Maya Banks

So it’s come around again … that age old discussion of marketing. And more specifically–marketing books.

Wait, don’t run away. I’ve got a couple of serious questions (mostly because I’m trying to make a point to an author friend who is currently working on the cover design for their first self-published work and I hate being wrong) and so I need your help.

Most readers when looking at a new author will base their buying decision on:
1) the cover
2) the book description (or back cover blurb)
and if they’re still undecided in some order …
3) first few pages
4) reader reviews

So if that’s the case, the cover needs to reflect both the genre and the tone of the story. In this ever-changing world of publishing it’s sometimes difficult to know what readers will respond to. Romance has seen its fair share of handsome men:

bookjessicabookcindy

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and couples:

bookreneebookpaige
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There are also the romance novels with scenery:

bookteganbookdiane

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But times are a-changing. With the breakout success of the erotic romance 50 Shades of Grey readers are seeing less skin on their romance novels:

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And these covers have done their job very well. All of these books draw readers in with their stunning visuals. We all have covers we love and covers we “live with” because they adorn the novels of our favorite authors. Cover designs aren’t always in the hands of an author, but rather the marketing department of a publisher. But with the advent of self-publishing, authors have much more control over the elements found on the book cover. We get to decide how we’re going to portray our story and draw romance/mystery/paranormal readers to our books.

And here’s what this whole blog is about. A friend of mine is finishing up edits for an amazing love story I’ve had the privilege of reading as it was developed. I know this story could be a HUGE seller. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you sigh as these two people find their happy-ever-after. BUT … and there is a huge BUT … my friend wants to use some original artwork on the cover. Think Picasso (due to copyright I can’t show you the pics, you’ll have to follow the link). You know, artistically depicted woman. Think lots of symbolism in the art.

And it’s a beautiful piece of art, but to me, it’s just not … a romance book cover. So I’m throwing it out to all of you … would you stop and even read the book description of a book with art on the cover?¬†Because you know me, I’m curious about stuff like this.

*** UPDATE ***
My friend is watching this discussion carefully and doesn’t feel I’m giving the artwork its due when I compare it to Picasso (which, I admit, wasn’t a good comparison, but I searched the internet and couldn’t find a better description). So with permission from the author I offer you the actual artwork that is being considereed for this contemporary romance. The point is still, would this make you stop and pick up this book if you were looking for a great love story?

bookroscoe

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