Tuesday, February 12

Cover Me

Usually a cover reveal is such a big deal.Like opening a gift. This morning, a friend put a cover for her new book on one of my writer's loops. She hates it. Most of the writers on the loop do, too.

When I was an unpublished writer, I always thought hating a cover was kind of a prima donna act. You know, the writer was throwing a fit for no reason. If you were lucky enough to get a cover, deal with it.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Awhile back, I contracted my book, Vaquero. It is a tale of a man branded (literally) by racists. A branding iron plays a HUGE part in the book. The entire plot evolves around the branding. The original title was Branded, but it was taken.

When I filled out the cover art, I asked for a prominent branding iron. I wanted it to be large, fiery red and coming at the reader.

The heroine is a strawberry blonde. The hero is Spanish-American with dark hair and sage-green eyes.

This was the cover I got. Can you say double ugh? Ugh.

There's nothing about it I liked. Lucky for me, I had a great editor who let me change it. I bought my own cover art, and the artist found my branding iron. While still not exactly my vision come to life, it's better.

The new cover is on the sidebar.

So, here's my thoughts, for what they're worth. A cover matters. I don't think the artist can find my exact vision. How could they? He or she isn't in my head. But to be excited about the book, to want to share it, the writer has to at least like her cover.

I got lucky. How about you...have you ever had a cover that made you want to stick your head in an oven and slam the door a few times?








65 comments:

  1. I'm on pins and needles about my cover and I won't even have one until April or May. One of the authors didin't even see hers until the book was up on pre-order. Fortunately, she loves it. I will not be happy if that happens to me. I'm way too much of a control freek.

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  2. OMG, this wasn't the best effort. I've seen some wild ones for other authors. Sometimes, the ones you don't like, others do like. It is subjective. But not in your case. You did a great job.

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    1. LOL. No, best effort doesn't cover it.

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  3. D'Ann, good for you for going after a better cover. I love your second cover!!!

    There's something so personal about a cover for an author, almost an extension of the story. At least it's that way for me. Me, I absolutely LOVE the cover I have for Cade. It just says it all to me. Don't know about anyone else though.

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  4. I've been happy with all but one of mine. One is downright strange but I was a new author at the time and didn't know I had a measure of input.

    On the other hand. A cover might catch my eye on a shelf, but the blurb often sells me. Nice post D'Ann.

    Rose

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  5. I love your 2nd cover....good for you for going for what you want and for having an editor that helped you get it changed. Both of my covers so far I didn't have a say...what I got was the final draft. Would be nice to have more input but I'm hoping the 3rd time is the charm...we'll see :) lol

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  6. I quite like the first cover! but you're the one who's got to promote it, so good for making the change!

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  7. I literally feel light headed before I open a cover art email. I have to get myself settled in my chair and calm before I peek.
    I used to believe authors had control over their covers but now I know I'm at the mercy of fate. Fortunately I love most of my covers.

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    1. Light headed. Yes. That describes it.

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  8. I just went through this very thing, and I agree wholeheartedly with you that a cover matters -- not just the image, but the font and font size as well. The first cover suggested for my soon-to-be-released erotic romance, *She Likes It Irish*, was so bad I felt an ulcer growing in my stomach. The characters in my story are college-aged. The man on the cover looked about that age, but the woman looked like she was in her 40s. He looked totally disinterested in her, and she looked like she wanted to rip his throat out and devour him. The cover suggested that the story was about an older woman, younger man, and their nasty sexcapades. It just so didn't work. Fortunately, the publisher was willing to listen to my concerns and did change it. I'm not totally in love with the new cover, but I am pleased that the characters look the right age, look interested in each other, and anyone looking at it will know there's some sizzling sex going on between them. BTW, I love the cover for *Vaquero* (the one that made it on the book, not the reject). LOL!

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    1. So glad you got the cover right! I love your title!

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  9. I got to choose between two covers for Dreamers. I didn't like the first one because the hero was wearing a hoodie and looked kind of thuggish. I didn't get a choice for Life After but I love the cover. I used to think authors got to pick their covers. A lot of readers do. You wouldn't believe how many women have asked me to introduce them to the man on my Dreamers cover.

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    1. Shawn! I have been waiting for you to introduce me to that man for ages now!!! He's a hunka alright.

