Saturday, May 1, 2010

Finally...A Cover!!

By Kirsten (aka Inara) Scott

Those BBs and regulars in the Lair probably know that I write young adult fiction under the name Inara. You may also know that I sold my debut novel to Disney-Hyperion back in October 2007. It's a heck of a long time from sale to release...and a heck of a long time to wait for a cover. I have whined about this many times over the YEARS since I sold.

But I finally got one. Yes, a cover. My cover. Finally! A cover!! After two and a half years, I actually have a cover.

Isn't it a beauty?

Happy sigh.

Now imagine that cover in sparkly red and gold. It's coming out in hardback, and I hear they're embossing the cover to make it shiny.


We authors all worship the cover gods and pray to them for a beautiful cover that somehow manages to capture the people and the feeling of the book. On the romance side of the business, things are pretty straightforward. You know your book cover will probably fall into one of these categories:

The lone female. This is probably my favorite, because they can be so beautiful. This cover instantly tells me -- this book isn't just about some bossy alpha male. This book is about a strong, gorgeous woman who is going to bring some man to his knees. Our Christine Wells has been lucky to have several of these, and they're right up there as my all time favorites. Anna Campbell's latest is another extraordinary example.

The lone male. This type of cover is found mainly on the Harlequin side, and they never fail to please. I adore this guy. Would love to take him home. Will likely buy the book JUST to have him on my shelf. (Oh yeah, and Kate's a damn good writer, too. ;-) But I'd be lying if I said the hot guy had nothing to do with it.)

The real people who happen to be beautiful. Also a specialty of Harlequin. Beth's been really blessed by the cover gods on this one. Her cover models always seem to combine the real life thing with the model thing. You somehow believe these people really exist, and that they're actually someone you'd want to know. Someone to root for.

The hot, headless couple. Love this. You knew I had to get Susan's cover in here somehow, right? Anyway, I am a fan of headless people on covers. Really good headless covers manage to convey the beauty and sophistication of their subjects while maintaining your ability to use your own imagination. As a girl who's big on imagination, I appreciate that.

Last, but certainly not least, the CLINCH. Hot guys. Naked chests. Women with a lot of hair. It's basic to our genre. It's over the top, a tad embarrassing, and yet somehow speaks to millions of readers. It sells books. It tells you, no mistake about it: you are about to read a romance novel. You are going to get love, sex, heartache, and a happily ever after. There will be a hot guy in this book and you will contemplate leaving your husband for him. There will be a spunky, gorgeous woman who will bring that man to his knees. These are the promises of the clinch cover. And you have to love it for that. (Check out Christie Kelley's book on the sidebar for another gorgeous clinch!!)

On the young adult side, you can get just about anything. There could be a couple kissing, you could go headless, or you could get something very stylized that doesn't even look like your book at all. I figure I got the best of all possible worlds. I got a girl who looks like my heroine should. I got something exciting that will jump at readers from the shelf. I got color, I got gates, I got the promise of danger and mystery. I got it all.

So now that I've gushed about my beautiful cover, my question for you, romance readers -- what's your favorite kind of cover? Do you proudly display your clinch cover on the bus to work? Do you prefer the lone female, with the seductive gleam in her eye? How about the hot guy in the tux?

And one more time -- isn't my cover AMAZING?


Gillian Layne said...

Gorgeous! Absolutely eye-catching on a shelf--good for you!

I'm partial to bright, happy colors, cute cozy mystery covers with a lot going on, pretty covers that look like old paintings, and any historical cover with a woman wearing a beautiful dress. I love those dresses. :)

Kirsten said...

Thanks Gillian! And congratulations on the chook! You have any Sunday chores you can set him to doing?

So you must love Kate's cozy mysteries -- you've described her fabulous covers to a t!

And I totally agree on the covers that look like paintings. I think that's why I adore Christine's covers so much. I'd love to have the originals hanging on my walls.

What about the clinch? Do you expose your cover or hide it?

