My (No) Cover Story

While THE GLASS WIVES is now listed on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, it is there without its cover.  It’s a little frustrating, I know. I assume that one day I’ll just pop over there and the cover will be there, the same way I popped over last Monday and the book was listed. Publishing is full of fits and starts, surprises and delays.  But frankly, when the waiting results in something so cool as my book for sale, I’m okay with the waiting. Probably because I’ve seen the cover — or what I hope will be the cover — but the buck doesn’t stop here and I cannot share. Yet. I LOVE the cover and hope you will all love her too. (Yes, the cover is feminine. And since it’s women’s fiction, it totally works for me.)

So here I sit.  I do visit the sites several times an hour per day per week to see what, if anything, has changed.  I count the “likes,” I watch the rank, even though I’m not sure what any of it means or if it really means anything at all.

As I wait for the image to magically appear online — I look at other book covers.  What draws me in? What makes me pass? What colors appeal to me? What images make me cringe? (Sorry, Fabio.)

I’ve notice the trends in a lot of women’s fiction that includes cropped parts of women’s bodies or the backs of heads.  I like those covers. I like NOT seeing faces because I like discovering a character’s face on my own, in my own head.  But the back of a head, or an arm, or dangling legs? Yes, that evokes the right tone for many novels.  I also notice a lot of flowers on book covers for books that are not about flowers.  Flowers are pretty, so that makes sense to me.  I don’t require literal covers for the books I pick up — just something eye-catching. What confuses me sometimes is then a cover does not really convey the tone of the book.  I may pick up a book because I like the cover, read it and love it and realize the cover has nothing to do with the book and is even a little misleading.

I was fortunate to meet my cover designer this summer and that’s the only message I passed along, when asked. I didn’t have a specific image in mind for THE GLASS WIVES, I didn’t have colors I loved, or really anything I hated.  All I wanted was that the cover convey the tone of the book.  For example, whimsical covers are very popular. Cutesy covers are adorable and I always pick them up, but I didn’t think either would fit the novel, and my editor agreed.  And lucky — so did everyone else who has a hand in the cover process like marketing and sales.  Did you know they have a say? Now you do!

While we wait for the cover of THE GLASS WIVES to be officially released – tell me what you like about certain book covers and what you don’t like.  Tell me what you’d never pick up in a gazillion years.  Tell me what you think of this body-part trend and what other trends you’ve noticed in book covers.

Please help me pass the time as I patiently await the next part of this story!

45 thoughts on “My (No) Cover Story

  1. I agree with you, Amy – I like body parts (clothed, please!) and backs of heads. And yes, as long as the tone of the book is conveyed, it doesn’t even need people in it to grab me.

    I too, am in the green room, waiting for my cover. Reminds me of when I checked my email 8 quadzillion times a day, back when I was querying.

    Never ends, I guess. Sigh. We wait.

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  2. There was an author you had on here recently – Sarah Healy – with the Jesus bobble-head on her cover. I knew immediately that I had to read her book, lol!

    I LOVE looking at book covers! I think it’s half the fun of shopping for new books! I’m personally a sucker for great photography or a clever illustration. I also prefer not seeing the faces on a book cover (hmmm, that could be why I made the characters faceless on my own cover? Interesting!)

    I also love making book covers, and I’ve been known to make mock covers for some of my books that are hardly even written yet, lol! It’s very addicting! 😉

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  3. Oh, Amy, I know exactly how you feel. Once my first eased out of my clutches and into Theirs, I felt as if time slowed to less than a crawl. It’s still inching along at a pace that makes me need daily (hourly) reminders to breathe deeply, to trust…oh, yes, and to push forward on the next story.

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  4. I like body parts too — when they put “log girl” on my SG, I thought “oh no!” But I loved TG/FG with the back of the girl and woman. Sweetie shows part of a face, but it’s so surreal and lovely, it is my favorite cover. But I also remember when one (or more) of my books came up without the cover and I thought “HUHN?” But yeah, we just learn to go with the flow and let things slowly la tee dah along.

    Fabio kind of creeps me out — I laugh when I remember how I was strolling through TV shows and stopped on one of those model shows and the models were supposed to pose with “some sexy man” and out comes Fabio strutting witih his flowing locks (ugh) and the models had this puzzled look and one of them goes, “Who is the old guy?” and another said, “Ewww.” OMG! LAUGHING _ they were not impressed by his posturing and didn’t even know who he was! . . . teeheeehee

    I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to read your new book, Amy. Also, I’m excited to see you are a new staff member with the wonderful WU — you go!

    What a business this book business, author business, is, isn’t it? lawdy.

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    • Sometimes I don’t know a cover doesn’t fit until I’m finished reading. And then I have a few moments of “HUH?” and then I’m over it. Usually. 😉

      If you see my cover out there in cyberspace before I do — please let me know!!

