Should you or shouldn’t you purchase a new cover? That is the question. A good cover isn’t cheap.
Here’s how to determine the answer:
- Does it portray your genre?
- Is it working? Is it bringing readers to your book?
- Do your reviews reflect that?
A hard-edged thriller cover should be a stark as the content. A fantasy cover should let the reader know whether it’s epic/mythic (landscapes, castles, swords), urban (edgy, usually dark, street views), heroic/tolkienesque/arthurian (pastoral, swords, magicians), historical, or a combination thereof. (Two of my favorite authors write a mix of heroic and urban fantasy, quite successfully). Mysteries should convey whether they’re ‘cozy’ (small town, armchair, teapot) or hard-boiled, noir, or police procedural (dark and edgy).
Many books convey some or many of these elements, but they aren’t the main focus.
For example, one of my books is a mystery with thriller elements and an edge. There is a romance in it but as part of the story, not the primary plot. Unfortunately, while the cover was dark-edged, at the center was a couple. To many readers, it came off as a romance with a touch of mystery, rather than a hard-boiled mystery with a little romance.
And it showed in the reviews. The comments weren’t direct – unless you viewed them from the viewpoint of romance readers expecting something lighter.
So here’s my suggestion…covers aren’t cheap, so shop around. Look at what the cover artist has to offer. If 99% of their samples are fantasy or romance, they may not be a good fit for your book. A cozy mystery about a chef won’t work well with a cover that features a couple in a torrid embrace. Try a good pre-made cover. Most pre-mades are the cover artist trying out different things or promotion for their work. Some are really good. They’re not free but they are cheaper than custom made. That will allow you to publish your book while you search for another, better one, and save the money to purchase it.
Or, you may find that pre-made cover works perfectly.
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Romance novels tell us not how men are, but how we wish them to be.
A few years back (I’m not telling how many *laughing*) I found myself in the position of watching my (previous) marriage at the beginning of the inevitable downward slide toward divorce.
It was a tough time. Worse, because I was trying to follow my dream of writing. That was what tipped over the apple cart.
What saved me was reading, of course. More particularly, reading a series of specific books – Nora Roberts Chesapeake Bay series. Knowing N.R.’s history helped remind me that second chances were possible. (Or, in my case, third or fourth.)
I would follow that dream, my dreams, in more ways than one. As many times as I tried to convince my ex to expand his horizons, to travel outside his comfort zone, he wouldn’t. (He preferred Las Vegas.)
Now newly divorced, I could. So I did. I had always wanted to visit Great Britain, to see certain literary sites – like the moors of England, Stonehenge, the horse country, and one of the lochs in Scotland – but particularly Ireland. Much of my heritage is based in the British Isles.
Although I consider myself primarily a fantasy writer, I was inspired by Nora Roberts’ books to write a series of my own.
Thus was born The Millersburg Quartet – the first of which was Irish Fling.
That book set the tone for all but the last, Two Up – the
only one not based in reality, although it was born of my creative process.
Dirty Politics was based on my father’s frequent forays into politics, and what I learned of the process. As the old adage goes there are two things you never want to see made – sausages and laws. They’re right. Even on the local level, there are dirty tricks – and dirty politics.
As with the others, Director’s Cut came from my experience with community theater – even
many of characters and events were about real people and real events. It’s also an homage to the man who inspired the character of the ‘matchmaker’.
Two Up was just fun to write. Even though my husband the motorcycle safety instructor has banned me from riding. *laughing* Bikes are more powerful than they were when I was riding in my teens and I’m too easily distracted. However, the hot bath in the hollow in the woods was real.
All the books in The Millersburg Quartet are available everywhere, and all are in print.
In honor of Valentines Day, Irish Fling is on sale for $.99 everywhere – B&N #Nook, #Kobo, #AppleBooks and #Kindle. The entire Millersburg Quartet is also available in print via Amazon.
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To those folks I say, “Oh please! I blow raspberries in your general direction”.
Have you read Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol? He was using his writer’s bully pulpit to bring attention to the poor, and how they were kept that way through ignorance (lack of public education). Or on the opposite side, Tom Clancy – a known conservative whose political views informed all his writing.
