Book Cover Art
By V.S. Nelson
Attend any writer’s conference and you’ll overhear a lot of discussions on what draws a reader to a book. What trigger draws the reader over to the shelf and inspires him or her to pick up a book and have a closer look in the first place? Is it the blurb on the back cover or the fact it was written by a NY Times best selling author or the promotional ad on television?
All of these maybe be true, but the over whelming conclusion is most readers examine a book based solely on the cover design.
Over the years, book cover designs have gone through many changes. So let’s take a journey back in time…
In the beginning, covers were primarily a simple cover with the title of the text and author’s name in bold print. There was no difference between romance and mystery or fiction and non-fiction. Eventually a simple design was added to the cover making it more appealing.
See what I mean… pretty boring by today’s standards. But like all things, book covers began to change… With the invention of higher quality printing presses and the availability of color, even Jane Eyre’s cover took on new looks over time.
Readers began to identify with what was on the inside of a book by simply looking at the cover and genre readers were able to find their preferred books more readily when shopping in that packed book store long before books were separated by genre.
Publishers learned quickly best selling authors had fans and so best selling author’s name became larger and larger on the cover – hopefully drawing the reader over to the new release. Just look at the two book covers for Stephen King’s Carrie and you’ll see what I mean
The title for the original Carrie was much larger than the author’s name and the cover didn’t show how spooky the book really was. In my opinion the original has more of a mystery feel to it than horror. What do you think? Looking at the second cover, well, what can I say? All the highlights of horror are there, along with the larger than life, best selling author’s name.
In today’s market, authors along with their publishers want to utilize every trick in the trade including finding the best cover artist along with staying on top of what sells is included in that promotional package. Swaying to far from what is the current norm can be disastrous, although if you have enough promotional dollars behind you, you can step outside of the norm. Just take a look at the Twilight and Shades Sagas. Both stepped outside the traditional cover role and became instant best sellers, but then again look at the promotional campaigns both had in order to make them best sellers.
It was unheard of for a traditional YA paranormal to have nothing more than an apple on the cover… Obviously, the apple is in the book and movie, but the reader does not know this in the beginning. I will admit I loved the simplicity of the Twilight covers. They are simple and clean, but I would have never purchased any of them, much less picked them up to examine them had it not been for the publicity behind the books. Now look at the newly popular City of Bones cover. It projects the paranormal aspects in addition holding true to today’s YA paranormal covers, almost giving it an adult feel.
When I started looking at cover designs for my paranormal series I wanted something simple. Since most of my stories take place around Lake Michigan, I thought of having nothing more than a night time water scene in the background. Someone reminded me, this is a new series and no one will know Eternal Lovers is a romance unless you show them, and so we added a couple to the original background…. Long before the book was published, I had the image printed on book marks and began to pass them out. Here is a look at that original image.
This image this looks like a sexy romance, but where are the paranormal aspects? After getting opinions from other authors and professionals, I made the decision it was a no-go. I selected another night time water scene with a full moon without a couple. This time, I went with a purple hazed background. Again it was reviewed and shot down. Since this was the first book in a very long series, I needed to show the readers not only was it a paranormal, it was a romance… so here comes the couple again, only this time, after reviewing some of my favorite paranormal covers, I went with another non-descript couple, who any many ways resembles Jennifer and Gabriel, the hero and heroine from the book. We shadowed the couple in the background, similar to another N.Y. best selling paranormal romance author’s covers. I and my team of experts were finally pleased and we went with it.
In case you are wondering, the cover model is Jimmy Thomas, which also graces book two in the series.
When it came time to select a cover for book two I had already made the decision to have the entire series done in purple my favorite color… I had a dream or a vision, seeing all eleven books in the series on the shelf in purple. What a concept… Keeping with the two traditions I was creating; the purple background and now the added Egyptian ankh (which shows people some of the book relates to ancient Egypt), we came up with the cover for Eternal Nights.
I really wanted to give the readers a better idea of what is the book is about, but you’ll have to look closely to see all the hidden hints on the cover.
