Whether the format is digital, print, or both, a potential reader’s first impression of a book is the cover. Readers realize this. Authors gnash teeth and lose sleep over it. However, publishers and art departments, don’t seem to put too much emphasis on it – or so it often seems.
Writers have very strong visions of their characters’ appearances. They live with these faces in their heads for months, sometimes years and when the cover art doesn’t match that image, it can be disappointing, or dare I say downright devastating. Many readers don’t realize most authors have zero control over the cover art.
A cover that doesn’t make a good impression can hurt a book’s sales, especially if the author is mid list or is one who hasn’t yet cultivated a fanbase.
Many authors have been very successful in obtaining their rights to previously published works and rereleasing them with fresh titles and covers. Independent publishing affords the author far more control over the packaging of their product.
My young adult romance, Eternal was first released with a very small press under the title Haunted. The blue-washed cover the publisher provided revealed very little about the story and the cover artist did not capture my grand, colonnaded Middle Tennessee antebellum setting or my teen heroine at all. The book sold very few copies so I requested a rights reversion, changed the title, hired a premier cover artist, Tricia Pickyme Schmitt, and rereleased the work. The gorgeous cover alone generated more interest in the book (and sales) in its first week out than the old art did in two years.
Since I mainly write historical romances, I am always on pins and needles, anticipating what the cover art department at one of my publishers will provide.
While lovely, my most recent cover for Scarlet Belles, a two-book, historical anthology, fell short of my expectations. Historical readers want to see the costumes, the settings – the elements that sweep readers back in time to another era.
And this is the print collection cover for Scarlet Belles which contains both stories. Pretty? Yes. Does it reveal anything about the historical romance content within? Or the raven haired heroines? Not a damn thing.
Contest time! Win a copy of Eternal in your choice of print or digital format by leaving a comment.
Have you ever passed up a book because of a less than stellar cover? Are you irritated when then cover doesn’t match a book’s content? Or could you not care less about the cover when the book is good or the author is on your auto-buy list?
*One commenter will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of my young adult paranormal romance, Eternal, in their preferred format.