History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

15 November 2010

Judge a book by its cover

I have a confession to make: Even thought I should know better, covers still sell books to me. Truth be told, we authors are obsessed with covers. Especially our own. We hate love hate relationships with them, but I'm not sure we always know what's really in our own best interest. We certainly don't agree on what a *great* cover is. For example, one of the covers I adored and showed to my editors when we were discussing what I envisioned, the author actually loathed. I complemented her on it in Orlando, and she blinked and said, "Wow, I actually hate it."

I think it's always hard to see someone else's vision of your characters (I can't help but think of Ann Rice's full page ad in response to her horror of Tom Cruise as Lestat, and her subsequent apology when the movie came out and she discovered he actually pulled it off). And in your own mind you have a vision (a *VISION*)of what your book deserves.

At the moment, I'm enchanted with the first cover in my League of Second Sons series. They really listened to me (ok, they ignored all me about the hair, but that's probably for the best; the "hedgehog" isn't a style most people find attractive [see Keira Knightly to the left as the Duchess of Devonshire], and not all women think long-haired men are hot, esp with side curls, LOL!).

The blue damask stays they've given my heroine are spot on, and the subtle sheen of the watered-silk petticoat makes me drool. The deep gold is eye-catching (at least I hope it is!), and the whole thing will be set off by gold foiled lettering (any author who says she doesn't lust for foil is lying).

What about you? Are you still seduced by pretty covers?


Blogger Leslie Carroll said...

I am totally seduced by pretty covers and I have my own standards, of course (we all do), of what that means. I also suffer from "cover envy" when I troll the historical fiction blogs and see all the covers for the upcoming releases and find myself pointing to several and saying to myself "I wish that were my cover," or "I hope the art department at my publisher comes up with something this [fill in the word or phrase] "eye catching/dramatic/gorgeous"]"

I always hope my cover will "pop" in a busy bookstore and will catch a reader's eye from across the store. I think yours will -- the color palette is very different and that will make it stand out.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Susanna Fraser said...

That's a beautiful cover--tastefully sexy and different. (I swear, if this trend of "woman randomly lifts skirt to bare leg to the thigh" doesn't end soon--and lately it's not even necessarily part of a clinch or a seductive bedroom pose. It's just, "La, la, la, here I am walking across the moors, baring my whole thigh, la la la.")

This is a timely topic, because I'm in the middle of filling out the cover art info sheet for my April release. For which I shall now go offer sacrifices to the cover gods against random thigh-barage.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

LOVE your cover, Isobel and can't wait to see it ON THE SHELVES!! The colors draw the eye and I love the way it is set, the muted backdrop, etc.

I have to admit a great front cover WILL make me pick the book up and read the back cover. I've seen a few retro 70's / 80's historical romance covers lately that have done nothing for me.

What exactly DOES one sacrifice to the cover gods in the hope of winning an eye catching cover such as yours? I hope to need that information for future reference one day.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

Leslie, I totally have cover envy. I think we all do. Someone else ALWAYS seems to have your dream cover.

Susanna, I'm with you on the leg thing. I'm also disturbed by the random slits in period gowns that would be necessary to display some of the legs I see on covers. *shakes head*

Louisa, I'm guessing the proper sacrifice is your youth and sanity.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Louisa Cornell said...


I've already sacrificed those! At this point my first cover should be the best cover in the history of historical romance!

5:00 PM  

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