Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Works, What Doesn't

I had to turn in a cover form at Ellora's Cave not long ago. Naturally, I'm excited to see what the cover gods at EC come up with. Personally, I think they do great work and I can't wait to share the finished product. For Highland Beast, a shifter story about a lycan trapped in an ancient Scottish Castle, I asked for a nearly naked couple, a gothic feel, and a touch of Highland plaid. I tend to keep things simple in my cover requests. I give a basic description and try to relay the 'feel' of the book. For example, for Breath of Magic, I asked for a nearly naked couple, a Christmas theme, and a sno globe. That's it.

Sometimes a cover is so glommed up with stuff that it takes away from the beauty of the human body and in erotic romance (which is my deal) it's all about BODIES. HOT BODIES. Oh yeah...I love a pretty font, too.

Studies have shown the male chest is the most popular with readers. I can't argue with a gorgeous male chest. Can you? For some reason though, I tend to ask for a couple. Don't know why exactly. I just like that.

What do you like best? I'm posting examples of two covers of recent releases and I'm curious to see what draws your eye the most. I love both of them personally but adore the Breath of Magic cover.

Do you prefer no faces or faces? And what about the menage covers featuring two men and a woman? Is it just me or aren't these all looking just a little bit the same, these days? Dang, lots of questions but I've really been curious about this. I'm getting ready to start another menage...those are always fun to write but the idea of another cover featuring a woman sandwiched between two buff men just isn't doing it for me. Wonder if you HAVE to have two men on the cover? If she's going to end up with one of these guys, I'm thinking it would be fine to have just a couple but here's the problem. You look at a cover with the two men and the woman and you KNOW it's menage. GRRRRR! Decisions. Decisions. I hate being so unsure. What do you think?

On another matter: Remember my post last week about the dental fiasco??? Got my root canal finally and when I went to the front to get my little card for the next in a series of appointments, one of the ladies goes...oh, by the way, we'll be sending you a bill for $61 for the teeth cleaning you got last week. Hmmm. After being doped up, stressed, and aching from the root canal, I guess I wasn't in the best of moods and the comment just hit me wrong. I looked at her and smiled crookedly (considering I was numb from my forehead to my boobs) and said...you mean for the teeth cleaning where the hygenist knocked a tooth down my throat? She got very quiet and actually looked a little embarrassed before nodding. Okaaaaay. They can send the bill but I know we won't be paying it.


Molly Daniels said...

Maybe I should consult you before I do my next cover request??

I also like the Breath of Magic cover!

Hahaha...WV is 'amen'! No joke!

Regina Carlysle said...

Well, HA, amen to THAT!

I think keeping instructions simple gives the artists a lot of freedom. Seems like the best way to go to me.

Anny Cook said...

I love both. But I really love the guy on the feral moon cover... yum.

I want the cover to be classy. You know what I mean. You can have the same general people, clothes, naked bodies, etc on two covers. One will look classy and the other will be just yuck. I want classy.

Menage? I like the last two covers I've had. Both clearly indicated a menage without shouting MENAGE!

Julia Barrett said...

Your covers are outstanding. I've had to figure out exactly how to work with covers so I get approximately what I want. My first cover could not have been more different from my request and it doesn't reflect the characters. By the third book, they nailed it.

Viola Estrella said...

I had to comment. I love analyzing covers. I think simple is the way to go, but I also love to see a couple on the cover, with a hint of their passion to come. Both of your covers here are smoking. It helps when the men are hot. :-)

Dee Shore said...

I love both covers you have up there, and I agree Ellora Cave's has amazing cover artist.

Let's see if I can answer all your questions: I preffer not having faces on my covers. In my opinion, it takes away from the readers imagination. But a well made cover, is a well made cover lol!

My biggest concern is that the cover captures the them/mood of the book. Of course I know what I want it to look like, but sif someone has a better idea, bring it on.

Regina Carlysle said...

I used to worry about the faces showing because soooo often they didn't look a THING like what I visualized. It's been different with Ellora's Cave because these guys are just all so yummy.

The Feral Moon guy (Mr. December on the EC calendar) is just gorgeous. He makes me DROOL. lol.

Regina Carlysle said...

I know what you mean, Anny. Your menage covers clearly indicate they are menage but they are CLASSY. They also don't look like those cut and paste jobs you see in so many other places. They look as if they are MEANT to be TOGETHER.

Kelley Nyrae said...

Both covers are great. I like them for different reasons. Breath of Magic because its sexy and really gives you a feel for the book. Feral Moon because...well do I really have to say? That man is HOt!!!

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep, Viola, simple is the conclusion I came to as well. If there is, visually, TOO MUCH to look at I think something just gets lost. Getting the tone is the deal. With Highland Beast I was thinking GOTHIC...gray stone, shadowy. Hope that's what I get. I'll be sure and show it off when it comes in. So far I've been really lucky with covers.

