Aunty is beaming with pride to welcome back her good writer-buddy and Lair favorite Kendra Leigh Castle, who is celebrating the release of her newest book Dark Awakening.
As you probably know, Kendra Leigh Castle writes dark paranormal romance and lives in southern Maryland with her husband, three kids, and a menagerie of pets. Find her online at her website: www.kendraleighcastle.com
Thanks to the incomparable Aunty Cindy for inviting me back to the Lair! In gratitude, I have brought with me a hunk to share. Chocolate covered... my favorite!
So today I wanted to talk about (surprise!) the visual aspect of what makes us pick up a romance novel. I've just returned from RWA 11 in New York City, where I not only had an amazing time and got to sign my new release Dark Awakening, but I also somehow accumulated a duffel bag full of shiny new books even though I promised myself I'd behave on that count this year. Truth is, though, I'm a sucker for a good cover. And if that good cover, along with its story, comes for the price of free, it is finding a spot in my luggage. I'm a cover ho! I'm not ashamed.
At the Grand Central Spotlight, a Q&A where editors and publicists for that house discuss what they do for their books, there was some talk about the importance of the cover. You've got just a few seconds to catch a potential reader's eye so the art department has a HUGE task.
We've all felt the impact of a fabulous cover. And I'd guess we've all walked on by what might be a great book because the cover just didn't do it for us. I got a big kick out of watching readers wandering the Grand Central signing, of which I was proud to be a part this year, and scan the tables. They'd look, look... and then the eyes would dart back. The expression in the eyes was unmistakable, "Ooh. Pretty." I caught a fair number of people with this:
Now, I'm biased but my cover really works for me. Dark atmospherics, check. Cool font, check. Pettable abs framed by a leather coat, check. To me it all says, "This book has a hot, brooding supernatural man in it who totally gets naked at some point and YOU WILL LOVE IT! NOM! NOM! NOM!" But, uh, you know, that's just me. *AHEM* (Note from Aunty: actually, that was EXACTLY what I was thinking!)
Now, it doesn't always have to be a guy on the cover. This is a release coming in the spring, no guy to be seen and even if I hadn't read a most excellent excerpt I'd be dying to grab it. Check this out:
I love the fire and the kickass chick in a dress. It's got the "Ooh pretty" factor in spades. I notice I head for a lot of the female-centric covers, actually. For one thing, I know they're likely to be urban fantasy, which I've suddenly gotten into, but also, the image of a gorgeous, empowered woman who looks ready to take on the world is something that appeals to me. Take, for instance, the cover of Nalini Singh's Guild Hunters series: gorgeous heroine with weapons AND wings? Yes, please! I think maybe this is because we know, as the reader, that we'll be seeing the world through this heroine's eyes. We obviously want her to be as amazing as possible, since for the duration of the story, in some sense, we are her.
So what draws you to a cover? For me, it is less the gender of the person on the cover than the general feel. I want dark, lush, sensual for both paranormal and erotic paranormal. If it's an urban fantasy, I want warrior hawtness. I want the atmosphere of the book in a single mouth-watering shot. Which is why I'm pretty excited about the cover for my January release, Midnight Reckoning. I know, I know, shameless plug, but seriously:
So let's talk covers! What do you look for? Do you have a recent favorite? What makes you stop and grab a book?
I've got a signed copy of Dark Awakening for one commenter who I'll select at random. Aunty will announce the winner tomorrow, so be sure to check back!