After yesterday’s offering this is a light-hearted, but serious, tale of one novel, two continents and three book covers – and a need for advice.
When the Welsh mediaeval Hostage of the Heart first hit the British bookshops it was graced with the cover opposite. I was, to be honest, stunned.
What is that disused Victorian windmill doing in the background? And what sort of sack is that woman wearing for it to have a gold lining?
When the North American edition was launched, it came with a different cover. For having been trailed through wet Welsh mountains as a battle hostage, this heroine looks as if she’s just stepped out of a make-up trailer on a Hollywood set. But the point is, does it – or did it – entice North American readers to buy?
This is the dilemma now facing me as I indie author the same novel as an ebook and so have to produce my own cover. It’s not something I have done before, in fact I have never even titivated family photographs to get rid of red-eye, so getting to grips with the magical properties of Photoshop is a whole new time-consuming experience. For a first attempt I am reasonably happy with it, but is it liable to sell any copies to my main market - ebook readers in North America? I fear not.
I’d prefer a man in chainmail who looks as if he has the muscle to at least open a vacuum sealed jar of preserve, though not someone who could body double for Conan the Barbarian. I don’t want to give readers the wrong impression; there’s nothing worse than getting a 2* Amazon review from a reader who was expecting an Erotic and got a Sweet. I’ve already been told by a reader that the cover needs some flesh, or at least some dark tumbling hair. If I could find some, I’d give it a whirl, honest.
Creating a cover for my up-and-coming Beneath The Shining Mountains is proving even worse. Set in the 1830s among the Apsaroke Crow people of what is now Montana and Wyoming, can I find suitable images?
Am I looking in the wrong place? Working to an ineffectual design? Am I simply being ineffectual? Advice needed; apply here.
So that’s where I’m up to and where, hopefully, you step in with advice. For those already indie authoring, how do you decide on your cover elements? Where do you look for them? What software do you use to build them into a cover? Or is it something more sublime: like Rebecca, you’ve found an angel of a digital artist. Do tell!
Confused of Yorkshire