Covers Tell the Story Too
There is much that can be said on the topic of cover art. I’m going to state unequivocally that I adore cover art. I would love to be the altruistic sort that rates a cover very low in my consideration when it comes to a good book, but I’m not. I love my pictures whether their beautiful or just dramatic and eye catching. In fact my first reaction to the discovery of e-readers was, “Oh no! What about the book covers? Ebooks still get covers? Okay, fine! I won’t panic now.” In the days when I used to have a Borders (yes, still mourning the demise) within easy driving distance, I loved walking through the store perusing the shelves. With my triple chocolate hot chocolate or Italian soda in hand, I picked up books that caught my eye and sometimes went with an impulse buy because the cover nabbed me.
Yes, cover art draws me in long enough for the book to grab me in other ways- known author, favorite genre, trusted author doing the cover quote, blurb, etc. During and after reading a book, I will frequently reference the cover picturing scenes from the story. The problem occurs when the cover doesn’t mesh with the story. I then get distracted by the fact that the description of the characters or the tone of the book does not match what wraps around it on the cover. What really chaps my hide is when a cover and the slant that is placed on the back cover in the blurb are not even close to what I find inside when I start to read. Tricked!?! Argh!
I remember a convo I had with a gal on Goodreads last year when she saw that I marked a book PNR for its category on my virtual shelf and did my review. She questioned me with, “It’s not BDSM? There’s a girl on the cover scantily clad in handcuffs. How can it not be BDSM?” But no it was shifter romance with a captive vampire sweetie. The lady LOL’d, but admitted that she wouldn’t have purchased it if she thought it was a PNR. With her mistake in mind when I looked at the cover, I could see why she made the connection. The title even had ‘Bound’ in it.
Now just so that I’m not all doom and gloom. I thought that I’d share a few examples of some good examples of covers that I think just nailed their stories in various ways.
First of all, since I used the Paranormal and BDSM confusion example, I thought I’d present a cover that smacks of both and is indeed both. When I look at that cover and title combo, I am not left wondering what I’m going to get when I crack open that book and start reading. Joey W. Hill’s The Vampire Queen’s Servant
And what do you think about Victoria Vane’s Treacherous Temptations? Title may be vague, but the picture? Steamy Historical Romance- Bingo!
Karen Chance’s Midnight’s Daughter–
When you look at the gal on that cover, the coloring and backdrop, you know you’re getting a kick-butt heroine adventure story and the title hints that you might be looking at a PNR or UF.
How ‘bout it? Have you had any covers trick you? Any covers just strike you as a perfect fit for their stories?
Thanks Sophia Rose!
This is Shari now, and I have a few things about covers to say as well. There is a certain author who I will not name and the book that make a mockery of romance, but especially erotic romance that has ruined covers forever! I pox upon her I say!
Covers were the one thing I adore. I am vain enough to say that I don’t pick up books because the cover bores me, but because something really grabbed me. There are thousands of books I want to read, so I have to use something besides price to help me narrow down the field some. So book covers, prices and authors are the determining factor to my impulse buying.
Recently one of my favorite authors, Maya Banks, started a series that has covers I want to burn. Yes, burn. Rush has a splash of water to simulate the word Rush. Well, if I wasn’t a fan of Maya Banks, this book would have been left on the shelf and one less sale in her pocketbook. The next book in the series is called Fever and the cover is a little less easier to understand. I am thinking it is ice melting. But again, it doesn’t tell me anything about the story. The third book is called Burn and has flames across the cover. Where are the hot men, the gorgeous women? The passion that burns the cover up just being printed. Then to top it off Ms. Banks changed the covers on the Sweet series to pictures of fruit. Peach, strawberry, cherries, grapes, pear and some other fruit I don’t recognize. Give me the old covers back!
I never read the book trilogy that must not be named, but I hold it responsible for taking away the covers I adore.
Next up is covers that cut off the heads of the men and women. I just don’t get it. Is the model so unattractive, the cover Gods chopped his head off? While this trend doesn’t turn me away, I do from time to time skip over it to one that has a hotter face looking at me with passion…a passion to pick him up and read.
The final piece that sometimes gets to me…royalty free photographs.Several covers look alike, because they all bought the same photograph. I can’t blame them. Photos are expensive, but when you see the same couple over and over on a cover you start to confuse just which book you read. There has been once I didn’t buy a book because I thought I had read it…because it had a similar cover…no same cover as another book I had bought. I would just ask authors to think if they have already seen that cover when they buy a photo. I don’t knock that they have to buy affordable pictures for covers, just not the same one twelve other authors used as well.
So what makes an instant buy for you? What qualities do you look for on your covers? On the flip side, what bothers you about the covers on your romance books today?