Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Cover Dilemma

Debra is thrilled to get the cover for Family Secrets, but she's not sure it fits the story.

I was over the moon on Monday to find an e-mail with the cover for Family Secrets. The entire project is really moving forward at a fast clip, which is extremely exciting. However, when I opened the attachment, my first thought was...well this doesn't work for the story.

The cover itself is beautiful: a couple in a sexy embrace on the sand with the lake and skyline in the background. However, the really, really cute guy on the cover looked a bit too young and a bit too Hispanic for the character I'd created. Not wanting to be over-analytical, I sent the cover out to gather some opinions. No one echoed my concern, which on the one hand reassured me, but on the other hand I knew those opinions I'd solicited hadn't read the story and wouldn't know what my hero was 'supposed to' look like.

I contacted my editor, who was of course familiar with the story, and she said she liked the cover, but recommended that I let someone know my concerns if I really felt it wasn't working.

This made me very nervous. I definitely don't want to be known as an author who complains about nit-picky things.

When I first started with TWRP, the cover they sent was the cover you got. Unless your name or the title was spelled wrong or incorrect, it was considered a final cover. With my last two projects, however, there's been room for 'opinions'. There's no guarantee that a change will be made, but I had the opportunity to approve or comment.

After going around and around with it, I finally decided if I was concerned enough to let it worry me, it was worth sending an e-mail.

So I did. I simply said that although I liked the cover in an overall sense, I felt it just didn't fit my character and the story. The branding seemed off. What if someone picked it up expecting a Latino story? They'd be disappointed. We definitely don't want our readers to feel that way. And what if someone passed it by because the cover didn't look like the kind of story they'd read, and therefore they missed out on a story they might really like? :)

I hit send, then held my breath.

By the end of the day, I had an e-mail back saying they would look into changing the couple on the front, since I felt it didn't fit the story.

So, now I wait again. But I feel better knowing I voiced my opinion and advocated for my story. If it stays the same, at least I know I tried. And it's not like I make a habit of this. This is my eighth cover/story with TWRP, and it's the first time I felt the cover didn't work for the story. Usually they are spot on.

How much input do you get on your covers? And how often do you request changes when you get the first draft?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. I think working with your publisher to get a cover that feels right is a author's duty, Debra. The cover is your primary new sales tool.

  2. I liked my first two covers with WCP (Leading Lady and Fragrance), but didn't like the first cover they sent me for the Egypt story - it showed a girl in a bikini by the rail of a ship, which could have been anywhere. Fortunately the next draft was much better!
    With my current publisher, I have a lot of input into ideas for the cover. In fact the cover for Irish Inheritance was very much a 'joint effort' between the cover artist, the assistant publisher, and me, with us all coming up with ideas and suggesting possible stock photos we could use.

  3. Irish Inheritance is a great cover, Paula. Maybe the best one you've had so far.

  4. Agree, Ana, but think Dream of Paris is a close second!

  5. I get lots of input on my covers. I'm usually happy with them, but they expect me to say something if I don't like it. Glad you were able to solve your problem, Debra!