What kind of book covers to do you like? What makes you pick up one book but leave another on the shelf? Do you like couples on the covers? How about children and animals? And then there are cowboys and outlaws and warriors . . . oh my! I can spend hours looking at books, sizing up the covers and reading the blurbs.
I’m thinking about this topic because the cover for Marrying the Major is up at www.christianbook.com. This is my October 2011 Love Inspired Historical, and my thirteenth book. You’d think I’d be used to the “cover” moment, but it’s always exciting. It goes like this: I’ll see the email from the Harlequin Art Department, tingle with anticipation and download an attachment that’s going to give readers the first impression of the book.
My first reactions are all over the road. Sometimes I love the cover and I think, “Yes! That’s my hero!” Or “The heroine’s perfect!” Other times it’s like looking at an alien creature with extra arms and legs. Not good or bad, necessarily. Just not what I was expecting.
I’ve had some great covers, including the one for my first book. In 2003, it won the RWA Artemis Award for best cover in the historical category. Of Men and Angels is still one of my favorites. It even impressed my teenage sons. I’m sure they were expecting a romance cliché or a clinch, but instead I got a leg. A thigh to be precise.
At RWA in Orlando I asked an editor from a Christian publishing house how they felt about bad boys and hero-driven stories. I’d noticed the majority of their covers featured the heroine. She laughed and said they love strong heroes, but they put the heroine on the cover because it sells books. “The bigger the dress, the higher the sales,” she said with a smile. Cover styles change and I’ve noticed more variety, but there are a lot of pretty dresses on covers for inspirational romance.
I tend to write hero driven stories, so I’ve gotten a lot of men on the covers. My favorite hero cover is Abbie’s Outlaw. I also got a hero cover for The Maverick Preacher. The cover for Midnight Marriage has a fun history. The guy on the cover won a Mr. Romance contest sponsored by Harlequin in 2005. In real life, he was a charter boat captain in Alaska.
Then we get to the bad covers . . . I’ve never had anything truly awful. I’ve been very fortunate, but I do have some pet peeves. Kids on covers? It usually doesn’t work for me, though the cover for Wyoming Lawman charmed readers. I’ve heard that kids on covers have a lot of appeal. I’m not a fan of old style clinch covers, though they served a purpose. When the romance genre arrived on the scene, a clinch cover made it very clear that the book was a love story.
I like animals on covers. That might be why The Outlaw’s Return is a personal favorite.
So what about you? What do you like? Dislike? And do you have any favorites? The “Texan” anthologies by my fellow Fillies Linda Broday and Phyliss Miranda are awesome!