Cover Conundrum

prodigal cowboy  If you’ve been reading my books and/or my RWTTD post, you know by now that I’m a cowboy fan.  TV cowboys were my first love—second to Daddy, of course—and when I found my true love, he was wearing a cowboy hat.  I’m pretty fussy about my cover cowboys.  I don’t want them to come from the drug store or a street corner in Manhattan.

I’m pretty darn pleased with Ethan Wolf Track from THE PRODIGAL COWBOY (September Special Edition, available for pre-order).  He’s dressed properly—except that’s supposed to be a battered straw hat—and even though you can’t tell he’s part Indian, well, that’s okay.  He isn’t sure who his birth father’s people are.  He identifies with Logan Wolf Track, the man who raised him, even though they’ve been keeping their distance of late.  The cover scene is basically the one I asked for from the book.  The landscape in the background is correct.  But wait a minute.  Is that a pickup?  Look at it closely and tell me—does it look like he’s leaning against a pickup?  It’s too small, right?  And it’s supposed to be blue.   But it’s the right scene, and I’m glad of that.  Here’s the image I sent as a suggestion:


So today I have to do the AFS (art fact sheet) for my next Special Edition, and clearly, it’s not my favorite part of my job.  I know story telling.  I do not know story selling.  I do think the hero cover is a good representation for my books, but I’m so committed to the details of the story that I can’t see the forest for the tree.  One tree.  At first glance I love it.  Then I start picking apart the details.  I forget that the reader is shopping for a book she hasn’t read yet, and what counts is the first glance.

I collect cowboy images just for this purpose—suggesting a “look” just because I have to—so please help me do this AFS today.  Tell me which basic look you’d buy:

cowboy3 cowboy6
cowboy7 cowboy-abs4

About Kathleen Eagle

Kathleen Eagle is the award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of over forty novels.
This entry was posted in book cover, Cowboys, Harlequin Special Edition, The Prodigal Cowboy, Kathleen Eagle, Western Romance. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Cover Conundrum

  1. michelehauf says:

    Well, I admit I was blinded by the abs on the lower right pic so picked that one as my first choice. But with more consideration, I really like the upper right guy leaning on the fence. So contemplative, and he could be thinking so many different things. But then that first one seems to intimate with the horse and it’s kind of touching.
    I know, not much help, eh? Those AFS can be confusing and frustrating to fill out.

  2. loisgreiman says:

    You had me at ‘cowboy’ K. 🙂 I like the guy in the chaps….not a working cowboy obviously, but rodeo cowboys are cool too. The guys with no shirts…while…granted…are hot…make me wonder why they’re shirtless if they’re working horses. And the guy with a saddle and no horse worries me…what happened to his mount???? But maybe I’m looking at it from my own convoluted angle.

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    I’m with the guy with the saddle and no horse. Or I’d like to be (well, have been–I’m way old). I know the shirtless guys are hot, but I don’t like shaven–I’d rather have one who works all day and is still loving and has time to read to the kids before bed. Like the one with the saddle. (Lois just thought her angle was convoluted. ) Oh, and I’m with you on AFS, too.

  4. Trish Jensen says:

    I’ll take the cowboy with the horse and the abs, thanks. Not for your cover, I’ll just take him.

  5. Kristina Mathews says:

    I like your cover, and I wouldn’t have noticed he was leaning against a convertable and not a pickup. I’ve always had a thing for a man in a denim work shirt, sleeves rolled partway up. The shirtless ones don’t do too much for me. Epecially the hairless ones. I find it interesting that most shirless cover models are well-waxed, but between the pages, there is always a little bit of manly chest hair for the heroine to nuzzle up with.

  6. The one walking through the field carrying his saddle. He obviously has stamina, I mean endurance, er strength.

  7. Hmm, chest hair. The thing is, American Indian men don’t have it. They don’t have much facial hair, either. But I’m with most of you on the chest waxing thing. Real men go with what God gave ’em, in my opinion. Remember the scene in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”? Soooo funny. And he ends up with the peeled strips. Hilarious.

  8. Rosemary K. says:

    All the cowboy pictures are great but I like the cowboy leaning on the fence. It is very appealing and would make me pick up the book and check it out.

  9. Nicole says:

    I would pick a book with a horse on the cover but I feel like the guy on the last photo looks more like a guy who spend is day at the gym than a cowboy. I like the color scheme on the guy with the saddle on is shoulder and the fact that it look like a drawing.
    I am looking forward to read your new book.

  10. Stephenia says:

    I like the shirtless guy on the top row with the horse – I like NOT being able to see his whole face and his arms are yummy.

  11. leannebanks says:

    1, 2 or 3 for me! Yummy to all!:) Nice break for my busy Friday.:)

  12. I’d rule out the shirtless cowboys. Never saw a cowboy without a shirt back when I spent summer in cattle country. If the cowboy in your story rides rodeo, I’d go with the on on the upper left. Looking forward to reading both of these.

  13. Interesting. You guys know your cowboys. Shirtlessness doesn’t fly. Long sleeves used to be required for rodeo cowboys–probably still the rule. I like the guy carrying the saddle, too!

  14. MaryC says:

    Like them all, but what’s most important to me is the author.

  15. I love the cowboy bending over the bucking chute! I’d read that book in a heart beat..

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