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    • I am so sad when that happens but you’re right. I think the authors are usually just taken off guard, the cover not being what they expected. The authors I know who were shocked at first have learned to love their covers — but it sure is nice when it’s love at first sight!! 🙂

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  5. I agree – nothing more annoying than when a cover doesn’t convey a book’s tone. What I’m noticing (and there were several NYTs articles, etc. about this in recent months) is the move in the publishing industry to have type-only covers. They’re EVERYWHERE and they do NOTHING to sell a book, in my opinion (and elicit snarky comments by me, such as, “I could have designed that.”) I’m thinking of Lydia Netzer’s cover for Shine Shine Shine; The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides; The Art of Fielding; The Weird Sisters (this one I did like for some reason); and even JK Rowling’s book (The Times piece had about 12 examples; the covers all looked the same). I think a book cover should be enticing and I don’t buy the excuse that the type-only trend is all about making the graphics easier for e-readers. I’d like to hear a designer’s argument for a type-only cover. Sometimes they are warranted if they fit the tone of a book, but they’re a dime a dozen now, it seems.

    I also don’t like when it appears designers don’t read the book/know anything about it. For instance, Alma Katsu’s recent cover for her second book in the trilogy, The Taker. It’s a GORGEOUS cover, but the main character has BLONDE hair, yet the woman on the cover has dark hair. Same for Sarah McCoy’s book: blonde character, but cover with a woman with dark brown hair. Maybe it’s just me who is bugged by that, but I feel badly for the authors when this happens (and it makes me think that frequently the authors have zero say, which, honestly, just seems plain sad to me).

    Now I am salivating to see your cover!

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    • I wonder about the hair color issue as well. I usually figure that someone did a helluva lotta research about hair color! And with trends, yes, we tend to see a lot of similar covers. I recall seeing a lot of covers recently with BIG WORDS on them. LOL. To me that always screams big important book that needs no image. I know that I gravitate toward evocative covers…and steer clear of anything scary. :-O

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  6. Got to be the best waiting game ever! That’s so cool. My 17-yr-old daughter gives much more weight to the book cover than the blurb. So, yeah, the cover definitely has to convey the mood. Doesn’t have to be literal, just evocative. Can’t wait for the unveiling.

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  7. I have definitely noticed the trend of cropped pictures of women (their legs, their backs) for women’s fiction. I don’t mind it. Can’t wait to see your cover! I’ve been reading this blog for awhile now and it’s been fun to see your journey.

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  8. I love the cover you posted here. Blank. Transparent like glass. I can see or not see it now…

    Any who. I loved Sarah Jio’s Violets of March cover and ALL her covers are stunning. And relate to the novel. And they pull you in.

    Laura Spinella’s Beautiful Disaster is gorgeous. Shades of green, mysterious man in distance next to a motorcycle. Very intriguing.

    The Summer Garden has the picture of a face but it is so haunting, and beautiful, and mysterious you can’t hepl but pick it up. And the model for the cover is exactly as you imagine Tatiana. Fierce, innocent, haunted, pure.

    Jeffrey Stepakoff’s Fireworks Over Toccoa, the one with a dancing couple in the field, drew me in. Amazing read! His follow up, The Orchard is amazing too. The cover is delicious and so is the book. You crave apples trhoughout the entire read. BTW, he wrote for the wonder years. Amazing author.

    Hope that keeps you busy.

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    • Ah, Charli Mac. Are you my literal friend? 😉 I have a friend who really wanted the cover of The Glass Wives to be transparent women. As in GLASS WIVES. That might have worked if it was a different book! Now I’m going to spend the afternoon looking up the titles you mentioned. Thank you! Or do I mean, damn you! 😉

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  9. Reading this post felt like looking into my own head over the past several months! I felt the exact same way about the cover of Keowee Valley, and I ended up being very, very happy with it. (It’s got the whole back-of-a-woman deal.) I love a little bit of mystery in a cover, leaving me as the reader to imagine what I will from the writing itself. And, like you, I’m always confused by covers that seem to have no bearing on the novel itself. All this being said, I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see your cover! Thanks for keeping us posted.

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  10. What are your thoughts on covers with dogs? I was just shown the cover mock-up for my first novel, and it had a dog on it! I guess dogs sell, but the dog played such a minor role in my book, I was surprised.

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    • I think people like dogs. Truly. And people like people who like dogs. So if your character is a dog-person, I’d think that’s why you have a pooch on the cover. But then again, who really knows??? LOL. Do you like the cover, Andrea? I hope so. 🙂

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  11. I can see why flowers are used a lot, they’re pretty, but they don’t often “go” with the story.
    I can also see why body parts are used…These covers often convey the stories inside, but they cut off faces so you can picture the characters in your own mind.

    Lately, I’ve been enjoying the covers on historical romances. Some of the covers I’ve seen in that genre are just stunning!

    Can’t wait to see your cover!