To find myself the subject of a political ‘intervention’, though, was more than a little shocking. After all, in this country, your political party and vote are supposed to be a matter of personal choice, one of our freedoms.
Yes, I said an intervention. I walked into the kitchen of my ex-husband’s parent’s home to find his family blocking all the exits, and his mother – the local chair of the party in question – holding a change of registration form. It seems they needed someone to represent my district and they decided I was it…at least until they discovered I was a registered independent. (I had supported my father in his multiple failed campaigns.) To say that I was not amused would be an understatement. Apparently, they thought I was malleable. (They clearly didn’t know me very well.)
So, they staged an intervention, and they weren’t going to let me leave until I changed my registration. (Of course, they didn’t consider that I could change it back again.) In any case, the one thing it did successfully do was make me more aware, as well as making me research politics to understand the way it worked.
*Grins* Being a writer, of course, I wove that experience and knowledge into my work, both in a more serious way – the results of political policies on those caught by those policies in the political thriller Nike’s Wings – and in a romance on a seemingly lighter, more personal level showing politics on the local arena (with a kind of strange prescience of what would play out on the national stage in recent times) with Dirty Politics.
Everything we do, every part of what we are, informs us as writers…and it will show. We must be true to ourselves, and our readers
If you need an escape this weekend, escape with into the political thrills with Nike’s Wings or into a romance with Cam (and her sexy DA Noah) in Dirty Politics.
Nike’s Wings is available on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005GHE94K
Dirty Politics is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005318DNW
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*laughing* I can just hear it – a ‘sweet’ erotic romance? How is that even possible? To tell you the truth, I just wanted to write an erotic romance with a Christmas theme. The holidays for me have always been a celebration of love, romance, etc. (I was married on Christmas Eve in a reformed Catholic Church, in what had been a chicken barn before family, friends, and the homeless people the church served. Yeah, I’m like that.) So it was important to me for it to have a positive theme – no bad boys with bad attitudes. There is a bit of the paranormal about it.
It is sweet and sexy. Yeah, there’s a lot of sex. *grins* For most men, sex and romance are pretty much interchangeable, at least for a while, and that’s true for Travis. He’s a little lost, too, the life he thought he had has come apart.
Mikaela is a cockeyed optimist, despite a rough background, but she does have trust issues.
In dreams, though, anything is possible.
The Best Christmas Present – release date 12/18/2015 Read More »
Well, the easiest answer is this one – sometimes what seems to work great for a particular book just doesn’t. And sometimes your vision of the art for a cover just doesn’t work.
A case in point was the self-created cover art for Song of the Fairy Queen, an action-oriented epic fantasy, for which I was delighted to win an Arianna award. However, I found that men weren’t reading it – the heavily pink cover was putting them off. So, I hired a new cover artist, and sales improved significantly among both sexes.
It’s even more important for a series, though, to have cohesive covers because it ties the books together. As in the covers for my Coming Storm and Servant of the Gods series.
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With romances, though, it tends to be a bit more crucial. One of my favorite romance authors – Nora Roberts – has a number of series. Her Chesapeake Bay books are still my go-to books when I need to escape. The same is true of her J D Robb novels.
That was what I was looking for with my Millersburg Quartet series. The cover artist I hired had done
some great work for other writers, and I thought I had communicated that the books were part of a series. The cover for the first book was great…but the others had no link to the first or the others in the series. If nothing else, I would have liked to have a banner, or at least a mention on the cover that they all were related in some way. The badge she created, though, was easily overlooked rather than
something that linked the books together. It also tended to make the covers look too busy, especially the last one.
I kept thinking about it, particularly when it came to my readers. The series is different, the heroines aren’t the usual women looking for a man – they’re strong, capable women. Although they got good reviews for the content, the covers just didn’t seem to match. Then a friend saw a review of the series and was inspired to create new covers, with an eye to have elements that tied all the books together – the fonts, position, and each one has the name of the series on it, yet each suits the individual book, with an emphasis on the romance.
Irish Fling – the first in the series