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Monday, January 16, 2012

Discussion on Covers, Continued...


Last week, I wrote a post about Revising a Cover. Romantic Suspense author, Tess St. John and I got into a discussion through the comments--until the Blogger comments barfed on me. We continued the talk by e-mail, and she gave me permission to repost some of her thoughts.

Tess: You can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself!

Suzan: It's not necessarily a question of pleasing people. There's someone of mutual acquaintance who HATES the cover of Zombie Love, but it's my most effective one. On the other hand, I don't want to confuse the readers about which books are part of the same series.

Tess: Well, I never thought I would put pictures on my books, because honestly I don't like pictures of people on books (I want the image I imagine), but I did my research and found that most readers do like pictures of people on the covers...not that it's necessarily helped my readership, but I have gotten compliments.

Suzan: But you write romantic suspense and historical romance. I think your target audience, which is largely women, expect people on the cover to feel a connection. On the other hand, I write urban fantasy. If I put anything remotely similar to the proverbial "clinch" on the cover, I'll chase away the male portion of my audience. The only reason I brought up the need for consistency was because I had confused a reader with the disimilarity between the covers of Blood Magick and Zombie Love.

Tess: I know what you mean...trying to have a similar look with the books for the same series is a good idea essential. But I LOVE the cover for ZOMBIE LOVE. I didn't get it until I read the book (it's supposed to be her nanites, right?)

Suzan: LOL Yeah, that was the intent. It surprises me how many people don't recognize the bio-hazard symbol. I mean, it's in your doctor's office for cryin' out loud! But mainly I used it because so many zombie stories start with a virus out of control, like World War Z or Zombieland. Even the game Halo uses it, even though their zombies are caused by an alien lifeform. If someone gets the contrast between a neon green bio-hazard sign and a hot pink Cupid, then they'll probably get my writing.  (I think.)

Tess: For what it's worth, the people who say your writing sucks big hairy balls have no idea what they're talking about!

Suzan: LOL Most of those folks aren't my target audience anyway. What can I say? I provoke very strong reactions in people.

Tess: Your writing is funny and fresh (the ideas and concepts). The strong reactions means you have a strong voice (at least that's what I'm told because I have many with the same reactions). I'll take a strong definable voice any day! And it's the readers who like your stuff that you're trying to keep! Can't dwell on the others!

Suzan: Damn, girl. Now you're making me blush, but thanks for the compliments.

9 comments:

  1. You blush??? Now there's an accomplishment! Loved how you wove this thread! And I still love the cover of ZL...and you note on the cover that they're both A Bloodlines Novel...seems like enough to me.

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    1. Okay, I finally had to log through Firefox to post a reply. Looks like Google did some updating to Blogger comments that's kiboshing IE.

      Yes, I blush. And Nina Cordoba's books make me cry. Gotta a problem with that? *grin*

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  2. I had many people tell me they didn't like the first cover I chose (and created myself) for the Contemporary Romance Novel I'd written. They wanted a face on it. But you know what, there was a personal connection for me with that picture. It was the thing that sparked the entire series. I changed my book cover to please everyone and still it wasn't good enough. I knew I wanted to produce a series from this thought I'd had several years ago. I knew what each cover would essentially look like. And now that I'm finishing the last book, I finally realized that I should go with my gut instinct on my covers. I think it turned out well. Maybe I would sell a lot more downloads if I had some hunky guy wrapped around a half-naked Southern Belle. But that's not what my books are about. So, I say...do what you want. Just like Tess said, as long as you have the wording on the cover (very visible) that it is part of a series, you're good.

    I'm reading Dean Koontz's "Frankenstein" books. All 5 of them. I purchased the first three at a Book Warehouse in Pigeon Forge, TN. The first two covers are alike except different in color. The last three are totally of a different design. Did that stop me from reading any of them? Hell no! It was what was inside those covers that kept me interested.

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    1. People didn't like you cover? I loved it! Thought it was very reflective of your style.

      I don't mind the half-naked people if they're reflective of the characters. But when every freakin' cover has a naked male torso (and this happened to a friend when her novel was set in Victorian London), they all start to run together.

      Unfortunately, the cover is usually the first thing that catches a potential reader so I do care. It's just that I want to make my different enough to make 'em curious, but not so different as to alienate a reader.

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  3. Savannah, I used to be a huge Koontz fan (still am, just haven't read one of his books in years)...I haven't read that series, though. I'm off to have a look.

    And I agree with the half naked people covers. They're not my thing, although they are very popular or at least the publishing industry has made them popular.

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  4. I believe what happened was Koontz wrote the first two books with another author. The last three he wrote himself. The covers were redesigned after he branched out on his own.

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    1. Since you two brought up Koontz and his different covers, let me ask:

      1) Do different styles of covers in a series drive you crazy?

      2) How do you feel when an old favorite is issued with a new cover?

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  5. Suzan...I don't mind covers in a series being different. Like I said earlier--it's what's between the cover that matters to me. Sometimes it does drive me a little crazy when a book is published with a new cover. I do tend to associate a book with its cover. But still, it really doesn't matter to me.

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  6. I agree with Savannah...I really don't care what's on the cover, even for a series!

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