Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about book covers! As a romance author having signed and lost and re-signed contracts I’ve learned one very important lesson: Good cover art can make or break you.
A book cover works just like a little black dress. You want form-fitting but comfortable, and just hot enough to draw attention without giving away too much. But it also needs to be relevant. You don’t want a girl in skimpy underwear on the cover of your book if your heroine is a Quaker.
Bad example, I know. But you get my point. You want it to touch on elements of the story in a cohesive way that makes a potential reader do a double-take. It’s that second glance that’s going to get your book pulled off the shelf and turned over for a quick blurb check. That second glance might just be what gets your book sold.
I learned that lesson the hard way. My contemporary romance novella, Something in the Air, was originally published with someone else. When the rights were returned to me, I submitted and signed it and its sequel with Purple Sword Publications. And the amazing part is that a brush-up on editing and a new cover later, I’ve had more compliments and reviews on that book since February than I ever had people even look at it before. Take a look for yourself.
When I saw this new cover, I immediately fell in love with my own story again. I missed that feeling too, because I had a lot of fun writing it. This picture more appropriately conveys the love between my hero and heroine. Can’t you see it on their faces? I don’t know about you, but when I look at them, I feel his love in the way he holds her. It’s emotional. It speaks to me.
I’m definitely a connoisseur of good cover art. I admit that I’m one of those shameless types that walks down the aisles in the bookstore until something jumps out at me. Yes, I’ve bought many a book on cover art alone. Yeah, I’ve also been sorely disappointed a time or two but you know what? I don’t mind buying a dud with a pretty cover because I know some struggling artist put his or her heart and soul into those pages.
Some of my publishers would tell you that I’m really a pain in the butt when it comes to my covers. My cover art request forms are long and detailed with lists upon lists of THINGS I REFUSE TO HAVE ON MY BOOKS. But I’m not the only one. Look at Lexxx’s cover over to the right. Isn’t it pretty? I know her pretty well, and I know that she wouldn’t have allowed that cover if it didn’t speak to her. It’s dark and sultry, isn’t it? That’s the very type of thing that makes me stop and back up to see what it’s all about.
And another one. Crymsyn and Anastasia have a gorgeous one here, don’t you think? The man is sexy, and so is the tiger in the background. Kinda makes you want to know what the connection is, doesn’t it?
See, that’s my point. A pretty picture can hook you in a heartbeat. And when it comes to the way us romance ladies write, heartbeats are what we want. We want you to fall in love with our book covers so you’ll pick up our books. Because I can promise you, once you open up our books, you’re going to fall in love with us.