Being an author is in some ways like entering a lucky dip contest. I'm talking covers of course. Those wonderful glossy images that attract readers to our stories and, hopefully, persuade them to pick up the paperback or click on the link to buy.
Many readers don't know that authors don't usually design their covers. Finding a new cover for an upcoming book on a bookstore site, or being sent it by a helpful member of editorial staff is the point where I hold my breath, cross my fingers and toes and hope for great things. I have to say I've been extremely lucky. Some of my covers are stunning. Some fit the story perfectly. Others make me wonder. Occasionally a reader will comment on hair colour or looks of a character on the cover as opposed to what they read in the book. But you can't have everything.
For quite a few books I had no input to the cover at all. More recently I've been asked to provide some suggested scenes which might be used on a cover. Occasionally I get something that matches the scene. Other times not. Here are a selection.
The exotic and mysterious. With a location shot as well!
The very, very basic. Argh!
The downright confusing.
On the bed.
In the sunken bath.
In/on the swimming pool.
The location shot.
The hero shot. And no, I don't know why he has worry beads when he's an English businessman.
The baby bulge.
After years waiting to see what the cover gods had in store for me, it was an exciting and slightly anxious time when I finally got to choose my own cover. I'm publishing a novella next month (BACK IN THE ITALIAN'S BED is out on Friday 2nd May if you're interested) and this time I worked with a designer to choose what I wanted, from the picture to the wording and layout. Should I go for a clinch cover, something very sexy, or something tantalising? Should I have bold colours and a location shot? It was potentially daunting till a friend on Facebook found the perfect photo (at least I think it is).
I admit the power to decide my own cover was fantastic! On the negative side, I could see myself spending ages browsing for photos and ruminating on script and design if I had to do it too often. But the cover suits the story and it makes me smile, so hopefully that's a plus with readers too.
So, if you had the power to create your ultimate book cover, what would it feature? Brooding landscape with a gothic theme? Bare abs? A tantalising close up? A bedroom scene? Something restrained? Something dynamic and bold?
I'd love to hear your thoughts. They may help me next time I wield the power over my own cover!