’t have anything to do with the book. Luckily, I’ve never had one of those. *whew!*
There is an art to doing book covers and as an artist, I appreciate it. Although I probably could, I don’t do my own cover art for several reasons – One, I don’t have the time and two, I don’t have the real knowledge of what makes a great cover. Like most people, I like what I like, but I’m not sure why. Putting together a great cover takes talent and experience and unless you’re really good at it, it’s best left to the professionals.
I have to say, these guys have to be the sexiest men I’ve ever seen. This is my cover of Silent Lodge, a gay medieval historical, done by Christine Griffin, who did all the In The Company of Men covers. She’s fantastic! It’s a ménage, in case you didn’t pick that up from the cover. This cover says it all. Three gorgeous men. Two alphas and one sexy, impish little red-headed sub. What the artist couldn’t relay on the cover was that my sub is also a deaf mute. So covers can’t do it all, but if you get a good one, one that makes a reader stop and take a second look, then it’s a good cover.
Covers are the gateway drug to your book. They are what tempts a reader to give your book a try, to take a chance, unable to resist the cover’s mystique and allure. Once they’ve stopped to look, your blurb and excerpt take it from there.
For Edward Unconditionally, having the little bulldog Winston on the cover let readers know this story had a dog in it that played a major role in the story. And for those who are love a “dog” story, it caught their eye and pulled them in. And they weren’t disappointed, because Winston plays a big role in the book.
Covers should capture the essence of the story. They shouldn’t promise something the book doesn’t deliver. If I’d written a story with no dog, and then put the dog on the cover, readers would have gone ballistic, and rightly so. A good cover artist knows these things. They know how to deliver a cover that will pique readers’ interest.
Some people don’t care what the cover is like, others do. But no one likes a cover that has nothing to do with the book, or gives a reader the wrong impression.
David’s Dilemma is moody, angsty, and the cover says that. If I’d put that cover on a romantic comedy, readers would have said WTF!
That’s why filling out your art form, if you get to do one, is so vitally important. Put down all the elements of your hero/heroine, anything you think captures the mood of the book, its tone, setting, etc. All those help artists create the perfect cover for your book.
For my new pen name, Theodora Lane, my cover artist Georgia Woods and I worked hand-in-hand to make this debut book, an urban fantasy vampire book, Heart of a Warrior, really shine. We wanted sexy, dark, urban. I think we nailed it. It comes out August 1st.
Again, Trace Zaber got it right in Coliseum Square, a gothic gay romance, coming out July 14th. He read my cover art form, and picked a picture of a house, the house I described in the book, right down to the third floor rooms. Amazing!
Let me say something about working with cover artists. Most of the time, you never get the chance to talk to the artist, instead you might go through an intermediary. That’s fine, as long as you know you can tell that person your honest opinion. I don’t mean nitpick, but I do mean speak up if the image is awful, not what your story is about, or doesn’t set the right tone. Ultimately, they will thank you, because it might just cost you and them sales.
This doesn’t mean be a pain in the ass. Far from it. But like your editor, your cover artist is a partner in the success of your book. You’re all a team, all working to deliver a book readers will pick up, read, love and recommend. That’s why I love working with publishers – being a part of a team. I’ve done the self-publish thing, and it’s just not for me, not right now. Maybe in the future, but not now. And that’s just me, no one else.
So for now, I look forward to my next book cover. The anticipation, the surprise, the pleasure in getting the perfect cover! I’m hooked on the rush.
Share your favorite book covers with me. They don’t have to be mine, they can be yours or someone else’s that spurred you to buy the book.
(Please, no examples of horrible covers, only the good stuff.)