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.
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