However, when I was writing more in the single title romance arena, the publishers dabbled with various kinds of looks. I had a lot of flower covers, a lot of blue covers and then there was the disaster on the right. ALMOST HOME is a book set in Kentucky at the time of the Kentucky Derby. It's about a thoroughbred horse ranch and blood lines and people searching for who they really are. When Avon told me they were going to give me a "horse" cover I imagined a beautiful, inspiring thoroughbred against a moonlit sky (or something like that). As you can see I got a cross between the cartoon cover look that was just beginning to boom and well ... I'm not exactly sure what the rest of it was supposed to be ... the flowers I had before?
This cover was so bad that several major book buying accounts actually suggested it should be changed and there were plans to do so ... but then Avon got bought by Harper and there were all kinds of changes and in the midst of it all, my cover was published. Some authors would like to think that a bad cover isn't that bad ... I have to tell you that it can be ... My #'s dropped with this cover considerably. I don't think the readers knew what kind of book it was or just thought it was so ugly they didn't pick it up. Thankfully, after that Avon went back to the pretty flowers, etc.
However, "pretty" can be another problem. A friend of mine writes historicals and her covers are gorgeous, and are often some knock off of a beautiful painting, but it seems that they're almost too "pretty" or too "quiet" for the market. The book buyers seem to gravitate toward covers that hit them over the head in some way.
So I'm wondering what drives you to pick up a cover? Are there certain colors or looks that you automatically pick up? For instance do single bare-chested men attract you more than a pair of dangling female legs and sexy high heels? Or vice versa? Do you like sweeping landscape looks or Adirondack chairs at the end of a pier? (Does anyone remember when those were big?) Do you like the clinch cover? Do you feel like you know exactly what you're getting? And is that the ultimate question -- does the book have to deliver exactly the kind of story promised by the cover? Do you ever go back to check if the hero's hair color was right? God forbid the hero has red hair -- in my experience you'll rarely find a red-haired hero on the cover So, what do you think? Are there any book covers that stand out in your mind (besides Christina Dodd's three armed heroine - does anyone remember that?)