Book covers. The only thing that excites a writer more than a great book cover with her name on it is a bigger-than-expected royalty check with her name on it. I had half a mind to buy my first cover painting until I found out that for one-time use the artist had been paid as much as my first advance, but be would only charge me half that for the painting itself since it was my first book.
It was a beautiful cover, but not something you’d hang in your living room, and I couldn’t afford to be that sentimental. So I framed a cover proof and hung it in my office. Did that with the first half dozen or so covers, which are now stored away somewhere. But a great book cover with my name on it is still a sight for sore, computer-strained eyes. It’s the face of my baby.
Nowadays cover art is mostly constructed on a computer using photographs and digital magic. It was so much fun this week to see how the pieces of Michele Hauf’s new book cover came together. The idea is to come up with a recognizable “look” for an author and then find ways to give each individual book its own eye-catching identity. The cover should reflect the author’s “brand” and the book’s content. With a series line like Silhouette—now Harlequin—Special Edition, the line itself is the brand, even though individual authors might will have a look, maybe even the same cover artist from book to book.
For years in single title I was a writer in search of a “look.”
This is how it’s done. The Bell Bridge Books team has put together a look that works for me. Each book cover stands alone, but my identity shows at a glance. BBB pays for the use of photographs, and the other day I happened upon a book that sports the same photo as one of mine. It took me aback, sort of like mistaking someone else at first glance for one of my kids. But then you realize it’s not your kid—your kid is much better looking—and you realize that it’s not for nothing that we all have names. Our styles and our stories are different, and readers will make the effort to find the ones they like.
Here’s a chuckle for today—a fun Buzzfeed display of “19 Book Cover Clichés.”
Speaking of books and their sequels—okay, I wasn’t, but I will—two of the books pictured in the foursome are connected by blood. THE LAST GOOD MAN is rancher Clay Keogh, whose older half-brother, Kole Kills Crow is an outlaw in some circles, but others say he’s a hero. Get YOU NEVER CAN TELL—featured through August in the Amazon Monthly Deal for $1.99—and decide for yourself.
And since YOU NEVER CAN TELL is on sale, I’ll send one of today’s randomly chosen commenting visitors an e-book download of its prequel, THE LAST GOOD MAN. Ask me anything. Tell us what you’re sick of seeing in book covers. Tell us what catches your eye. (I know, I know. We ask that every other week. We’re so insecure about our looks!) Tell us how you sort through the masses of books for sale online to find a good read.