Monday, February 15, 2021

It's a matter of taste, isn't it?

February 15, 2021

Put a group of published authors together and sooner or later the talk will turn to book covers. What makes a good cover? What do book buyers really like? How do we win the book cover lottery? It's an important topic - to an author.

My own personal experience with book covers is mixed. It's gone both ways for me. I've had great covers that didn't seem to move many copies and downright horrible covers that did. Go figure. 

Back in the days of working with publishers, the idea was to suggest ideas to a cover artist. The cover should reflect the story. The cover should have key elements from the story. The writer submits a helpful form and BOOM! The cover comes back with two bare chests and no heads. So why did the form require a description of the main characters? It was a bit frustrating but so is making my own covers. 

Don't misunderstand me - I like the creative process of making a book cover. But days like today, when I went to one of the stock photo sellers, it gets tedious. In looking for just the right guy that fits the story, that feels like the main character, I found beards. Lots and lots of beards. I don't like beards. Beards strike me as lazy, especially if the guy doesn't keep it well-trimmed. 

I must have scrolled through a hundred pages of "sexy handsome man" photo and found nothing. And some I did see I know have been used repeatedly on other covers. All of a sudden a pair of bare chests seems like a really good idea. 

I've reached the point in writing July Heat that I need to get the cover created and I feel stymied by what I found. My preference is to see the character's faces, and if possible, his eyes. (There's a story about this title here.)

So it's going to take a bit longer than I thought to make the cover. I know some will say I should hire a cover artist, but that doesn't work for me. It's like asking someone to read my mind and then they fail at it and I have to pay them regardless. No, it's better I take a week or two and conduct a good search to find the right guys.  

In the end, some readers will like the cover and some won't. There is very little I can do about that. Readers will buy or not buy for reasons I may never know. What I do know is I need to create a cover that pleases me. At the end of the day, that's the bottom line on a cover. 


 KC Kendricks

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