Writer’s Journal: Making Covers, Part 2

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Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!

The most important part of a good cover is, in my opinion, the image. It’s what draws a reader’s eye. The image a writer uses on his or her cover should match the genre in which he or she writes. If it doesn’t, a reader might reject the book, thinking it is not going to tell a story the reader is interested in. I know what you’re thinking. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. This is true, but … it happens in bookstores every day. 🙂

Here’s an example: I prefer to read Regency romance. I read other romance sub-genres, but Regency is my favorite. If you go to Amazon or any other bookseller and look at the covers of Regency Romances, you’re going to see a lot of ladies in colorful gowns. Sometimes, she’s paired with a bare-chested man (sadly, none of those bare chests have hair; they don’t keep my interest for long 😉 ) and sometimes, her dress is falling off. However, she has a dress on that is reasonably close to a Regency-era gown. The ones that catch my eye are the purple ones, because that’s my favorite color. For someone else, it might be the ladies in the blue dresses, or the yellow ones, and for some, as long as that girl has a dress on, that reader is going to check the book out.

If you go to Amazon’s Kindle Store and look up Urban Fantasy, you see a bunch of covers that are colorful. Just about every one of them has one or more people, and the people look like paintings (for lack of a better word.) Most have the person or people doing something: holding orbs or a sword or something. If you are a reader of urban fantasy, you’re going to know just by looking which books you want to check out further, and which look like they don’t belong.

My own covers, as I’ve said before, are probably done all wrong. I’ve so far not gathered enough courage to ask for expert opinions, though I know of a Facebook group I could join to do that. I figure I’ll wait until it’s warmer out and I’m more sure of being able to handle the criticism. 🙂

My Regencies all have an image that is the shape of a heart made of something or other (feathers, flowers, etc.) with an empty center. My background is white, and my name is always purple and in a specific font. My titles are all in a specific font, but the color changes to match the heart.

My two contemporary books, my Pride & Prejudice & Racecars books, have that same white background, but they have a guy in a firesuit and carrying a helmet on them. On each book, there is an image of a different track, but they’re not real race tracks. They’re computer generated images that I purchased. My name is still at the bottom, in a white strip, in the same font and purple color as I use for my Regencies. The titles of the books are in the same font as my Regencies and have a color to match the image. I used the same guy for the first two books, because he’s at the center of both stories.

The cover for the Western that I hope to release this week is designed similarly to the contemporaries. I have an image of the town in the background, and a cowboy in front of it. The title is in the same font as always, in a matching color to the background image, and my name is in the same font as always and in purple.

But wait, you say. Go back and look at your first paragraph. Do all JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) covers look like yours? Nope, they don’t. There’s a huge variety of covers in my genre. Some people use Amazon’s Kindle cover thing to do their covers. Some people hire professionals. Some people use flowers on their covers. Lots of folks have people on theirs. Some folks use art from the Regency or Victorian eras. My first book, its sequel, and the bundle of the two that I put out last summer have images that came from a greeting card or something from long ago. The Victorian era, I think. And, my second book, the only all-purple cover I have, has an image of a pot laying on its side with lavender spilling out. (It was after my third book that I began doing my own covers.)

Does this variety mean that I can just slap whatever on my book and know it will sell? Absolutely not. There are books that I pass over even in my genre, because the covers do not attract my attention. I’m sure there are other JAFF readers who do the same, though admittedly, JAFF readers tend to be voracious and not care as much about what’s on the front of the book. 🙂

So, next time you go to buy a book, pay attention to the covers you’re drawn to and the ones that repel you. You might be surprised at what you discover. 🙂

Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! ❤

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