The Cover, Your First Thousand Words
Thanks so much to Heroines with Hearts for having me here today!
A picture is worth how many words? (All together now ☺)
The cover is the reader’s first impression of your book. Its purpose is to catch her attention, and promises the kind of story inside. It gives a sense of what the book is about—not the whole story, as too many elements muddle the cover.
Covers happen in different ways. Here’s my journey for Biting Me Softly, art by the incomparable Natalie Winters.
First I submitted an art request through my editor. The request is a publisher-designed form that asks things like title, genre, time period and setting. It also asks for descriptions of the hero and heroine, a short summary of the story, and any author ideas, my chance to have input. Using a stock photography site, I found a perfect picture for hero Logan and included the link. My editor reviewed my request and forwarded it with her additions and changes to Natalie.
Natalie combined elements of my story (heroine Liese is a computer geek so the 010101 wallpaper is computer binary code) and my series (the bats flying up from the bottom left suggest vampire) with a truly spectacular pose of model Sam Bond to create a draft cover called the cover comp.
I loved the cover comp the minute I saw it. Although my publisher lets me give feedback, I didn’t have any changes—the cover is a significant investment in time and money and though sometimes changes are necessary (as when another cover uses the same pose) it’s important to have as much defined upfront as possible.
After my editor and I approved the art, it went to the publisher. The publisher has to consider things like fit with other releasing titles and overall impact, and knows what reaches readers best.
In the end, it’s all about reaching the reader with your story. The cover is simply your first 1000-word step.
Biting Me Softly is in bookstores around the US, and I’m celebrating by having a giveaway! Just comment on this post to enter. For a second chance, let me know the city or bookstore where you’ve seen Softly! Through May 29, 2011. --Adults only please. Winner will receive choice of Biting Me Softly in paperback (if U.S. or Canada) or one of Bite My Fire, Biting Nixie, The Bite of Silence or Biting Me Softly in ebook.
Biting Me Softly
He’s a candy box of sex appeal wrapped with a golden bow. She’s on a diet.
Blood, sex, violence. Blood, okay, but computer geek Liese Schmetterling had enough S&V when her cheating ex fired her. Now security expert—and lip-smacking gorgeous—Logan Steel saunters into her Blood Center, setting fire to her libido. And threatening her job.
Visions of pink slips dancing in her head, Liese tries to push Logan away without touching his jutting pecs…or ridged abs. Or petting the Vesuvius in his jeans. He’s hiding something, but it doesn’t seem to matter when his smiles stun her, his kisses crank her to broiling and his bites rocket her to heaven. Fangy bites which, if she weren’t grounded in science, would make her think ampire-Vay.
Centuries old and tragedy-scarred, Logan’s mission is to fortify the Blood Center’s electronic defenses against his nemesis, the leader of a rogue vampire gang. He’s ready for battle but not for Liese, who slips under his skin, laughs at his awful puns, charges beside him into dark, scary places—and tastes like his true love.
No matter how often Logan declares his love, Liese can’t bring herself to trust him. But when his archenemy comes after her, not trusting him may cost her life…
Warning: contains explicit vampire sex involving absurdly large male equipment (hey, they’re monsters), unbelievable stamina (just how long can he stay underwater in a hot tub?), hide-your-eyes violence and horrendously bad puns. And, just when you think it can’t get any worse, a computer geekette trying to play Mata Hari.
Buy at Samhain Publishing
Check In Stock at Barnes and Noble
Hugs from Hughes! Bestselling author Mary Hughes is a computer consultant, professional musician, and writer. At various points in her life she has taught Taekwondo, worked in the insurance industry, and studied religion. She is intensely interested in the origins of the universe. She has a wonderful husband (though happily-ever-after takes a lot of hard work) and two great kids. But she thinks that with all the advances in modern medicine, childbirth should be a lot less messy.
To learn more about Mary, please visit www.maryhughesbooks.com.