Kirsten said...

Okay kids, I'm off to bed. See you in the morning! :-)

Gillian Layne said...

Five years ago, I would have hid it.

Today--nope, if I'm reading it, the whole world sees it. I don't take them with me to work--but that's just because the temptation to read would be too great. But I always have a book in the truck. I think the variety of romance covers is wonderful!

And yes, I love Kate's covers. She has a cat--what's not to love? And Christine's are dreamy.

My daughters will snatch YOUR cover up right off the shelves. It's the girl's face that will do it for them. They won't care if it's a romance (I haven't lured them over to the dark side yet-ha!) but they love stories about girls and adventure.

Kim in Hawaii said...

I like the lone male in a military uniform. Or maybe a hula skirt.

Regarding covers, I carry a book around in Hidden Secrets Padded Covers (vender at RT). I use it more for convenience as it protects my book as it rattles around in my purse. Others standing in line comment on my brilliance of bringing a book!

But I do enjoy viewing the covers at bookstores!

And if Gillian doesn't have any Sunday chores for the GR or Cabana Boys, I do at the Hickam Library Warehouse - we're getting ready for our monthly book sale! I'd let them go surfing in the afternoon!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Gillian, the chook comes to you! Yay!

Kirsten, what a fun post. And congratulations on that brilliant post. I think I've been waiting for the Delcroix ALMOST as desperately as you, ever since you first told us about the books way back when.

Actually I love most covers as long as they're beautiful - yeah, that's a fence-sitting reply if there's ever been one. I'm not keen on the covers where the girl kneels with her face at a strategic height and looks worshipfully up at the male. I like some indication of equality in the covers. I must say, as an old-fashioned gal, clinches scream romance to me. They may be embarrassing but I can see why they're still so popular. Great choice among the Bandita covers. I love Tawny's new one and the others are just luscious!

Jane said...

Congrats on the lovely cover, Kirsten. I'm actually a fan of the silhouetted covers seen on most romantic suspense books. I also like scenic covers and I do appreciate hot guys in tuxes.

Congrats, Gillian.

Anna Campbell said...

Sorry, that should be brilliant COVER!

Helen said...

Well done Gillian have fun with him

Kirsten what a beautiful cover I love it. It must feel really good to finally have it Whoo Hoo.

You know I like all the covers and I never hide them I have material covers that fit over the books that I read and they are still in the packets I got them in I am very proud of what I read and never hide the beautiful covers.

Have Fun

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Kirsten, your cover is absolutely amazing, a winner all the way.

I think all of the Banditas are lucky in the cover department. My personal favorite is the lone female in a gorgeous historical gown. I also like the covers that have no people at all. NR newest shows a beautiful wedding cake which is quite appropriate for the title "Savor the Moment."
As far as hiding my clinch covers, absolutely not, one, I totally enjoy my romances and for all the talk of bodice rippers, clinch covers, etc. the authors I read are articulate, intelligent and absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Two, I don't know those other people and frankly I don't care what their opinion is of my reading material. I am who I am love me or leave me, your choice.

Deb Marlowe said...

Hooray! What a great cover, Kirsten/Inara! I'm so glad the wait is nearly over!

I love all sorts of covers, as long as the colors are pleasing. I don't mind clinches, as many people do. I'm especially fond of the lying down pose, for some reason. I think because some of my favorite books have them, like Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels and Liz Carlyle's Wicked All Day.

So far, I've had two covers for each of my books, one for the UK release and one for North America. The UK release tends to be more soft and historical looking, while the NA look has been a little hotter. My dh must prefers the NA looks! When he saw the first one he said, "Now, that 's what I thought your books would look like." Hee hee.

The annual Cover Cafe contest is going on right now! You can vote for the Best and Worst covers in Romance last year. My Her Cinderella Season is up for Best Historical Cover!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Kristen! A big hello from Ohio...yep, still at the parents'.

