Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laughable Book Cover Lore

Warning! Only those with humor may enter.

I've been thinking about this post for some time and now is the time.

In case you don't remember the dino-publisher days, there once was a cover, Christina Dodd's I think (best guess, anyway), where the cover model actually had THREE hands.

One of my covers beat that: It had 5 nipples between the fireplace bust, the hero and the heroine, whose tight blouse wasn't covering enough. I hadn't had time to really look at the cover when my daughter, her friend's family and I went to dinner. Where of course, I proudly presented my new cover. The infamous nipple-cover, shocking them.

Typically, writers don't have cover-say. They can input and sometimes the publishers are gracious enough to ask for comments along the development-way. But generally, those covers are the publisher's ball game and they play what they think will sell best.

Some years ago, a distributor (there used to be a lot of them back there in dino pre-ereader days)spoke at a writers' conference. He held up covers and explained what sold. And since back then, the field was most men, his descriptions were those of an insider male-distributor.

At the Edge, the first of my psychic triplet Aisling trilogy, would have been labeled, Hand on Thigh and Face in Throat (translated: Kiss of the Vampire). While At the Edge is a recent romantic suspense, back then, we saw a lot of hand on thighs. People, it is not erotica, despite the look.
Wild Dawn
is now in epublishing, and if you read it, please do leave a review? This is an early historical backlist, written as Cait Logan. I've epublished it as Cait London, in keeping with my other stuff.

Said Distributor, who was great to authors, BTW, called this The Bored Woman pose. Or--God, how much longer is this going to take?

We're coming to my favorite. Hold on....

A Lady's Desire
is now in epublishing, which a nice male back always serves sales. But notice Lady on the Line, a backlist Cait Logan, not yet available for epublishing.

Lady on the Line, my very first published book a Berkley Second Chance at Love, is about a woman lineman fighting her own in a basically male-dominated field. Poor Lady. She's what the distributor tagged as "The Nursing Woman".

I have to agree. She's pretty enhanced, but that was what he said appealed to the distributor-buyers (back then :))

Here's a good one in his list of what appeals to male distributors. "Put a horse in it," he said.

I notice we're still using a lot of horses today. They are loveable. Pretty big, brown eyes.

Placing a story element on the cover is usually recommended. Or not.

Titles are probably the most grabbing and now there's some neat graphics out there, really super stuff.

The Aisling trilogy is available either in paper, or in electronic form everywhere. I loved this trilogy and somewhere earlier in my blog, I started interviewing the sisters who, because of their special gifts, could not live close to each other. A Stranger's Touch made the NYTs extended.

The two covers after At the Edge were hero/heroine faces kissing, unicolors. I liked those better and I loved the Aisling trilogy. Really, really loved the individual stories and the story threads/arc that ran to the end. I'm so hoping you read it. And try to read it in order:



About those face/body covers....

Call me weird. No, wait. Don't.

But cut-off heads drives me nuts. I know they bother other readers, too, so I'm not alone. (I hope.)

Then, the leg covers. They only remind me to exercise more and that my days walking on spikes are over.

The need for a striking cover can change the writer's story. Or rather, they change to story to match the cover.

For example, I could not have a hero with gray hair, because the cover artist couldn't manage that. I had to rewrite Tame the Fury really fast, because the cover artist made a mistake: my heroine's blond hair was already black on a cover run, and I had to change all the references from hair like say, gold as the wheat field, to whatever.

That error did enhance the book and I wrote the poem, My Highland Rose, to go with the story, the heroines black hair. But that was panic time as the print run was scheduled.

There's more in Book Cover Lore, fantastic funny stories. But that's it for now and I hope you enjoyed the ride....