Now, I don’t want to throw shade and I don’t want to have shade thrown back at me. I wasn’t saying anything new about those Fifty Shades books. Anyone on Amazon is going to tell you the same. But, probably without cholera references. At least I hope. God forbid I plagiarize someone.
Anyway. I’ve been talking with my graphic designer about my cover for Just For Kicks, and she wanted me to find examples of what I like and examples of what I don’t like. I will happily be a little rah rah cheerleader for good design and only mention the features I don’t like on those other covers.
One of my biggest complaints about romance novel covers are the lack of corresponding details. If you’re writing a Regency piece, don’t put the heroine on your cover in a Badgley Mischka gown. If little details are super mega important to your story, don’t skip it on the cover. And yes, I know, I’m being one of those picky, hard to please assholes, but for the love of Mike, if you make something important in your story, put it on your cover. And I know it’s expensive and I know it’s hard and I know it sucks, but- ugh. Which leads me to my other big complaint, low quality.
It’s the difference between buying a leather jacket from Nordstom versus Walmart. The jacket you get at Walmart is going to have sparkles and patches and doodads and a bunch of shit that is nothing but extra shit. The jacket you get at Nordstrom is just a leather jacket. Maybe some fur lining the collar, but it’s not going to have a bunch of extras to distract you from the deplorable quality of the jacket. That’s what I want for my cover. I don’t want bling and sparkles and the Bedazzler. I want an Italian leather jacket. Clean lines, accessible, holds up to the test of time, a classic.
Here are some of the covers I sent her that I do like. Interesting and grabs your eye, but also gives all the necessary information without being coy.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig. Lovely cover. Interesting, little tidbits of all kinds of things. But clean, easy to read, good font.
The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. Fabulous book. Amazing writing. If I could write like this… well, I’m just going to say I’m jealous. The cover embodies the book in such a perfect way.
So, I am taking a page out of their play books and I am going to have an illustrated cover. I’ve started playing with a couple things and I think it will work. I’m hoping my sense of style and design will keep me on the straight and narrow and I hope I can afford the production values that I like. And I hope my graphic designer will rein me in if I should go way too far off the path.