We’ve all done it, walked down the aisles of a book store in a desperate search for just the right thing to read. In the mood for something different, a new author to try. So we reach out and grab…
Wait. Stop right there. Why are you grabbing that book?
Most likely because of the cover. Which happens to be a bit of a sore point for me right now because my debut release, BLINK OF AN EYE, has been delayed because of problems with the cover. That’s right, not a single word in the book has changed, but since what’s on the cover can make or break a new author, BLINK is on hold.
As much as I was anticipating BLINK’s release (and those who know me were anxiously awaiting it so that I could shut up about it already, LOL!) I see this as an opportunity. A chance to get a really smashing, eye-grabbing, you must buy this book or die! cover.
But, hmmm….what to put on the new cover? One thing my editor did ask was that I send her a new head shot. The one they’d previously chosen made me look “too kind”. Kind is bad? I asked. For an author who writes dark, edgy suspense it is, she answered. That’s what we want, a picture of you that’s dark and edgy. After all, all your books are about how no one’s immune to danger.
Oooookay, I sigh. Despite the fact that having my photo taken ranks up there with root canal in my list of things to avoid, I sign up to have another photo taken by a professional. Although by then, I’ll probably be so dark and edgy after waiting for BLINK to be released, that I might pose with a scalpel pressed to my throat or clenched between my teeth!
BLINK has been blessed with fantastic cover quotes (Sandra Brown, Heather Graham, Susan Wiggs, and more). The short synopsis of the book on the back cover and inside flap were good, catchy and compelling without revealing too much of the plot. The main problem was the actual cover art—the one thing on the cover totally out of my control, of course.
So what makes for a good cover?
For a look at some fantastic ones, check out our own PASIC finalists in the Houston Bay Area RWA’s cover art contest. Now those are some eye-grabbing works of art!!
As for what I want, I told my editor the only things I was opposed to were a woman running away or an image of a woman being victimized. Isn’t anyone else out there sick to death of frightened women racing down dark alleys, the shadow of a menacing man following them? The women in my novels are strong, smart and stand their ground, a fact that can get them into trouble, but that’s another story. And I’ve worked with far too many real-life victims to have that kind of image broadcast on my book covers.
But how do you make a cover strong, smart, sexy, appealing and able to sell an unknown author? What kind of images grab you? Make you want to plunk down $25 of your hard earned cash and take a gamble on a new author?
Anyone with the answers, please share them! And who knows, your ideas might end up helping to create a new cover for BLINK OF AN EYE!
Thanks for reading!