Instead of having a couple; the hero, Raphael is on the cover with Nowaki, the wolf. Of course, one doesn’t know if the wolf is him or what part she plays in the story. If you look closely, you can see a set of female eyes in the clouds… another hint. Personally, I love this cover, although I have been told by one expert in the field, “the cover is nice, but it doesn’t POP or SCREAM, buy me.” Still I am happy with the results.
By the time we got to book three, I was all over the place with ideas. I finally made the decision, since stories in book two and book three relate to shifters; we would do a similar design to two. I selected a blond cover model and purchased several designs. After several failed attempts to get it right, I contacted an award winning expert in the field and asked if she would do my cover design. Fiona Jade from http://fionajaydemedia.com/ took over. She took my ideas, introduced me to a new cover model and went to work creating the cover for book three. The cover speaks for itself and I am more than pleased. So much so, I can’t wait to see what she has come up with for book four, the first historical in the series. I guarantee it will be different from the rest, yet it will stay in line with the traditions we have created.
As you can image, purple has also become another trademark or brand if you will for the series and for me. To increase the purple brand, you will find me five out of seven days wearing purple.
I’m no expert in the field of book covers, but I will share some of the things I have learned.
(1) Trends in book covers change ever ten years or so. Stay on top of those changes by reviewing what others in your genre are using.
(2) Stay in line with your genre, but find something that separates your books from the others.
(3) Unless you have a million dollar promotional budget don’t gamble by stepping outside the norm.
(4) When all else fails, hire an expert. You’ll be happy with the results.
Sekhmet’s Guardian’s Book Three
By: V.S. Nelson
Tshering Snow never meant to fall hopelessly in love with her savior, the Ancient, known as Lance, but she did. He seems to care deeply for her, spending every available hour with her, but will he be able to give up his past and settle down with one woman? After all, he has the reputation of a playboy.
Lance hates the personification he has created around himself. Afraid the others might not understand why; he has held back the truth from Gabriel and the other Guardians, he has waited for the right woman, the one Sekhmet prophesized so long ago. And now he has found her. When he is accused of fathering a child by both Gabriel and Tshering, how can he make them believe the child is not his, even if the boy is a spitting imagine of him?
After the women are attacked by Set’s Legions while relaxing on Jennifer’s new yacht, they come to the unanimous decision; they will train and join the Guardian forces. But that’s not as easy as it was meant to be. Old fashioned and hard headed, Gabriel is determined he will not having women fighting in their war.
When Tshering, Jennifer and Jessica are taken hostage by Set’s Legions all hell breaks loose on the Guardian’s compound. Lost without their mates, brother fights brother while they try save their women and put an end to the Legion’s terror. Will Sekhmet, the goddess they serve, step in and reveal the truth or will she leave them to find their own solutions to a never ending war as she has in the past?
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Eternal-Blades-Sekhmets-Guardians-Sehkmets-ebook/dp/B00GJVWC9G/ref=la_B00AXYLHF0_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385378648&sr=1-3
Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/09/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_6.html
With a love for history, Native American author V.S. Nelson, instructed elementary, high school and college in the U.S. and abroad before launching her second writing career.
V has been a story-teller all her life, always creating stories about people discovering the courage to make a difference. This drove her into writing her paranormal series centering on strong relationships and led her to coin the term: Ancient Legends, New Worlds.
She is well known for her “time management and sprint style writing,” producing well over five thousand words daily – consecutively.
V is available for speaking engagements, appearances and is more than willing to share her methodology with others in a variety of workshops.
A member of three RWA chapters she sits on several committees and judges writing contests across the states.
In Jan, 2013, Eternal Lovers, the first book in her eleven book paranormal series, Sekhmet’s Guardians launched with a fury. Being a series reader herself, she has held true to her promise by releasing no less than two books in the series per year in addition to her other work.
Author website: http://www.authorvsnelson.com
Author blog: http://www.authorvsnelson.com/blog/
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