I LOVEEEEEEEEE your cover. For a YA novel, I think that's gonna fly off the shelves!

My favorite kind of cover? Uhm, the lone man, uh...half undressed? OR the sexy clinch! But it depends on the kind of book it is, really.

Gillian Layne said...

Deb, thanks for that link! What a beautiful display of covers, and how impossible to choose a favorite.

That bird will be working hard today. We're tearing apart daughter's bedroom, down to studs in the closets, and rebuilding it. You know how one thing leads to another? Well, she knocked over her 10 gallon fish tank on the family room carpet last weekend (freak accident), which prompted us tearing out half the carpet (me doing happy dance--I hated that carpet), which led to us deciding we needed to tear out her floor in order to lay wood down in her room first and bring it into the family room...which meant rebuilding her closet before we rebuild her floors.

Love home improvement. ;)

Gannon Carr said...

Kirsten, I LOVE your cover!!! It is absolutely gorgeous!

I'm a fan of many different types of covers. The lone female, like Christine's is lovely, but you gotta love the lone male cover. Especially if he's shirtless and sporting an impressive physique, a la Nathan Kamp! Yummy! ;-)

Kirsten said...

Hi Gillian! I really appreciate people like you who aren't scared to share their clinch. :-) And I really appreciate the folks who design mass market paperbacks to fit in our purses. Isn't that thoughtful of them?

And I do hope your daughters like the book. (You can read it too...there's a big YA-adult cross-over these days, you know. ;-) ) I really hope my heroine is a good role model for our girls (I've got a little one at home -- not old enough for the book yet, but she will be someday.) Dancia (heroine) is tough and smart and definitely not standing around waiting to be rescued by some guy.

I hope you all like it!

Kirsten said...

Hi Kim! You know, I attributed your book-in-purse quote to Gillian. Oops! It's brilliant of you to always have one handy.

So, does your padded cover have a funny quote on it? I've seen some hilarious ones that say things like, "yes, there is a naked man under this cover!" Pretty funny.

Good luck with your booksale. I'm sure Gillian will loan you the GR to help sort and tag!

Kirsten said...

HI Anna -- I must say, you've been particularly blessed by the cover gods. I was going to create an entire category for CTC -- the atmospheric cover that belongs in a museum category. But I wasn't sure what else I'd put in there. LOL.

Your latest cover is such a beautiful example of the lone female. And the colors are to die for. That yellow is so rich and buttery. Yum.

Oh, and I didn't talk about the famed setback -- the clinch that you can peruse at your leisure, while maintaining your dignity in public. Snort!

Thanks for your excitement on my behalf. I can't believe you've all stayed with me these two and a half years. I'd have plugged my ears for all the whining long ago!

Kirsten said...

Oh Jane, great point on the romantic suspense covers. They are definitely a good category in themselves. I'm not usually a RS reader, but I do love Jeanne's covers. Hot guys that look like they could really do some protecting...if you know what I mean...

Yes, men in tuxes are fabulous. Doesn't Susan's cover just make you want to grab that book off the shelf? I love the color and the guy in the tux. He's perfect for her hero.

Kirsten said...

Helen, I just adore you! What a fabulous proud romance reader! I bet you're one of those people who doesn't worry much about what other people think -- which is such a good way to live your life.

Kirsten said...

Dianna, thank you thank you! I printed out a nice color copy of the cover and hung it on my fridge so I can stare at it all day long. (Because, you know, I visit the fridge all day long. LOL.) I've also got it on my computer as wallpaper. I'm considering actually using it as wallpaper in my living room. :-)

I totally agree on the lone female or the clever cover with no people at all. It's a big risk, of course, because we do love to picture our hero and heroine, but I really appreciate it when they let us use our imagination. And it sets a different tone for the book, too. Funny how important the cover can be.

Kirsten said...

Hi Deb! You've had some absolutely beautiful, very atmospheric covers. Very Regency appropriate clinches! There's no way I would hide your covers on the bus. They're too cool.

