Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Book Covers

One of the things my publisher asked for was for my book cover vision. Some publishing houses don't care what the author thinks. Luckily, mine does.

I had a lot of ideas, of course, but being the researcher that I am, I wanted to find out what, exactly, makes a good book cover. So, I did some research on romance covers.

I found three common themes: Person, couple, scenery.

There are often variations of the above three, like a person with a scenic/story-related backdrop.

I also took a poll, asking what readers prefer: person, couple or scenery. Scenery won. Person and couple tied.

My next step was to evaluate the covers of those top-selling books within the genre. Overwhelmingly, the big-name romance authors had scenic, feminine, and often floral motifs gracing the covers of their books. They also had their oh-so-famous names in giant bold letters, but that's another topic all-together.

Another observation is that, in addition to the themes listed above, romance covers are usually made from a photograph or a painting. Rarely, if ever, cartoon/vector art. With the exception of erotica, although that's not really romance, now is it?

Final step in my task was to do an experimental visual assessment. I scrolled down a long list of tiny icons in's romance section to see what, at barely an inch tall, caught my eye. Was it a person's face? A sexy, embracing couple? Nudity? Flowers?

It was color. Blue's and purple's specifically. These aren't my favorite colors but, for whatever reason, covers with blue/purple made me pause.

Using the above information, I came up with two book cover options for the design artist to toy with. One is scenic with a vibrant light blue sky. The other has a face and scenery, lots of purple. Both look great at 1-3 inches, which is important for online shoppers.
Remember: A cover isn't just a cover; it's an essential marketing tool. Readers may not buy your book based solely on the cover art, but the cover is what will make them pause and pick up/click on your book.


  1. Gee, you're so scientific about this. I had to fill out a 2-pg. form about book cover ideas for TWRP. Whatever they come up with based on my input is it. There are no do-overs. Yikes! Sure hope I expressed myself correctly.

  2. I *was* very scientific about it, lol. I have a tendency to overthink things. I don't know how much of my input Camel will use. From what I've heard, they try to use the author's ideas, but I'm sure they have their limits/own ideas. I sent them a cover I really liked as an example for a layout and some stock photos. And I really, REALLY tried to keep it simple. I guess, Vonnie, we'll both wait and see what they come up with!