Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Cover Story: Why so many changes?



Book covers are like clothing, they go out of style. They are subjective. What one person likes, another hates.  What is popular in one year fades in the next. Or one decade to the next. 

This one is from 1982


                                             This cover  is from 2012

Book cover ideas change with time, just like fashions.   Recently, you may have noticed I have updated my covers on two novels in my series.  There are many reasons for this.  The most popular one is, as a writer, my tastes change.  Just as I am a writer who likes a certain book cover in one season over another cover, as a romance reader, I have certain likes and dislikes.  


My writing, for the most part, is historical romance. It's about two people in a place in history who are attracted to one another, but are unable to have a full meeting of the minds (hearts) for what ever reason.  As a historical romance author, I try to keep up on trends, and yes, I do browse the covers on the online bookstore to see what is popular, what is good, bad or ugly. Its subjective, based on a person's tastes.  Not everyone likes covers plastered with shirtless men with overdeveloped biceps. Yes, they do sell romance books, but so do images of couples embracing, with or without clothing, and images of women in fancy dresses and wistful faces. 



Romance is an affair of the heart. It's two people in a relationship, or trying to have a relationship. So, as my newest book in the Reluctant Heroes Series is getting ready for a fall release, I have had to re-evaluate the covers on the two previous books, and make certain there is a continuity in the series. I have had covers with a couple, and covers with just a solitary person. Seems my covers with a couple on the front sells best, so I have decided to return to that format.








 The many faces of Dark Hero, my first novel.



Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen's Hero

In history, it has been said that the clothes make the man. Yes, a well dressed dandy or rake will bring a certain visceral reaction to a woman's heart, whether it's in this generation of bikers with leather jackets vs. a handsome man in formal tails--or a man in a pirate costume or formal court suit of the regency era. 

Two covers on same book, but they give different impressions:    
Irish Romp
Irish Mystery?

  As historical romance readers, we love the dresses, the suits, the frock coats and cloaks that our characters wear, it's part of the appeal of the historical, or costume drama. A woman in a long flowing gown is irrestistable. A man whether bare chested with a sly smirk, like the first cover above with Kieran O'Flaherty in Bright Scoundrel, is appealing. And so is a man wielding a sword, ready to do battle for the woman he loves. All these images speak of romance. As an Indie Author, I have to choose my own covers. It's tough, as you often want the characters on the cover to convey not only the era and mood of the book, but also the correct likeness of the hero and heroine. Not always possible to get every detail right, not with a historical. So, I've tried different recipes and different designers.  I have loved my covers thus far. 


But, as I am releasing a third in the series, I wanted the three books to have the same design and basic branding. So, without further ado, here is the unveiling of my newest covers for my trilogy.  I think they are the best of all, as they do have a brand and continuity, and they do speak of the overwhelming power of romance in our lives. It takes two, baby . . .a couple . . . to make a romance. . . . 


The great unveiling, new covers to make ready for the coming debut of book three .......

Books  1, 2 and 3 Reluctant Heroes         

So, there you have it, the trio of books that are part of the Reluctant Heroes Series.  A trio, and so I wanted the covers to have an appeal and a brand. Keeping with the times, and changing the images to appeal to reader tastes.  I love my first cover. My son, a graphic designer made it for me.  It was an attempt to convey romance and a gothic undertone.  

Created by J.D. Stuttgen Designs

                                                      My first book cover

Many people loved the murky shadowed background with the trees. Particularly in print form it does look very stunning.  This is a gothic romance, so the theme fits.  However, an equal amount of people did not like the shirtless hero.  So, we're updating the product cover again, to convey the theme of historical romance. 

 As an Indie Author, it is possible to change a cover on a book without having to wait for a decision from a board of editors and art directors in New York to get things rolling.  J.A. Konrath has said that he changes his covers regularly to keep up with changes in taste, and also to just put the best product out there, cover included.  As we progress in our careers as Indie Authors, we hopefully are getting better at choosing a cover designer and a concept for a cover.  At least we're proud of our products and attempt to refine them for reader's enjoyment.  

 Thanks for being here, gentle readers!  And fellow authors, too. I will continue to refine my work and put out the best possible product for readers to enjoy. 

 Lily Silver 

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