And a huge congratulations to you for your RITA nom! What a great achievement -- and so well deserved. Are you going to be at Nashville to pick up your award? *g* And if so, what are you wearing?!

Kirsten said...

Hi Suz! Thank you so much -- I think it's really going to be the perfect fit for my audience. And you make a great point about that. The cover must fit the book. Just like the movie trailer shouldn't make you think it's a comedy when it's not, if it's a steamy hot romance, I want a clinch on the cover. And if it's a women's fiction with romantic elements, I would be baffled to see a half nekkid guy on the cover. ;-)

But yes, there should be a category for the lone male WITH a naked chest. Yum.

Kirsten said...

Oh Gillian, it sounds like you've got a lot of work ahead of you! We ripped out our carpet and put down hardwoods last summer and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So much cleaner and so lovely looking. The only downside is that we don't clip our dog's nails regularly, so it's much louder when he walks around. And the poor old guy slips a lot more now. He tries to walk on the area rugs as much as possible.

Good luck with all the home improvement -- sounds like it will be totally worth all the hard work!

Kirsten said...

Gannon, thanks a million! I'm so happy I finally get to share it!

I'm with you on the lone shirtless man. He definitely needs a category of his own. :-)

jo robertson said...

I LOVE your cover, Inara. It looks like the fires of hell are trying to consume your heroine, so I know there's lots of danger and mystery. Gorgeous colors too!

All these are beautiful covers and what a great post!

I'm a little partial to the headless torso, too, because I like to imagine the facial details myself. Not so gaga over the clinch covers, though, although our Banditas have been truly blessed with their versions!

Congratulations on capturing the rooster on this lazy Sunday, Gillian!

Kirsten said...

Hi Jo! Thanks so much for stopping by and saying such nice things about my cover (it's like it's my baby, and I didn't have a thing to do with it! -- VBG). The Banditas have been particularly blessed by the cover gods.

What would be the perfect cover for your books? have you imagined it?

Christie Kelley said...

Your cover is amazing, Kirsten! Absolutely gorgeous!

I personally love the single woman on the cover. But I've heard that the clinch covers still sell the best. They are sexy and I guess the old saying is sells.

Remind everyone again WHEN your book comes out! I have to get for my nieces.

Kirsten said...

Christie, your latest cover is the perfect clinch! Lots of hair (his AND hers), naked torsos, sexy positioning...but all done so tastefully that you don't WANT to hide it on the bus. Yay cover fairies for that!! :-) I think it's your best cover yet -- what do you think?

Thanks for the compliment -- I will definitely remind EVERYONE when it's available!

Of course, you could come to BEA (Book Expo America) on May 26th between 3:30 and 4 for an advance copy signed by the author. I'm just sayin'...


Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats to my buddy, Gillian!! A Golden Rooster to go with your Golden Heart nomination! I don't know if I would trust him with a hammer and nails. Hope the fishies survived the great ten gallon flood. Any excuse to redo a room!

Kirsten I am SO excited to see your cover because it means we are that much closer to seeing your book on the shelves!! I'm all ready to buy two copies - one for me and one for my niece! It really is a gorgeous cover and hey, I'm with you "Shiny... ooooh!"

I love bright colors on covers, but I am also a fan of period paintings when it comes to historical romance covers.

And yes, I have to admit the beautiful dresses are definitely a draw. Nicola Cornick had a series come out recently with a beautifully gowned heroine on each one in a series of jewel tones. I was fortunate enough to get postcards of each and I have them framed.

Yes, La Campbell has been blessed when it comes to covers. Those first two were so unique and so atmospheric. Gorgeous.

And hey what's not to love about a handsome hunk in a tux or, even better, out of one!

So what does that tell you? I am definitely a tramp when it comes to covers! I am easily seduced if it is beautiful and/or sexy. That explains why I have a closet full of shoes I can't wear to work!

Virginia said...

