Several weeks ago, I visited a blog about covers. The guest blogger, Shauna Aura Knight, is a cover artist and she’s got some fascinating paranormal covers under her belt. (Click on her artwork to visit her website.) She also offered the readers of that blog an analysis of any cover that they had. Well, heck I have a ton of them so… I emailed her and asked because I’m considering making some changes to my covers which includes messing with an established brand. I was also kind enough to offer a GC if she would do all my covers. (She did offer to do a single cover for blog readers and I have more than one. Never ask anyone in this industry for more and expect free! Time is money to all of us.)
Well, I heard back from her the other night.
She confirmed all my suspicions and once again, I heard not to muck with my branding. (My River Skylines – I wanted to drop that. What started as a good idea feels like a nightmare as I try to work around that irregular geometric black space. I’m stuck with it, but she did make some suggestions as to how I could use it differently – if I wanted.) The other thing she suggested is that I change the look on all of them at once. Never thought about doing it that way but it does make sense.
She’s left me with plenty to consider and gave me some new ways of approaching cover changes. I’m very thankful that I had her do that. For anyone who is indie, if you ever see her name crop up on a blog or whatever check her out. She does stick to the paranormal and metaphysical stuff. She’s really not into my genre of books. Hey, that’s fine. There’s chocolate, vanilla, and chunky monkey. I’m more classic vanilla with a hint of cardamon and nutmeg.
I’m always open to new ideas and better ways to express myself through covers, etc. So if I catch a guest blogger on a subject that interests me, I always stop to read it. There’s so much to this business that goes beyond just writing that it’s often overwhelming, but the more we know the better we are prepared for whatever comes our way. Even if you aren’t doing your own covers, it makes sense to know the elements of a good cover.
Creating covers can be a real PITA! Often finding cover stock that works is the hardest part. One of the things that Shauna emailed me about was essence or evoking the emotion of the story into the cover. That is probably where I have failed with my own covers.
One of the covers that really stood out with her was my cover for Wanting. It’s where I started with my River City books and it’s still my favorite. That bold black, white, and red design is in terms of art, is clean, crisp and eye grabbing, but there’s nothing about it that says romance or even conveys the story. There’s no emotion. Some of that is my own fault because I am attracted to icon (single image) covers.
Another favorite of mine is A Skeleton at Her Door. I’ve heard a few times that it doesn’t look like a romance and that it looks like a child’s story. It’s not a child’s story – it’s a sexy romance. So another adorable cover that just isn’t working for me.
At the moment, I have control over 18 of my covers. All of them seem to be just not quite hitting the mark because of the lack of emotion in each one. And just as the genres have made major strides in the last thirty years, covers have changed too. I need more depth on my covers, more depth to my skyline and more in my fonts. I also need more contrast on a few.
Yes, it’s a lot to change. But change can be a good thing.
Winter is a time for things to happen underground. Even though the landscape seems almost barren during winter, plants including trees, are busy underground. It’s slower but an important time for them. Part of them is resting but things are still happening, much like my own writing. My shift this winter will be slightly different, and come spring when everything buds and bursts into bloom, I think you’ll be seeing several new books from me and new covers on everything.