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  10. When I saw the mock up for my book Remedy Maker, I about threw up. My hero has long dark hair. The image chosen was a man with practically a shaved head! Like you, I was able to change the image to a more agreeable cover.

    The new and improved Vaquero cover is wonderful. Good job!

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    1. I remember how upset you were. I think you have a great cover now!

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  11. Really? I don't think the first cover is so bad. The second one is great. Covers can be a huge pain the neck because they represent so much. Either way, your book was great!

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    1. I LOATHED that cover, Allie. Thanks for the compliment.

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  12. oh gawd yes - the original cover for Black Dorn had a naked woman tied into an incredibly painful looking position - that doesn't happen at all in the book. I was terrified at saying no - who am I to tell my editor and cover artist that I didn't like the cover? - They said it would sell more copies. I truly felt I couldn't promo it. They relented and I got a calmer cover.

    Your version is much more passionate.

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    1. I'm glad you got the cover you want--it is gorgeous. One of my faves.

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  13. I definitely like your cover better than the original! Wow! I have been very lucky with my covers-knock on wood! I love my first two, and like the third. And covers absolutely do matter! People do judge a book by it's cover, no matter how wrong it is. That's what sells our book many times. I really loved Vaquero! It's my favorite of your books, D'Ann!! Love that story no matter what the cover!

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    1. I LOVE your covers! You have been very blessed.

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  14. There were some small differences between the cutey on my cover and the hero in the story. Hair length--but maneuvered him coming out of a swamp and even added, his special tattoos. Couldn't believe she managed all that.

    Was very pleased. 2nd cover and 2nd time going WOW.

    Have been lucky thus far.

    :)
    Bobbi Romans

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    1. I love your cover! That guy is hot!

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  15. Yeah, I was hugely disappointed with my debut cover...sigh. I still am, and it doesn't appear anywhere unless it has to. Comments back all include 'that cover is ugly' and puts people off, and I have had a few people say that the story inside is so different to the cover. Anyway, I'm stuck with it...what can you do except learn some valuable lessons for next time! Great post, D'Ann. PS love that Vaquero cover!

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    1. I'm so sorry you don't love your cover. I do! Truly. I think it's gorgeous. Be proud of it.

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  16. Yeah, I've had one of those oven-door covers. Still hasn't grown on me.

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  17. Wow...what a difference. The cover you have now is perfect...the first one...while the cover itself isn't terrible, it just doesn't fit your book. So glad you said something!

    My first cover, of course I went with a cover artist I trust and she helped me through the entire process. When I got the very first cover for The Secret Santa Wishing Well, while I liked it, it didn't fully scream at me. Then she sent me a second mock up and I was stunned. Very beautiful! I'm going to go back to her for more covers, especially a character's story that was from the book. For Baby Stetson, my husband and I are going to try a cover ourselves.

    Great post!

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    1. I love your Christmas cover. Every time I look at it, I sort of breathe in pine and snow.

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  18. Most of the time, I'm not too critical as long as I have some input into the cover art.
    However, with some publishers, you don't get input and it is frustrating. My favorite cover to date is the one L&L Dreamspell did for TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS in the ebook edition. I thought it was much better than the hardcover which was sold for so much more.

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    1. I think you have great covers! I'm especially fond of the car chase one.

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  19. I've been really lucky with my covers (so far). But I always get those butterflies when cover art emails come in.

    BTW, I'm a fan of Cover #2 for Vaquero, too...

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    1. You've got great covers! And Thank you!

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  20. Just my opinion, but I don't really care for this one either. A not too great cover won't make me not read a book, but it can be distracting to a degree.

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    1. Oh, darn, Mel. I hoped you would love it. I agree, a bad cover can make you hate the book.

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  21. Covers are so important, and I hated my first two. For Caution: Filling is Hot I requested my couple be standing hip deep in water leaning toward each other across a wind surfer board, perhaps their hands touching. Just by body position you'd know they were stealing a kiss. I simply wanted the photo to stop at their shoulders, don't show their heads. My cover is entirely different and it looks like a black clip art couple pasted on the front. I was upset. For Forest Fires, my heroine has hair down to her knees and the hero fantasizes about being wound up in it. I asked for the embracing couple to be wound together in her hair on a backdrop of flaming woods. Nope. They tried to give me another clip art cover over misty woods. I dug in my heels and pleaded that they at least remove the cheesy couple. What I have is simply the background. Not happy, but I can live with that. Better than being furious. Still, neither cover captures the sexy romance, at all. I had more say in my next three covers so I'm feeling better about those.

