Friday, July 10, 2009
by Anna Campbell
One of the best bits of having a new book out is seeing the cover! Well, it is if you've been blessed the way I and other Banditas have been blessed by the cover gods (very capricious deities who must be placated with much worship and regular offerings of Tim Tams).
A couple of weeks ago, I got the final version of the cover for my 27th October release, CAPTIVE OF SIN. And I can't wait to show it to you.
I just LURRRRVVVVVE it. So much going for it. I think he's really handsome. I think she's really pretty. It's not cheesy at all. The stepback picture says something about the relationship. Why? Well, you'll just have to read the book to see but the two of them looking at each other longingly certainly fits.
It's one of those half covers - there's a fashion for them at the moment. So the picture of the hero peeks out in a come-hither way from the stepback (I'd come hither! Hither me now, mister!). The white is textured with twining roses and it's a lovely pearly color and the red is foil and really stands out against it.
I'm absolutely delighted, as you can imagine!
Covers are such an important part of a romance novel - obviously not as important as the deathless prose inside but still highly significant. I actually like a clinch cover if it's well done - not so keen on girlies on their knees looking up worshipfully just before they you know. Especially when those covers always seem to be set in unlikely places - the deck of a tossing ship or on a rock near the sea where the protagonists are about to be swept away and I don't mean by passion.
One of the reasons I like a clinch cover and why I think they've never gone out of style, in spite of how people whinge that they're clicheed and embarrassing, is that they scream romance. You know just what you're getting when that hunk and that willowy chick are clutching each other on the front of a book. My mother always made me laugh. She used to call it the girl in the nightie and the man with the flowing hair and the bare chest. The flowing hair isn't so big anymore but, yep, I'd say the nightie and the lack of shirt are still there. Six packs rule!
All of my covers have been clinches. Great clinches! Even TEMPT THE DEVIL which featured the gorgeous and omnipresent Nathan Kamp's face on the cover had a clinch on the stepback. A clinch by the seaside, but at least they're both upright and well above the waves. I'm not really expecting them to be washed away unless there's a tsunami some time soon.
So I started thinking about recent covers I really liked. That's always fun - much more fun than polishing a manuscript! What's unexpected is none of the covers that really took my eye lately are clinches. By the way, Bandita covers are exempt from this survey - gorgeous as they are!
My first selection is almost as omnipresent as Nathan Kamp. I think the cover for TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer is an absolutely brilliant piece of marketing. The rich colors, the pale arms, the red, red apple like something out of a fairytale. Yum! It's simple but it's so effective and evocative. Another apple cover I think is really clever is Jennifer Crusie's WELCOME TO TEMPTATION. Back in the year 2000 when that book was published, that cover was revolutionary with its simple apple with a bite out of it on a plain red background.
Another set of covers I think are really great are Nicola Cornick's BRIDES OF FORTUNE trilogy, out June, July and August this year. Nicola's a lair favorite and I love her books. But even without knowing that, I'd pick up these three beautiful books with their rich colors and elegant images. Speaking of fashions in covers, people chopped off at the chin or the nose seem to be the thing at the moment. But I think these are particularly nice examples. I've only got room for THE CONFESSIONS OF A DUCHESS with its intensely red dress on that lovely patterned wallpaper background. But check out the other two, THE SCANDALS OF AN INNOCENT and THE UNDOING OF A LADY.
My favorite recent cover, though, is for a book by another lair favorite, Eloisa James. I think this cover for THIS DUCHESS OF MINE is breathtakingly romantic. Eloisa always gets lovely covers but on this occasion, the Avon art department excelled themselves. That soft pink really takes my eye - especially in a sea of more overtly sexy images.
So what conclusion have I reached after this lightning survey of recent covers? There are obviously certain things I like. To my surprise, it's not half-naked hunks although I must say they're pretty appealing too. But when I'm picking favorites, I seem to go for apples (who knew?) and headless women in pretty dresses. Not the answer I thought I'd end up with at all!
Oh, and I absolutely love my covers especially the CAPTIVE OF SIN one. Which features neither a decapitated chick (hide your eyes, rooster, I know you hate to see 'chick' and 'decapitated' in the same sentence) nor a piece of fruit. Perhaps that can count as my shirtless hottie selection.
By the way, you can find the blurb and an excerpt from CAPTIVE OF SIN (including another chance to drool at the pic) on my website.
So what do you like in a cover? Love or hate clinches? Love or hate the headless brigade? Do you have a favorite cover? Let's talk romance novel covers!
I'm flying to Washington D.C for RWA today so probably won't be in much but I'll get back to answer comments as soon as I can.