Uncovering “A Love by Any Measure”
I’ve had several talks with other authors and readers recently about book covers and their importance to the marketing of a book. Note: I’m not just talking about making sales here. I’m talking about the most basic purpose of marketing: making a connection with the potential customer.
|I bought Kristen Painter’s book after
seeing only its cover. THIS is an
example of a cover that sells the book.
(And so far, its contents are as awesome
as its cover.)
You know the old saying, “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover?” Well, that statement is a double-edged sword. Sometimes a book has a really rocking cover, so much so that I’ve bought it based on its cover alone, sometimes only to discover what was inside was less than appealing.
|Fame is no reason to
grow lazy (unless it works and is cheaper).
Other times, I’ve discovered a book through other means, and the cover was short of appealing. ( A personal unfavorite are books for which the cover is nothing but text. This usually happens as a writer becomes famous to the point where their name alone will sell the book just as well as any flashy image or artistic masterpiece.) Why, then, would the publisher spend money on a graphic artist? It’s a reasonable business decision, but perhaps one with which I find myself disagreeing.
But all this thought led me back to the covers for my two books, in particular A Love by Any Measure. I’ve gotten more than a few positive comments on the cover (one reviewer said, “[it] has a cover that belongs in an art house,”) but a few people have suggested to me it would be nice to get a little author/designer’s perspective on what I included in the design, and why. After all, this is the calling card of my book, the image that’s meant to both intrigue and inform a potential reader. Also, as you may have noticed in most any book store, many subgenres of romance carry with them a certain expectation of the cover. It almost becomes formulaic. i.e. For a regency romance, such as ALBAM, the standard ingredients are a woman whose dress if falling off or way too tight, a muscular man, sometimes with a cane, sometimes with his shirt half off or missing completely, who is kissing her neck or about to attack her bosom, and sometimes there’s a horse. I DID NOT want to be formulaic. I strove to have something that was right for MY cover, not just any historical romance cover.
So, a little on how I approached this:
BACKGROUND I faded it out a little because I didn’t want it to dominate the image, but what you see are very soft, floral colors. ALBAM is set in an era in which feminity among the upper class was an art form. I want you immediately to see that there’s a background of softness here, a concept that everything in the world is simple and yet, with some depth.
FOREGROUND SILHOUETTE: This image of a Victorian-era girl’s face, framed by flowing long hair struck me as very Maeve-ish the moment I saw it. Two conflicting impressions hit you immediately: the woman is very beautiful, and she’s suffered a great woe. I love how, without the distinct features of a face, there is still so much qualification in this image. Her head is angled in such a way that she’s either about to fall to pieces, or the hero is about to lift her chin to kiss her.
LEFT IMAGE: Well, not much symbolism there, is there? This represents my hero and heroine, August and Maeve, both instinctively drawn to each other, yet still hesitating, struggling to keep that last inch of distance and danger between them.
RIGHT IMAGE: And in to every great romance, some obstacles must fall. The working class, intense chap is Maeve’s intended, Owen Murphy. I loved this image, how focused and since the model was. And to contrast and compliment him, right beneath we have the image of our fair-haired, English beauty Amelia.
A NOTE ON TEXT: I chose a highly embellished text for this as a way to invoke the era, when handwriting (and the writing of notes and letters does play a significant role in the plot) was much more highly prized.
Would love to hear your thoughts, and not just on this cover. Are there any covers recently which knocked your socks off? Any which you cringed at?