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    1. I'm sorry you were disapointed. It makes me sad. For what it's worth, I think they're beautiful.

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  22. I've only had two covers and I'm sorry to answer yes. I'm not fond of the couple on my latest book Rhapsody. Not what I envisioned at all. In my opinion, the cover does not tell the story at all.

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    1. I haven't had a chance to read your book, but I like that cover a lot.

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  23. Oh yes.... And the worst cover I got.... The book bombed. I mean really bombed that I'm too embarrassed to say how many copies were sold. It was my worst seller and still is. I think it bombed because of the cover. It didn't represent the mood or content of the story. My characters didn't even have the right hair color- ugh. Thank God the rest that followed were good. I know as a reader the cover draws me in, though I'm a bit of a book cover art slut-Lol.

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    1. Book cover art slut? LOL I love that!

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  24. I've loved half of mine and barely tolerated the other half--same with titles that have been changed--but I seem to get used to them. However, you've had a few stinkers, D!

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  25. I can totally see why you didn't like that cover it doesn't inspire me to pick up the book at all. And for me that is important I need to be intrigued by a cover otherwise I'm not likely to even read the book. There are even a few publishers i wont even sub to because i find there covers awful. can't wait to see the covers of your new books.

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  26. A cover really matters. It is the first thing a potential reader sees.
    When I'm reading a book, I always check the description of the heroine and heroine to the models on the front.
    Great post.

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  27. Great post, D'Ann! Covers really are so important and it sucks when one doesn't even come close to fitting the bill. I absolutely haaated one of mine at first. A couple of changes later and...well, I still kind of hated it. But not as much as I first did, lol. Keeping my fingers crossed for any and all future covers!

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    1. I'm sorry you hated your cover. I bet you'll some stunners in the future.

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  28. D'Ann, I'm with you! Covers matter. A lot. I hated the cover CR did for Hot Off the Press when I first saw it and I still do. I wasn't sent it until tne nth hour and immediately offered to pay to have the artwork change. My request was denied. I was told it was too late and that if I got my cover changed they would have to do it for others, too. Here's the rub. I've since found out that other authors have had fairly major changes made to their covers. HOTP is a sensual love story between a voluptuous redheaded reporter and a rawboned, native american guy and my cover is a close-up of a latino guy. No background, no context. Just a close up of some cheesy looking guy. I'm stuck with this cover and it's so bad I'm embarassed to show the book to anyone.

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  29. I like the second one much better. A cover is soooo important. It's the first impression your book makes with the reader. Congrats on the release!

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    1. Thank you, Sharon. I like it better, too, although it still didn't "hit it".

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  30. I won't say too much about my covers, but expectations are rarely realized. Yep, I have often considered running for the oven when those creepy pictures arrive in an email. What is it that the editor or artist can't see from your in depth descriptions and even more, the photos you send for example. Some of mine have made me angry, disgusted and sad. But, D'Ann, so far your's have all been super. I will keep writing and try not to put so much of my heart in the images.

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  31. I love your second cover, D'Ann. As for my covers.... I love them all but the one for A Hunter's Blade. It just feels off to me even though it fits the story. My favorite is Gambling On A Secret-- the artist not only captured exactly what I think Dylan and Charli look like, but the very essence of the story in a photo.

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    1. Sara, you have been blessed by the cover gods, all right.

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  32. I think you've hit upon a sore spot. After birthing a book through drafts, crit, edits and to have it's sales helped or hindered by a cover probably made in less than a day is nerve racking. I was most fortunate with Saving Casey. It's fabulous.

    I can see why you had your own cover made. That was a disaster.

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  33. I still have a cover I don't like...I had no input even though I filled out my cover request form. Everything I asked for was ignored; the one thing I asked NOT to be in the cover was there. I was told the artist "went in a different direction" for the cover, but it still annoys me to this day. I cringe when I see the cover.

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