Congrat Gillian on getting the rooster!

Kirsten, beautiful cover, I love it! Its beautiful and very eye catching! This would make me pick up your book in a heartbeat! Thanks for sharing it with us!

catslady said...

That is a beautiful cover. I never hide my books. I like the clinch covers. Lately I've enjoyed the covers where you don't see their complete faces so I can imagine how they look. There are many times when it's the cover that draws me to the book (but I have to like the blurb too lol).

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, congrats on the Cover Cafe final! That's one gorgeous cover, I'm not surprised.

Louisa, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those covers of Nicola's. They remind me of some of Liz Carlyles - LC always gets great covers too.

Kirsten, I love the idea of museum covers. What I love about those first two (and the Aussies have continued the theme) is that they take me back to my teenage years of reading gothics like they were going out of style - and sadly, they were, boo hoo!

runner10 said...

Beautiful cover!! Definitely an eye-catcher.
I like the covers where the faces aren't revealed. I can use my imagination.

PJ said...

Kirsten, that is one fabulous cover! It would certainly entice me to pick it up for a closer look. Congratulations!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

A book's cover is something like the adage you eat with your eyes first, if it looks appealing you will give it a taste, same holds true for a book don't you think?

Christine Wells said...

LOVELOVELOVELOVELOVE that cover, Inara/Kirsten!!!

Wow, you had 3 years' worth of good cover karma in that one design, didn't you? Isn't it spectacular! This will be the first hardcover I've bought in a loooong time and I can't wait to see it with all the sparkly embossing on it.

Thanks for using WLG as an example. I have always wanted a clinch (tastefully done) on my covers or a cover with a woman with a beautiful gown and jewellery and a man's hand on her...somewhere. I'm not sure that the lone female sells as many books in romance. I really think the best kind of cover is one that conveys the mood of the book. Not necessarily faithfully depicting the characters, but it somehow captures the book's essence. Pretty hard to do when often artists get only the vaguest direction from an art department! If you're really lucky, they get the first chapter or so. In historicals, Liz Carlyle's have always been pretty groundbreaking. I love SEP's Match Me If You Can and Jenny Crusie's Welcome to Temptation with the cherries. I think Anna Campbell's early covers were perfect for the moody books she writes. So it's really just horses for courses with me.

Congrats on the rooster, Gillian!

Barbara Monajem said...

Your cover is lovely. I'm glad your long wait is over. :~)

I don't have a favorite kind of cover, although I do like headless clinches because now and then I don't like the faces artists choose. Vivid colors attract my attention best, and on historical covers, I just love gorgeous gowns.

Beth said...

Kirsten I absolutely LOVE your cover! I so can not wait to read Delcroix Academy: The Candidates!! I'm so excited about your first release :-)

I love all types of covers and will happily show off the cover of any book I'm reading including those sexy clinches *g*

Pat Cochran said...

I'm with you on the cover, (well,
not actually ON the cover, you know
what I mean!) it's just great! I
look forward to seeing it on the shelves, it's going to just jump
out and grab me!

Pat Cochran

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Gillian! You got the bird for the day...

Kirsten, this is great. I adore and I mean ADORE that cover! I'm so thrilled to finally see it and be able to woo-hoo about it and I cannot WAIT to read the book.

Same goes with Money Honey and several of the others you posted. (Thanks to the latest book I just turned in, I'm waaaaaay behind on my reading!)

I'm all about covers that sell and these are allllll gonna sell really well!

Donna MacMeans said...

I absolutely LOVE this cover, Inara. I've been reading some young adult in preparation for a talk I'm giving later in the month. None of those covers come close to this beauty. It may have taken forever for the book to hit the shelves - but they compensated with a real cover draw!

Kirsten said...

Hi Louisa -- thank you so much! I can't wait to share the book with everyone and I am so touched to think people might actually buy it! :-)

I am also a sucker for beautiful dresses on covers -- and a sucker for beautiful dresses in my closet! I hear you on the shoes, too. I adore cute shoes, but my feet and back don't like them so much. I usually end up in my Danskos by the end of the night. LOL.

