I’ve been browsing bookshelves again. But instead of my usual bookstore hangout, I’ve been browsing online. My agent is getting my newest proposal ready to send out and asked for comparables. This is where I have to find titles published by the publishers I hope will publish my book. Wow, that’s a lot of publishing in one sentence. So I’ve been searching online until I’m cross-eyed and have a headache for Inspy Contemporary Romance with similar characters or topics to mine. It took me a full week to find 3 comparables for each of the 3 books in my proposal. But while I was at it, I discovered some authors I’ve never read that I want to try. And I saw lots of lovely covers.
When I’m looking for a book to read, I’m bad to stick to my standbys because I have little time to read. But sometimes a cover will capture my attention. If it’s Inspy Contemporary, I automatically read the back cover. If the story piques my interest, I’ll buy it. But sometimes, I’ll buy a book just on the basis of the cover. Or even the title. Becky Wade got me with the pink shoes. This was the first of her books that I read. Now she’s a standby. When her books release, I buy them. All because of the pink shoes.
Have I mentioned I own about sixty pairs of shoes? About 42 heels in every color you can think of including pink, yellow, and gold. Why wear black when you can wear red or leopard or silver? Then there are about a dozen sandals, 4 boots, and the rest are tennis shoes. I also have matching issues. If my pants are gray, my sandals have to be silver or my tennis shoes have to be gray. Okay, enough about shoes.
Or maybe not. While browsing for comparables, I found Courtney Walsh. I’ve heard of her, but never read her. But while trying to find books similar to mine, I discovered several of her covers and back covers that interested me. Again, she had me with the boots. And come to think of it, even though I have black, red, leopard, and snakeskin boots, I don’t have any rain boots. Hmm, I need to fix that. I have a pair of camo really ugly all-weather boots. They were an old pair of my son’s he’s outgrown. They’re great for snow, mud, and cleaning out the pool. But I’d never, ever, ever wear them in public. But these cute yellow polka dotted ones. Yep, I’d wear them. And I ordered the book from Mardel’s today while my husband browsed Bibles for a new member.
Whenever I see great covers that make me want to buy them, I wonder how much input the author had. Maybe big-name authors get to change and revise until it’s perfect. As for small-name authors like me, I fill out a questionnaire and send pictures of models for my characters. Then I got a draft and all that can be changed is hair or eye color. And only slightly. I’ve had the cover that had the girl sitting between the guy’s legs in a strapless top. When I saw it, I was like, oh my. My mama told me never to sit between a man’s legs unless we were married. My characters weren’t married and the strapless top wasn’t what I consider modest. I had readers ask me about it, so it wasn’t just me. And that cover was with one of the most conservative publishers.
Another book pictured my hero with a mullet. Not how I described him and in the years when that hairstyle was decidedly out. Then there was the cover where the guy’s eyes were awesomely green like I wrote them when I got the online draft. But when the books came, his eyes were decidedly brown. The one where I talked about the heroine hating her naturally curly hair throughout the book. But on the cover, her hair was straight and a lot shorter than I’d written. The cover where the cowboy’s belt buckle was upside down and no one noticed. Except for a reader. For A Texas Bond, when I got the draft I complained that the hero didn’t look like a cowboy. Only to learn that they weren’t using live models due to that virus we’re all sick of, so the artist had to find cover art online. I felt bad for saying anything that time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some good ones too. Hill Country Redemption is my favorite. Because, well, look at him. The cover artist nailed my vision for Rance Shepherd. He looks a lot like the model I sent. I also loved my cover for Counting on the Cowboy. They made Colson really hunky and spot on with the model I used.
Rodeo Song is one of my favorites. That book was based on a dream I had after a Michael Bolton concert (yes I’m that old). During the concert, Michael took a break and ran around the lobby, where I happened to be. A friend and I followed the hoards running after him and I stood within six feet of him when he sang Georgia on My Mind. How did he know I grew up in Georgia? Don’t worry, my husband was there, waiting for me in the stands. And when I dreamed that night that Michael took my hand, pulled me on stage with him, and sang Georgia to me, then asked me to have dinner with him, I said, “I’m married.” And woke up.
But it made a great book. The cover art I sent for that one was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill standing and singing to each other. The cover artist did a great job of turning the scene into my hero singing to my heroine seated on a stool, just like the scene in the book.
More of my favorite covers. The first Denise Hunter book I read was The Accidental Bride. For this one, it was the title that hooked me. How do you become an accidental bride? And the look on her face intrigued me. I’d have bought this book even if the back cover didn’t sound interesting, simply because the title did. After I read this book, I binge-bought all of Denise’s backlist and binge-read them. When her books release, I buy them. All because of this title.
Like Never Before wasn’t my first title from Melissa Tagg. Her first book, Made to Last was the first I read of hers. The back cover sold me on it. I liked it so much she became a standby and I buy her books as soon as they release. But this is my favorite cover of hers. I love them wrapped in the blanket looking so cozy. The color of the blanket makes me think of fall. My favorite season. And I love how she’s all up in his face and he seems kind of shy.
So what about you? What are some of your favorite covers? What do you love about them? Does the cover sell you on a book? Or the back cover blurb? Or like me, the author? What makes you try new authors? All comments will go in the drawing for a print copy of A Texas Bond. Deadline: Aug 17th.