Covers! What do we want from them?

First, I like to do a giveaway when I blog.  It’s a little incentive for my readers to leave me a comment.  The giveaway for this blog is a $5 Starbucks card.  All you have to do is answer the last question in this blog.

When I look at a cover, I expect it to show me a little bit of the story.  If there is a hot guy on the cover I expect one in the story.  If there is a hitching rail in the background, there had better be a cowboy in the book and it better not be set in New York City.  You get the idea.  Covers are the first contact we have with our reading public and we need to be honest with them through our covers.

I also want a cover that is eye catching with colors that pull at you even when they are in the thumbnail size.  That’s the most important part of a cover.  Since most readers will only see it as a tiny variation of itself, the cover must rock when it’s small.  I have to admit my older covers don’t necessarily do this, so I’m having them redone.

As authors we need to be flexible and find the cover that works.  If your sales are bad, then the first place you need to look is your cover.  Can it be it’s not doing its job?  If you discover that to be the case, then you owe it to yourself and your potential readers to redo it.  I read somewhere that J. A. Konrath, an uber successful author had his covers redone like twenty times before he found the perfect ones and who knows how long they will stay perfect.  Tastes change and our covers need to change with them.

Also, we need to remember that everyone is not going to love our cover and in the end it is us who must love it.  We have to be the first and most enthusiastic fans of our covers.  We should want to display them everywhere and to everyone.  I carry trading cards with me of my books and then hand them out to people I meet.  Face it, if I don’t love my covers who else is going to?

Do you love your covers?  What do you think makes a good cover?  — Cynthia Woolf

Cynthia Woolf — Today’s Guest Blogger


Thank you so much for blogging with us today, Cynthia!

Readers, check out Cynthia’s latest book in her Swords of Gregara series.  -Kara



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Excerpt from Swords of Gregara — Honora

“Oww” a woman’s voice awash with pain reached his ears.

“You disappoint me, Honora.  You continue to try to escape me.  When will you learn?” asked a whiney voiced man.

The whip struck flesh.  Again the woman moaned but didn’t scream.  She didn’t scream.

When he woke again he was not alone but the man with the whip was gone.  Chained across the room from him, hung by her wrists, was a woman.  He could see the lash marks on her back.  Lash upon lash, new over old.  They obstructed the beautiful tattoo of a dragon on her back.  The blood hard to see within the red of the dragon.

Crawling to her he released her hands from the chains holding her up.  She collapsed in a heap on the floor.  He crawled back to his side of the room as darkness overtook him once more.


The dried blood on her back cracked with each movement, but she worked through the pain as she stretched.  Breathed deep and accepted the pain.  Her sword weighed heavier in her hand than usual.  More evidence of the lashing two nights ago.  She looked down at the unconscious man at her feet.  A new recruit.  A Zolthor,  like herself.  Another reason Perdor punished her for her attempted escape, her sixth try in as many months.

This last punishment was the worst.  Five lashes.  Not enough to incapacitate her but enough to make her remember.  Perdor wanted her to be able to train the new slave.  He wanted them to be a team, good enough to take on all contenders.  He’d be the only owner with two Zolthor fighting for him.  Not just one, but a team.  He was practically wetting himself in anticipation of the beras that he’ll win with a team of Zolthor fighters.

Again she looked down on the naked man.  Long brown lashes lay against his cheek.  A nice contrast to his golden blond hair.  What color eyes did they hide?  Blue?  Green?  Brown perhaps.  She’d find out soon enough.

He was a beautiful man.  Well formed.  Broad shoulders.  Trim waist.  Long muscular legs.  He looked like a warrior.  Would be a good fighter.  Maybe even a good lover as he appeared well endowed there as well.

He’d awakened from the drug induced sleep long enough to crawl over and release her from the chains.  For that she was grateful.  Her wrists didn’t hurt as much as usual because of him.  Using her blade was easier than it had been after her previous punishments.

Time to wake up the sleeping man and get him trained.  Time was short and she intended to make the most of it.  He would learn or he would die.


NOTE from Kara: I’m testing out a new comment filter–so far so good–but if your comment does not show up right away, know that we’ll be checking throughout the day. Have no fear. If a ‘feared –shoot me an email  🙂  -Kara xxooxx

14 thoughts on “Covers! What do we want from them?”

  1. My pleasure, Cynthia. I’ve had an experience with covers lately, too. My alter ego’s covers are gorgeous! I love them so much, but unfortunately, they are not hitting the right target group, so I have to change them. I like the new covers coming up, but they are different. I will always like the first ones the most, I think (and I can say this because I designed the second round, lol).


  2. You’re right, Cynthia. Having the book cover look good in a tiny thumbnail is a real challenge, but one of the most important aspects.

  3. A good cover is what catches my eye. I like the blue and red covers. Then I look at the title and read the back cover to find out what the story is about. I love reading Charlaine Harris, but if I had know what she writes her covers make me think of a children story. And that isn’t what she writes. The first cover was white and on her book was a blonde skinny waitress and vampire in the background.

    I agree I like it when the cover can give me a hint of what the story is about. Although I have been fooled. The cover was orange/bronw with a horse and a woman’s face. I thought western, 1800 or so. But I was wrong. It was great story. It was a dude ranch set in current time.

    Great cover on your book. Yes, it caught my eye and pulled me in. Keep writing so I can keep reading.

  4. I agree, Cynthia. A cover should be eye-catching and it should also be a true reflection of the story. Don’t give me a book cover that depicts a heroine with flowing blonde locks only to have me discover upon reading that she actually has short black hair.

    I intend to self-publish within the next few months and have already purchased the cover for my book. I think it is perfect and I absolutely love it!

  5. Great post, important topic!

    I am struggling with cover choices right now. The third book in my Texas Druids series comes out at the end of this month. I want the cover to look similar to books one and two but have been wondering if I should opt for new covers for all three. Decisions, decisions!

  6. Hi Cindy,

    I think color and the ‘aura of the story’ make the cover. I just changed a cover on one of my books and am much happier with the new one, but it’s still not what I envisioned and I can’t find the right photos to get what I really want. I agree with you Cindy. Whatever is on the cover had better be in tune with what’s between the pages! I enjoyed your post. Thanks.

  7. Hi Cynthia,
    Nice post. Covers play a huge role. I’ve changed my first book’s cover once and may change it again as tastes change and I change. That is one of the great perks of Indie Publishing.

    Covers do need to tell a bit of the story, the essence of it. The emotion of it.

    Good to see you here.

  8. My publisher (Wild Rose Press) was wonderful when it came time for my cover. They asked lots of questions to try to capture what I wanted which wasn’t easy since my hero is bald! Supposedly there aren’t a lot of stock photos with handome, bald romantic men. I wanted mine in various shades of one colour – since my story titles each contain a colour and I hope to keep the theme going from book to book. (Unfortunately you can’t see the cover as my book will not release until July). I always liked covers with less colour. I LOVE Kelley Armstrong’s Otherworld covers – the ones that are mostly black & white.

    1. Hi Charlotte. It’s so good to hear of a good experience with a publisher when it comes to covers. Seems the only ones that get out are the horror stories.

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