Kirsten said...

Hey, thanks Virginia! I think it's eye catching, too, and not just because my name's on it. :-) I can just imagine the covers on a bookshelf. It will practically sell itself.

Kirsten said...

catslady, I am also drawn to the cover, and a bad cover can honestly turn me off of a book, and a good cover will definitely get me to pick it up and take a look.

Good on you for being proud of your clinch covers! :-) I love being surrounded by proud romance readers!

Kirsten said...

Anna, I agree -- Liz does get great covers. :-)

Kirsten said...

hi runner10! I usually prefer covers without faces, because I also like to use my imagination, but I love the model they used for my cover. She needs slightly curlier hair, and then she'd be a perfect Dancia (that's the heroine's name).

My biggest fear was that I'd get some stock models kissing...I was thrilled beyond measure to get something that so perfectly fit the book AND was so eyecatching.

Kirsten said...

Hey, thanks PJ! You've seen a lot of covers, so that's a huge compliment!

Kirsten said...

Dianna, that's a great saying -- it definitely is true. Isn't that something great chefs learn -- that looks matter? I'm sure there's some research out there proving that we enjoy food more if it appeals to both our tastebuds and our eyes. And I think you're right that it works the same way for books.

Kirsten said...

Christine, thank you so much! :-) I totally agree that the cover should capture the feeling of the book -- and I think your covers have really done that. They've been spectacular, every one. I have no idea if the lone female sells as many books as the clinch, but it definitely sells books TO ME.

Kirsten said...

Barbara, thanks, and let me return the compliment. You've had some fabulous covers. I just love the one you're using as your icon right now -- it's so striking and evocative. I hope you're having tons of success with your latest endeavors!

Kirsten said...

Thanks so much Super Beth. Go you for showing off those clinches. Your covers have showcased your writing really well. They just sing with the kind of honest, real writing that marks all of your stories. And I love the beautiful people who still look like you'd have them over for a beer. That's a hard look to pull off!

Kirsten said...

Oh Pat, thanks for the giggle AND the compliment. I am really overwhelmed by how great it is. I guess the kids at Disney know what they're doing! LOL!

Kirsten said...

Hey, it's a Jeanne sighting! Hi Jeanne (waving madly)!!

I hope you're going to get a little break this week, crazy lady. You've got a lot of fans who can't wait for the next book, you know.

You've had great RS covers -- they really have that bad boy who you'd love to have as your protector - thing going on. KWIM?

And thanks! I'm so glad I finally get to share the cover with everyone!

Kirsten said...

Hi Donna! You know, I think I might be a little biased, but I tend to agree -- I think my cover's way cooler than anything I've seen for a long long time. :-)

What have you been reading? Anything you really liked?

Deb said...

Kirsten, I agree with everyone that your new cover is wow! I love the design and the colors are just right for capturing one's attention.

I usually like covers to have both the hero and heroine on them. I'm not much into the headless hero (that sounds a little gruesome, doesn't it?) and I am partial to a man in a kilt. But, I guess a kilt has to be a Scotland setting, so it doesn't work with all stories. But, still, gotta love a kilted rogue, huh?

Congrats to you and your great cover!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kirsten said: You've had great RS covers -- they really have that bad boy who you'd love to have as your protector - thing going on. KWIM?

I have been lucky, haven't I?


*waving madly back* It's good to be home, and I'm looking forward to getting some actual work done tomorrow! Grins.

Kirsten said...

Hey Deb, thanks for stopping by and I'm thrilled you like the cover.

You know, now that you mention it, I should have dedicated an entire section to men in kilts. Though you're right, it's a bit limited. ;-)

Kirsten said...

Jeanne, I hope you have a very productive Monday! (that's hard to believe, isn't it? a productive Monday?) Snork!

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