#IWSG Day!

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February 1 question – If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I’m a published author with independent small presses. My experiences with cover art are varied. And hindsight being 20/20, I should have done a better job with choosing the first batch of covers. But you learn. My very first cover I loved. It had a snowstorm urban noir feel I was aiming/hoping for. It did not scream romance and sold well–the first couple of months, anyway. No bared torsos or windswept hair. The second book in the series took place in the Caribbean and had an opposite mood. Palm trees bending as the wind for an incoming hurricane and purple and orange clouds blowing across the skyscape. I liked this part, but it’s also where the heads and bare torsos of my two main characters floated. Didn’t sell as well and some reviewers scolded me for taking too long to write it. Ah, well. The third one, yeah, not so much either. A very nice coastal landscape, dark with a lighthouse, but again, the floating couple and bare torsos. As I recall, this began to be viewed negatively in the reading/writing community.

You can probably date the publication year by the trend in covers at the time. I read somewhere readers are getting tired of historical book covers where the heroine has her back to the observer now?

I got the rights to my series back when the press folded and sent the books to another small press for publication. They did a wonderful job on all three covers, and it was easy to say yes to every single one with no regret. No floating heads and torsos. Dark and moody.

For the historical novella, the backdrop of Siena with the two main characters in the foreground, not floating, was an easy pick for me, though for a different publisher. I love the cover of the Renaissance Florence mystery, but it was a different process. This publisher asked me to find some stock photos/images I liked, and we’d work on them together. I found one we were all happy with, and it came out lovely. They folded too, unfortunately.

But speaking of book art in general, I wish there were more illustrations in books now, ala Plain Bad Heroines, though maybe there are, and I’m not finding them. I wish I could draw and make book art, as I’m caught up in making a mood board for #moodpitch and loving it a little too much 😊.


7 thoughts on “#IWSG Day!

  1. “HI read somewhere readers are getting tired of historical book covers where the heroine has her back to the observer now?”

    I wasn’t aware of that, but I can see why that might be happening. That style of cover seems to be pretty common. My theory about trends, whether we’re talking about covers or anything else: as soon as publishers identify a new trend, they start over-saturating the market with that trend, which then causes a backlash against the trend.

    So whenever somebody tells me to do something because it’s the trend, I take that with a grain of salt. I might still do it, but I need more of a reason than just “it’s the trend.”

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  2. It can be hard when you don’t have much control and your publisher doesn’t share your vision for the covers. I’m glad the new ones were something you were happy with. That makes a big difference for sure.

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  3. Thanks for your ideas. I think seeing the ‘back’ of the heroines less ‘busty’ than seeing the ‘fronts’, lol. Well, they were called bodice rippers at one time. 🙂

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