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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
To submit articles of interest to our readers Email Barbara.

April 2000 Issue

Virtually Cover to Cover!

Interviews featuring authors Ann Lawrence and Tracy Fobes,
cover model John DeSalvo, and theCoverStory:

The scoop from theCoverStory:

You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover Or Can You? Surely you've done it---hesitated over picking up a book that you've heard about online or in print. The author may be familiar or new and the plot summary grabbed your attention and yet, you hesitate before reaching out to pick up the book because it has one of "those" covers. You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones with the portrait couple in various stages of undress and wearing expressions that can only be described as "pre-orgasmic bliss". A good cover can aid sales, a bad one deters sales, but a cover that misrepresents a book or its particular sub genre can be a whole new problem.

Jaycee, a moderator of TheCoverStory email list explains: "For instance, I just finished reading Amanda Ashley's THE CAPTIVE. It was a very well written, intense in spots book. It's a futuristic. However, Love Spell has it labeled as Romance, not Futuristic Romance or Futuristic. I was very disappointed in this. From reading the back (cover), you'd think it was (a straight) historical.

Paraphernalia recently surveyed TheCoverStory listers on a number of points. Do you agree/disagree/ care to comment?

Barb S: Do you think covers have a direct impact on book sales?

Sharon: Yes, I do. They can make or break a decision.

Lisa: Absolutely, yes they do. I have seen people lose interest in a book whose cover did little or nothing to indicate what was inside. On the other hand, I have seen people buy books for the cover art alone. It's a whole package though.

Jaycee: Oh definitely, both good and bad impacts. A great cover can entice a reader to buy the book even though it's out of their reading 'comfort zone', or for the cover itself. Conversely, a really bad cover can hurt an author's sales, especially a relatively new author because someone who doesn't know that author wouldn't buy the book on a bet.

Barb S: What kinds of covers generate the most controversy?

Sharon: It seems that the Clinch covers still do that!

Lisa: Clinch covers with naked heaving people. This is not necessarily a bad thing. They may create controversy but if they are appropriate to the book, they also generate interest.

Jaycee: I think it can depend on the mood of the readers at any given time. However, the clinch covers that portray a feeling of sex and lust rather than love and romance does seem to be a hot button with a lot of readers. I think women readers are also getting rather tired of seeing so much of the heroine's body parts and ridiculous, almost painful looking poses. Of course, if the publishers are trying to catch the male eye......

Barb S: Do the think these things make a difference: size of authors name vs. title. Embossing, step backs? Does a "fancy" cover lead to the assumption that the book is different or "a better read" from other books of its type Time Travel, Regency, etc?

Sharon: I enjoy the "Fancy trappings" personally. I will, however, buy books without them. My first reaction though is to go for the pic, and/or the Embossing.

Lisa: Size of the authors name and the title matter only when it is a big name author. Embossing and step backs can help, they are like a prize when they are well done, I would however like to see better designs across the board in front covers This does not lead me to assume that a book is better because it has a fancy cover but it does catch my eye and make me look at it twice.

Barb S: How do you feel about people vs. non-people covers?

Sharon: I'd Much rather see people.

Lisa: I like covers of all kinds. I find LL Millers latest cover absolutely beautiful. I do also like people covers because I like to refer to the cover occasionally during the reading of the book and imagine the character drawn in the situations written about.

Jaycee: Yes. If the author's name makes the title look microscopic then that's bad cover layout planning. The same goes if the title overwhelms the author's name. What's really sad is when the name and title completely take over the cover and you can't really see the picture. This sometimes happens with big name authors. Take a look at Nora Roberts' CAROLINA MOON and you'll see what I mean. Sorry, I got a little sidetracked there. Embossing and step backs are very nice eye candy, but not necessary for me if the front picture can give me a sense of what the story's about. That's where the sb comes in. Barbara Dawson Smith's SEDUCED BY A SCOUNDREL in a good example. On the other hand, some women readers are embarrassed about the really sexy front covers and appreciate having a 'generic' (for lack of a better word) pic on the front and a sexy sb. This satisfies both their needs. They like to look at the sexy pics; they just don't want to be caught doing it in public. I've bought books with absolutely beautiful covers, yet I couldn't get through chapter three! The reverse has also been true. I must be getting more discriminating in my old age, because a classic clinch pose doesn't do much for me anymore, I don't care who the models are. I loved the cover of Robin Schone's THE LADY'S TUTOR. Yes, it was in a sense a clinch cover, yet there was something exotic about the pose. There are no faces showing, just the woman from shoulders to waist and a man's hand undoing the laces of her undergarment. Then there's Coulter's PEAL COVE cover. It's absolutely beautiful, done in soft pastels with touches of deeper colors--and a landscape. So, I guess I said all that to say it depends on how each type is done.

Barb S: On step back covers do you like to see a "clinch" picture beneath or something "tame"?

Sharon: CLINCH!!! Lisa--I like to see the hero and heroine. I like good art. If a clinch is appropriate, it is okay. I will never want a tame cover just to avoid embarrassment.

Jaycee: If it's really well done, I don't care if it's a clinch or a family portrait. LOL

Barb S: Have you or would you buy a book based on the cover art? Cover art and back blurb? Author and knowledge of their work alone?

Sharon: Usually I go with author and work, but I WILL buy a book if there's a super SEXY cover on it! Just for the cover! *G*

Lisa: Author and knowledge of their work alone, only. Maybe recommendations of friends. A little bit back cover blurb and knowledge of whether it is of my preferred genre.

Jaycee: : Well, I did buy JACKSON RULE by McCall just for the bs. :o)) I think that's one of the best covers he's done to date. If I don't know the author, I rely heavily on the back blurb and that little piece that's at the front of the book. Sorry, I can't think of what it's called. Most of the time the author and knowing their work is enough. I have a very long list of auto-buy authors!!!!!

Barb S: With "new" authors does the cover influence you to try one "newbie" over another? Do you go by the cover blurb, any advance reviews or word of mouth?

Sharon: I go with all three, I read so much, and any of those would cause me to buy the book. Lisa--All of these things have an effect. Especially genre, and blurbs.

Jaycee: If I don't know the author, I rely heavily on the back blurb and that little piece that's at the front of the book. Sorry, I can't think of what it's called. Most of the time the author and knowing their work is enough. I have a very long list of auto-buy authors!!!!!

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