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    • Laurie, you’re so right. I remember reading The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen and LOVING it. I read it in a day. Then I looked back at the cover and wondered how something thought they went together. Beautiful cover. Beautiful book. But for me, a real disconnect. Guess it didn’t matter though, did it? And SAA is a best selling author so I guess sometimes it really works!! Thanks for hanging in there until I can share the cover for The Glass Wives. Fingers crossed everyone likes it as much as I do! 🙂

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  12. I’m a cover girl too, Amy. (Although, if you’ve seen me in the morning, you’ll know I don’t mean that literally.) I often pick up and read a book solely on the mood the cover creates for me. And I find it interesting that when old favorites are re-released with a new cover, it is very jarring — as if a good friend has had bad plastic surgery.

    Can’t wait to see the cover for Glass Wives! (And read it, of course!)

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  13. It’s funny–I think because I so rarely randomly pick up books now (seem to only read recommendations, twitter pals’ books, etc.) I haven’t paid as much attention to covers as I used to.

    I can’t wait to see your cover though!

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  14. When they asked for my input on my cover (which hasn’t materialized yet), I said I didn’t want faces, I wanted it to be something either gender would be comfortable holding on the subway, and I didn’t want crutches to be the focal point. (My protagonist is disabled, but that is not the focus of the story.) Other than that, basically what you wanted – something that FITS. 🙂

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    • I hope you get what you want! I know that covers are used to target a specific audience…but I’m not sure who determines that audience! My book is quite clearly women’s fiction, inside and out. And I am so good with that. I have a friend who’s less pleased with a feminine cover for her book, but women buy many more books than men! So I say – go with whatever they decide! Good luck, I hope you’ll keep us posted!

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  15. How EXCITING Amy! I know you’re so excited! Perhaps the cover isn’t there because it’s pre-order and Amazon wants to denote that somehow? Anyway, I’ve just popped over and pre-ordered! And I’ll join you in reviewing to see just when the cover makes its debut! Yay!

    I love bright, beautiful covers of objects pertinent to the story rather than people. And I dislike parts of bodies. Flower are wonderful and my next story is all about flowers and meadows so I’m looking forward to finding something that really depicts the tone of the story!

    Can’t wait! 🙂

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    • You nailed it, Nancy! Objects pertinent to the story. I don’t mind body parts when, again, it’s evocative of something important. And your story about flowers and meadows? Well, that cover should be a cinch. Alas, they never are though, are they? Thanks for being so supportive and for adding to this discussion!!

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  16. I love looking at covers, Amy. In fact, the cover is usually the first reason I pick up a book by an unknown (to me) author. After that I’ll read the blurb, then decide whether or not to buy the book. I have noticed that my cover likes and dislikes have changed over time. In fact, you described my current fav cover in your post. 🙂 And I love rich colours, bright and eye catching. Can’t wait to see your cover unveil!

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  17. There’s a trend I’ve seen recently where words are broken up in odd places. Off the top of my head, I can only recall one specific book but I know there are several out there.

    Looks like this below:

    THE SU
    RVIVAL
    KIT
    (by Donna Freitas)

    Granted, I haven’t read it, so I don’t know if that somehow pertains to the story, but still… weird.

    I can’t wait to read your book, Amy! So glad to hear you’re happy with your cover.

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  18. Wow Amy! I remember these interminable moments too. Your book is out there, but not accessible or in its final form. I remember seeing my printed cover for the first time – a slight twang as I wasn’t sure about one thing – but utter relief that it looked so good.

    Covers are SO important! I’m sure yours is brilliant and I hope it’s out there for all of us to admire very soon.

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  19. Oh, I love choosing books based on their covers! I won’t read any books with men in open shirts or women in old fashioned dresses. I like the covers that have a color that catches my eye, the title bigger than the author’s name, and honestly a sort of vague cover that just conveys the theme. I, too, like to imagine the characters on my own. Now you have me thinking more about what draws me to a book cover.

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    • Hi Emma, I like old-fashioned dresses because there’s some historical fiction I like! But I’m with you on the typical hero covers. I don’t read classic romance novels, so I’m pretty safe! 🙂

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  20. In preparation for giving input on the cover of my book which will be published next year, I’ve been thinking about this a lot and looking at other covers at my publisher’s site and on Amazon. I came to the same conclusion as you, Amy. I prefer covers that just show a torso or part of the body so I can visualize the characters in my head. And yes, I do prefer those parts clothed.

    On the other hand, I’ve seen covers that don’t have a person on it, but the cover is really beautiful and conveys some aspect of the story. Those can be nice, too.

    I like bright, cheery covers. That I feel quite strongly about. It’s hard for me to look past a really dark and ominous cover.

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  21. Amy- Have you ever seen the cover for Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIAN KING? That is my ideal cover! Really beautiful and detailed. It is based on the book, though you don’t know that until you’ve read a lot of it…but it doesn’t matter. The image gives the feel of the book perfectly, even before you understand the significance of it. Incidentally, my ideal cover (for the book that lives in my laptop and hopes someday to be born into the real world) does involve a body part – but one covered by a tattoo that my MC has. 🙂 I’m excited for you that you’ve come so far – I know the cover will be up soon!!

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