Regina Carlysle said...

These are two of my favorite covers from my EC books, Kell. I just SIGHED over Breath of Magic because he just caught the whole feel of the book. And Mr. December? Ummm. Do these guys work out 24/7?

Anne Rainey said...

I love both covers, like Kelley said, for different reasons. And boy that's pretty bold of your dentist to charge you for that fiasco!

Judi Romaine said...

Your question is very determined by the genre we are writing in. Since I write romantic suspense, my preference in covers is no Favios, no naked anybody and no frou-frou. That said, I feel it's definitely determined by your audience. Since you write erotica, naked would probably be necessary to draw the reader in. For suspense, dark scary scenes is probably preferrable. It's definitely a subjective issue, like all of life is. One other issue is what's in style with covers now. The current popular sets the tone, for sure. I've noticed lately there's a trend to a mix of realistic or photographic overlain with colors and graphic design.
lynn romaine (www.ecosuspense.blogspot.com)

Barb said...

Regina, I especially love your cover for Breath of Magic, it's beautiful. A hot looking guy or couple are great but if they don't match the descriptions in the book, it takes away from the story. With menages sometimes it's better to blend three different pictures in to show the different facets of the people involved in the story instead of one photo of a woman sandwiched between two men. I personally don't like the covers that look cartoonish (not sure what exactly the word is, a couple publishers do this), not real people. Anyway, you've had some great covers.

Beth Caudill said...

I love the Breath of Magic cover.

Personally, I don't like covers that are just a body (male or female). It's a personal taste thing. I prefer landscapes or something that is the center with a couple as the back drop.

Linda LaRoque said...

Though both covers are great, I like the Breath of Magic cover best. Not crazy about the sandwich covers.


Regina Carlysle said...

It all depends on what genre you're writing for, as Lynn said. Readers who come to Ellora's Cave know what type of book they are buying so it needs to be pretty Hot and Snazzy. LOL. I have to have people in my covers though...no matter what genre I might be writing in. The cover must say something about the book.

Regina Carlysle said...

Yeah, I KNOW, Anne. That dentist think was just unbelievable to me. Um NO...not paying that.

Genella deGrey said...

Yes, a muscle-bound, thoroughly male chest draws my eye. Hehe! H&LL yeah!

How about two sets of big male hands on a very feminine leg? That'll send the same message and not be quite the same as everyone else.

And the dentist? I think you should send them the "recycled" crown along with a copy of their bill.


Regina Carlysle said...

Oh GAWD Genella! Leave it to YOU to come up with that! snicker. Should I send it in a shoe box????

What a wonderful idea. Just male hands on the woman's body. YAY! I love that!

BethRe said...

I like the Feral Moon cover best.

Connie Northrop said...

Love your covers. I like covers that are striking somehow. I must be the odd girl out because I like a pic of a guys backside (up or down, you choose). I might like the front more if they weren't all waxed.

Unless I know the author, I rarely pick up a book that doesn't have a person on the cover. They just don't catch my attention.

Maybe your cover for the menage can focus on the lady? I've seen some really nice 'dreamy' images that could work and still catch someone's eye.

I think you should bill the hygienist for pain and suffering.

Genella deGrey said...

Whatever you decide to send it in, it should first be placed into a zip-loc baggie.

And I'm glad you liked the visual of the hands and leg. Provocative and intriguing, don't you think?


Regina Carlysle said...

I like backsides, too, but for some reason that doesn't DO IT for me on a cover. Does anyone else like the idea of an Un-waxed chest???? I mean, besides me and Connie? Me love me some hair on a chest.

Regina Carlysle said...

HA. LMAO Genella! A baggie. Not really certain they DESERVE a baggie after suggesting I pay them for knocking a tooth down my throat.

Connie Northrop said...

Regina, think of Malcolm McDowell (sp?) in Jurassic Park after his leg is broken. You see an open shirt, a chest with hair and he is sexy.

Presentation is key.

Regina Carlysle said...

Ohhhhh Yessss Connie. I agree completely. :-)

Genella deGrey said...

I almost seems the younger the guy the less hair - Just a thought.


PS - OK, no baggie. :D

Afton Locke said...

I like both covers. The Feral Moon guy is very hot and I love the unzipped pants. The Breath of Magic cover is nice because it's unique and romantic, perfect for the story. (I happen to be reading it now and it's great.)

The thing is, I can't stand a male beefcake cover if the particular guy doesn't appeal to me. I think it's sexier for a guy to have a swath of plaid over his shoulder instead of all bare chest, but that's just me.

Afton Locke

Regina Carlysle said...

Ahhh. Thanks, Afton! I just saw this. Glad you're like Breath of Magic.

Nothing turns me off a cover more if I don't like the way the guy looks. I know it's subjective but STILL. lol