Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What's Love Got To Do With It

Now on Sale at .99 for a Limited Time.

Tina Turner's song perfectly suits What's a Cover Got To Do With It?

Answer? Almost everything.

DELILAH and the MOUNTIE is already up, the western historical featuring a Mountie after his brother's killer--the suspect is Delilah's youngest brother. With another historical, Wild Dawn, almost ready to be lifted into epublishing, I'm considering Cover Looks.

This is why authors want that contract clause: Cover Say or Cover Input. But when writers chose their own covers, like in epublishing, calling on friends for input is really important.

When self-designing a cover, starting thinking basics, a name brand? Think larger author name than title. What elements are in the story? Appeal to what strata of readers? Where to "shop" for ideas? Stockphoto URLs, free or paid?

All this thinking is really like plowing through muck, until an idea forms. But hey! Wait. If doing several books in the same genre or subgenre (Rem: I'm a fiction writer) it should be a look that suits all. For example, I have western historical, contemporary category (Desires), romantic suspense and psychic, or romantic suspense/psychic.

What's your opinion of any of these covers? More on that later...

Lots of discussion on the writer boards about covers as we place our reverted titles into epublishing, or perhaps some new stuff. I'm not particularly happy with some of my early titles, so debate changing them, with clear notification to readers, of course. However, some writers say it is "death" to change a title. So important to weigh that one. While you're weighing that one, consider a choosing a font that shows well and reflects the book.

I'm not a fan of the border/band look, which shows fonts well, providing a background. I've just seen too many books relying on that look, until it looks very standard, and quite trade. To me, as this is all subjective. (I'm a paperback writer, another song.)

Then guess what? Think minimized as the cover would be on Internet? Does it "pop"?
To meet Kindle, NookBooks, Smashwords and others (those are the top popular ones), it has to meet their specs.

Designers are out there and can easily handle writer's ideas, but you also have to think budget and how much you're willing to invest. Prices I've found range from very little graphic work ($25) to the popular JA Konrath's estimate of $300-900. Many authors do their own covers with the help of stockphotos and graphic software.

I'm struggling through this now. As a canvas artist, I thought this would be easier. It isn't. I've redone several covers and plan to redo more.One test is how well they sell. Some writers like Marsha Canham do great, sailing through sales with tallships and pirates. I miss pirate-theme books, so those, plus some feminine background appeal.

Terry O'Dell has a great description of her process. In fact she has a great blog.
If you have time... I'd really appreciate your input on these covers, keeping in mind that I'm changing the 2 numbered ones whenever. AND there's definitely a contest coming in the future...


Terry Odell said...

Cait - cover art is a whole new game for e-books, because they're so much smaller. And thanks for mentioning my blog post about how my cover evolved.
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Marsha Canham said...

Covers are trial and error, I've discovered. What looks good on a print cover doesn't necessarily translate to ebooks mainly because of the necessity to get the general theme across in thumbnail sizes. I enjoy doing the covers, but the verdict is still out on a couple of them LOL.

Thanks for the mention *s*.

Cait said...

You're welcome, Terry and Marsha. Both new friends. You're both doing marvelous and I'm learning a lot from you.

Caroline Clemmons said...

What a terrific cover! I hadn't thought of the difference in print to e-book covers. Now that you've mentioned it, I'm embarrassed I didn't think of the size before. I'm putting some old books on Smashwords and my daughter, husband and I are doing the covers. This post is helpful!

Cait said...

Hi, Caroline. I'm so glad you found this post informative. Please check Writers Survival Guide topic for more tips?

Also, consider that the cover will be darker when minimized. So watch that "pop". :)

Best on your work.