How Important Is Cover Art?
How important is cover art to a book? How much emphasis should we place on the aesthetic appeal of a cover? Will a reader buy, or discard, a book because of its cover?
These are things I am considering right now. Returning from a short holiday I was thrilled to find the offer of another contract in my inbox. Hence I have been wrapped up with the first lot of edits for “Leath’s Legacy” as well as providing some details for the cover art. All very exciting things.
While I understand many main stream publishers allow no input from their writers regarding the cover art which will eventually appear on their story, The Wild Rose Press gives us some broad categories where we can suggest ideas for a cover artist to follow. My experience to date has been very positive. The cover art closest to perfect from my perspective was on “Wilderness Liaison” where I had suggested a view from the Waitakere ranges over Auckland. I hope that cover made readers immediately aware that the story wasn’t set in USA or UK but somewhere different. In this case right here in New Zealand.
While we don’t have the opportunity to ‘discuss’ our covers or ask for another choice once the cover artist has completed the work, having some input is a little scary. Despite us moving into a digital age, I believe cover art is still vitally important. I know I am attracted to a cover before I think of checking the blurb of a romance. I simply flick past cover art that doesn’t appeal to me. If the cover holds no appeal, then I’m unlikely to give the story a chance to entice me unless the book has been recommended.
But there are so many choices. Which is a hot seller right now? What will attract a reader? Do romance readers like a cover with ‘real’ people, hot clinches, vague silhouettes, cut-off bodies, animation? Then of course we need to consider the sub-genre where our story belongs. The cover art on my sweet, clean romances doesn’t need to appeal to readers of erotica, but it does need to give some indication of the sub-genre so a prospective reader will click on the back blurb and make a more informed decision whether to buy or not.
The cover art for my first stories contained vague silhouettes and I guess you could call it ‘scenery’. Romance stories with covers using models – whether they’re clothed or not, in clinches or not – don’t particularly appeal to me, so I didn’t want my books to have that type of cover art. With my latest release “The CEO Gets Her Man” I decided to try something different. I’m uncertain how much this change might have affected my sales, but “CEO” has been very popular. The suggestions I have put forward for Leath’s Legacy’s cover are more in line with “CEO” than my earlier books.
There is nothing more annoying than reading a romance and checking the cover to find the hero/heroine look nothing like the description inside. Or the cover suggesting a scene or event which never occurs in the story. I hate that. It definitely takes something away from the story and I think the credibility of the writer comes into question. After I came up with an idea I’d like for my cover for “Leath’s Legacy” – which might or might not come to be, depending on TWRP hierarchy – I wrote a couple of small extra paragraphs into the story to ensure the cover would be relevant.
I’d be very interested on your thoughts as a reader. Does your choice of a new book begin with the appeal of the cover art? What types of cover attract you or alternatively turn you off buying a book? As a romance reader which type of cover do you prefer, models, animated, half-bodies, scenes, silhouettes?