by Jude Mason
Having been around for a little while, I've had an amazing assortment of covers. Some work, some...not so much. I realize that not all artists are gifted equally, the same as authors, teachers, painters,welders, anyone. But, there are some covers that really would be better off left... anywhere but on the cover of a book.
My first novel, Who Races-Who Wins, was published a good number of years ago, and as I was never consulted about the cover art, I truly was aghast when I got this first one. The publisher, who I won't name, chose this cover for me herself. Now, this was a fetish book, but the cover didn't convey the fetish properly, and to be really honest, I couldn't figure out what it even was for the longest time. I also cried when I saw it. This was my first venture into the real world of publishing and I had such high hopes for this book. The genre was femdom, the fetish: pony boys. Okay, so the woman had a bit in her mouth, but for crying out loud, it wasn't supposed to be her, it was supposed to be the guy. I was told hunky men on covers didn't sell. "Say what?" I was flabbergasted.
I did a little ranting, a little crying, some begging and was finally give the cover you see to the left. It was closer, sort of. Okay, so it wasn't really. Still had the woman in the rigging, no man in sight and it just didn't fit the content.
I got email about it. Nasty email saying the cover was misleading. Hell, I agreed. I'd asked if I could find some artwork for it, or have someone design a cover for me... anything for the right cover! Nope, this was it. So, I was literally stuck with the wrong cover. The contract was binding and I lived with this for several years.
It was a learning experience and one I haven't repeated.
I do realize many authors don't get to chose their covers. I completely understand that cover artists are busy and there's only so much they have time to do. But, I also realize it's up to me to do all I can to get my books out there looking the very best they can be. These are MY BOOKS.
Since then, I've had some amazing covers, created by some of the finest cover artists there are. In my opinion, anyway. There is a gift to designing a cover. The picture has to tell its own story. It has to draw the reader to it. After all, it's the first thing a buyer sees. If they dislike the cover, they're likely going to find something more attractive, more along the lines of what they're looking for. Yes? Well, sure they are.
Now, check out this next cover. What would you think the content of the book is about? Spanking, definitely. Spanking a man... well Hell yeah! He's gorgeous... and again, those are my hand prints, got it? He likely doesn't look like all the men in the book, but he doesn't have to. He's fit, he's facing the right way and there are hand prints where they need to be.
The rest, well you'll have to open the book to find out. Oh yeah, there are authors names to check out. If you recognize any of them, that's awesome. The editors name is there too, strategically place right under his bum... cheeky Keta. But, it's the man you're looking at that's interesting. And it's what the book is all about, so this is an awesome book put out by Nobel Romance. Other covers! Oh yeah, lots of them.
Let's check out the series Jenna mentioned yesterday. She and I put together a quartet of books based on Bon Jovi's 'Slippery When Wet' Album. (You gotta love that as a title for an erotic series!) She wrote two books and I wrote two. The covers were designed by Phaze's, Michelle Lee and I think she did an amazing job.
Now, I'm prejudice, I know it, but aren't these covers cool. The handcuffs mean something and by the look of who he's being cuffed, it's not for play. This is 'your arrested and going to jail' handcuffing. The shower scenes, well when you read the books you'll get the full meaning of them, but even before you do, you understand that something is going to happen to four men in the shower, in prison. At least that's what I got from them, and that's what Jenna and I planned.
Each cover gives a peek into what the book is about. That's what they're meant to do. When they hit the mark, as the one to the left does, it's an amazing thing. You know this is going to be about animals and a sexy man or two. You know it's going to be hot, just looking at the guy and you know there are going to be cougars, at least, in the book. All of that is correct.
Also, from looking at the background, you can guess the stories are going to take place outside, in the wilderness. Yup, they do and all that comes from a quick look at the cover. Pretty damn cool, don'tcha think? Jenna and I were gobsmacked when we got this one... in a very good way.
Thank you, Total E-Bound cover artist April Martinez. She's an amazing artist and has done several of my covers.
Now, if the cover misses the mark, readers feel cheated, at least that's what I've been told by several. The covers entice them to pick the book up. If the cover is a lie, as the first book of mine was, it's cheating the reader into buying something they're not looking for.
I've been incredibly lucky with my publishers now and the cover artists I've worked with. I try to give them credit when I receive a new cover and I'd love for you to check mine out. Here's
a link to my cover art gallery.
Sigh, just saying that is huge. I am one very lucky woman. What's your take on covers? Do you think they're important or not? Would you pick up a book with a cover you find distasteful?