We all know the old saying, right? Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those rare readers who really doesn’t do this. Honestly, half the time I’m not even sure I look at the cover. Back when I’d go roam the aisles of Borders for hours (anyone else still mourning Borders? Just me?), I’d pull a book off the shelf because the title sounded interesting and immediately flip it over to read the blurb. The cover? Meh. Didn’t matter. (Well, the one time it would annoy me is when I’d flip the book over and all I’d find was a big photo of the author. Don’t show me a huge picture of the author–just let me know what the book’s about!)
But, like I said, I get that that’s rare. I understand that for most people, the cover is an initial deciding factor in whether or not a book gets picked up (or the link gets clicked to take you to an etailer to read the blurb). And cover conversations are, hands down, some of the hardest I’ve had as an author.
When I first started writing, I was with a small press. I loved a lot about that experience. One thing that I really loved was not having to do a ton with the cover. I’d offer some ideas and then get some thoughts back and we’d go back and forth and at the end of the day, I’d end up with a cover that I always at least liked, if not loved. But the small press closed their doors, and I ended up going indie. And now, like Harry Truman, the buck for covers stopped with me.
To say I panicked would be to put it mildly. I did a lot of consulting with the woman I worked with on covers at the small press (thankfully she was willing to hold my hand) and over time, I got the point where I was relatively comfortable putting a cover together for myself. But…I still dreaded cover time. In fact, I still do.
And that brings me to my query for this post. What is it that draws you to a contemporary romance cover? (And yes, I’m being very specific, because different genres have different requirements. Right now, I only write contemporary romance, so I don’t need to think about what elements go into suspense or thriller or….whatever.) Do you have to have people? A couple? Embracing? Not embracing? Just a woman? Just a man? Think of some covers you love and tell me what drew you to them. Or post a picture of the ones that have caught your eye!
Help us all do a better job judging book covers.