Book Covers – How Important Are They?

Book Covers – How Important Are They?

I debated about what subject this blog would be about and decided to make it about book covers. The other day on Facebook, an author posed a question: ‘How important are book covers to you as a reader?’ I was surprised that a number of the commenters weren’t really affected by the covers. Their interest lay in the plot and writings of the books. Book covers didn’t seem to have much impact. Most, if I’m remembering correctly, were JAFF readers.

Perhaps with JAFF books, such as the P&P variations, the covers don’t make much difference as we know ahead of time that the books will usually be about Darcy and Elizabeth, our two favorite characters. So, we may have a tendency to be a little more blasé about what the covers look like.

However, I don’t think that the average romance reader feels that way. I was informed that the results of one survey were that the #1 preference on the cover was a bare-chested man, #2 was a romantic couple, and #3 was basically a pretty lady. For myself, I will not do the bare-chested man but will consider the other two.

So, what I’m going to do today is pick your brains because I do write other Regency than just Pride and Prejudice variations. And though I love using the old paintings for my covers, if I find that they don’t promote interest and sales, I will have to consider doing something else as I don’t want my books lost in the shuffle of ten million ebooks that are being marketed earthwide.

Even though I haven’t finished ‘Darcy Vs Elizabeth’ and ‘Darcy Vs Wickham,’ I do have the covers ready for the entire series. I’m pleased with them, but are you, as a reader, pleased with them? All four books have a connection, either directly or indirectly, to Darcy’s home, Pemberley. And, to me, Chatsworth is Pemberley.


Instead of those four covers, I could do ones with a couple on the front, such as this one.

Or the covers could depict a lovely young lady instead perhaps against a nice background. What do you think? What would you prefer and why?

For my ‘Four Lords Saga Series’ I used early 1800’s portraits of real individuals. Each of my lords was patterned after the looks of these gentlemen with personalities I felt they might have. After all, I like the descriptions to more or less match the person on the cover. Have you ever hated to read about a blonde heroine and the book cover has a lady with black hair on it? It’s like running fingernails across a blackboard to me when I see that. Then again, maybe it’s just me. 🙂

My daughter and I both work on the covers, and she likes to have real people (models) on the covers rather than utilizing the older portraits. So…we have changed ‘Lord Windmere’ in an effort to determine if we should change all the Lords’ covers to see if readers would be more attracted to these more modern ones. Although I prefer the paintings, I’m willing to change to whatever works.

Here are some covers we can use for either JAFF or the other Regency as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know what you think in your comments below. I’m willing to consider doing all of my covers differently if it makes my books more marketable. Thank you for your comments. They are greatly appreciated.

10 Responses to Book Covers – How Important Are They?

  1. I love covers. If it is a couple… I don’t want them looking at the camera… they should be involved with each other. Recently I saw one where the woman was looking straight at the cover and it completely broke the spell. I kept thinking… it would be so mush better if she was looking off to the side and enjoying his embrace, perhaps even having her eyes half closed and smiling. It came across as catty looking. It made me think of a Caroline Bingley saying… look who I have caught in my web of intrigue. It threw me off. Look at the collection cover… totally involved with each other. Now THAT is tender looking.

    • Thank you for your comments, Jeanne. I agree with your sentiments. I think that’s why I love the collection cover as well. I will be doing more covers with couples but not all. Like Summer, I love pretty covers with beautiful landscapes and ones with flowers as well such as ‘Attending a Ball.’

  2. I agree, it seems to totally depend on the genre. For some genres, the cover sets the tone, or is meant to convey the tone. I’ll definitely avoid romance books with certain covers because I have the idea I don’t want to read certain content, which the covers convey to me. (I’m being deliberately vague because, when not self publishing, I don’t get any say in the covers…of course, if one of my publishers reads this, they’ll know exactly what I’m deliberately not saying, so I probably am wasting everyone’s time by being vague). I’m also totally guilty of scanning a page of books and clicking on the covers that appeal to me most. That said, I then read the description, even an excerpt, before deciding to buy. I would never buy based on cover alone. I would download a sample based on cover plus description, though.

    With JAFFs, I think readers are far more forgiving. That said, I believe that applies to loyal readers. If a new reader comes along looking for a new JAFF author to delve into, I have the suspicion that is when cover art will come into play.

    Personally, I’m fond of your Darcy vs. covers. I also like the ‘older portraits’ look. I’m not a big fan of models on covers but you can definitely get me with beautiful scenery and a beautiful dress, no matter the era or even period accuracy. I just like pretty things 🙂

    • I’m with you, Summer. The Darcy vs covers are special for me too along with the older portraits. Unfortunately the models on romance covers seem to be the most popular. However, I am a little ambivalent about them because too many times the books have smut. I hate buying a book that I think is clean and it’s pornographic instead. Finding it’s that way at the tail end of the book after I’ve enjoyed the story really ticks me off. So I understand exactly what you’re talking about. Perhaps that’s why the P&P variations are my favorite reads. For the most part, they are romantic/exciting/mysterious depending on the plot without the smut. We have a great lineup of P&P authors that I love reading. You and Renata are also on my fav list. 🙂

  3. I’m drawn to fiction covers that feature people, since that’s really what the story is about. I like your book covers that repurposed old portraits, but I also like your covers with models. The new cover you made with models for The Darcy and Elizabeth Collection is really eye-catching. I like it a lot!

    • Thank you, Nancy. My daughter made the one for the ‘Darcy and Elizabeth Collection.’ I was really pleased with that one. The older ones were basically my covers and my daughter helped refine the branding for my name. I do love the beveled fonts. They make the covers. She also did the new cover for ‘Lord Windmere.’ The last two are purchased covers, and I will probably use the first for a P&P and the second for another future Regency romance.

  4. I love book covers and I think the ones with people on them can be more suggestive of what’s inside. Just my own preference. All of your pictures look great,

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I’m probably going to have to lean more toward modern people which is something that I kind of avoided because so many of the romance covers just look the same to the point they just run together. Not many that really stand out. To me the older portraits represent the time period but may not be as attractive to current readers. There’s a lot to consider when trying to find what really works.

  5. All of those are beautiful! I love the coup!les at the end and the handsome gentleman standing on the one cover!

    • Thank you, Cindie. I appreciate your comment. I find there are times when I go against the flow. However, this time I just want to find what works. Have a lovely day. 🙂

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