Why I Love My Book Cover by Elizabeth Andrews

Posted by June 18th, 2014

HuntingMedusa cover.jpgThis is going to sound just terrible, but as a reader, I rarely shop for books by the cover art.  When I go shopping for books, I almost always have a list of books I’ve culled from favorite authors’ websites, or recommendations from readers I trust. I can appreciate all of the lovely covers on the shelves in the store–though I will profess a bit of a bias against all the copy-cat covers on erotic romances these days–fruit and flowers?  Those do not scream “hot romance” to me.  Give me a hot, shirtless hero on the cover, whether he’s alone or with his heroine. I am, after all, a romance fanatic.

That is one big reason why the cover for my book HUNTING MEDUSA makes me so happy when I look at it. (And, okay, I might have petted it a few thousand times.) But it isn’t just the mostly-naked hunk looking all broody and dangerous. No, the talented artist who worked on my cover art managed to work a bit of the setting into the background, and there’s the heroine, defiant and still vulnerable. Plus there’s a nifty little symbol tucked into the corner that will continue throughout the trilogy, and that makes me smile. The first time I saw it absolutely thrilled me, seeing all those little touches put together after all the work I’d put into the book. Plus, seeing the cover art made the book feel even more real than everything leading up to that point.

The colors and the whole composition set the right sort of tone for the story:  a bit dark, with the woods in the foreground, and one gets the idea that the setting is remote, where danger lurks; the hero standing off to one side, watching the heroine, and a reader might think he poses a serious threat to her; while the heroine is looking directly at the reader, fully aware of the danger nearby and ready to take it on. Just talking about this cover makes me want to go grab one of my promo cover flats and pet it again. (I can’t be the only author who pets her cover, right?  Right?)

Hunting medusa poster for blogI love my cover so much, my husband knew the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day would be a poster-size version, which is framed and hanging in our living room, where I can admire it as many times as I pass through the room every day.  (I don’t think I actually noticed the hunk on the cover was fully naked, just, um, hidden behind the forest, until I got a gander at the framed poster, and I’m not sure my husband has realized it yet.  I don’t intend to mention it either!)

So, what kind of cover art grabs you when you’re looking for a romance novel?  Classic clinches?  Abstract objects?  Something completely different?

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About Elizabeth Andrews

Elizabeth Andrews is the author of HUNTING MEDUSA, just out from Samhain Publishing. You can find her online on her website, on Twitter, and Facebook.

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4 thoughts on “Why I Love My Book Cover by Elizabeth Andrews

  1. Noelle Pierce

    That IS a gorgeous cover!

    I admit to browsing covers at the bookstore, not only to find new and interesting reads, but also because I have an art background and make covers myself. I like to see the trends. I like to see the use of color. I’m very visual–eye-catching covers that grab me help me consider new authors I may not have tried before. Colors are the first thing. Characters and artistic design are the next thing I look at. If it looks like a cohesive scene, even if there isn’t anything in the background but texture and color, I’m happy. Too many covers LOOK photoshopped, though, and that will turn me off a book.

    I’m with you on the fruit and flowers covers, though I understand why they’re going that way for the erotic romances. There are people who create covers that cross lines–for example, on your cover, his manly bits are covered by the trees, giving him the sex appeal you love, but keeping it from being pornographic–and the guidelines of some vendors are vague to cover their own behinds. To appease anyone who might happen upon it and be offended (not me; I prefer the racier stuffs), the vendors will say “anything they deem offensive will be removed.” The word “offensive” is such a broad, subjective value judgement that fruit and flowers are a safe alternative.

    Oops. I got off topic. Congrats on your book! I look forward to reading it.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Andrews

      Noelle,

      I do love an eye-catching cover, too. Sometimes a book cover just screams at you when you’re shopping, ‘look at me, look at me!’ As a reader, I admit disappointment when Harlequin redid the covers for Megan Hart’s erotica to jump onto the fruit & flowers bandwagon. I suppose if a reader found one erotic romance they enjoyed with a ‘safe’ cover, the same kind of cover on other books would let them know they’d found a similar story, but I love when the cover art actually tells me something about the story behind the cover.

      I hope you enjoy!

      Elizabeth

      Reply
  2. Kelly

    I work in graphic design for my day job, so I tend to be a little pickier about my covers…but in a more abstract sense. It’s hard to sum up what makes a good cover for me, much like in my day job. I know it when I see it. It doesn’t have to be the half naked hunk, or vulnerable heroine. It can be graphic in natural (a la Helena Hunting’s Clipped Wings) or highly suggestive (Tempted by Megan Hart – the original cover, not the new “redesigned” one). I like a cover that makes a statement in a very professional way, telling me something about the book at a glance. I heavily dislike cartoony covers as a general rule, and yet I liked Nicole Peeler’s Jane True books. I won’t say anything about the copycat black covers with single object. Bland, boring, and tells you nothing. Okay, now I won’t say anything more. 🙂

    I prefer my covers to be designed and not slapped together. I’ll admit it, I shop by covers when I’m looking for new authors. I do judge a book by it’s cover…at first. But that’s the nature of the beast. My day job is in marketing, and that’s what a cover is supposed to do: market the book.

    That being said, I love your cover Elizabeth. But I’m sure I’ve told you that a few times. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Andrews

      I agree, the art on Helena Hunting’s books was nice–it fit the story, yes? And yes, the original covers of Megan Hart’s books were much better than what HQN did to them later. The original covers were eye-catching and sexy. There were TONS of cartoony covers, oh, about 15 years or so ago. I think Avon started that trend, and everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, as tends to happen with things that turn out well. Some of the them were great, others just ‘meh’. And Nicole Peeler’s covers were terrific, but, again, they fit with her style of storytelling. And yes, that really is the most important thing: if you’re shopping for a book by the cover art, you should be able to rely on the inside of the book matching what’s on the outside.

      Reply

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