Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Cover Odessey - Dara Girard

Last week one of my favorite authors Jayne Ann Krentz complimented me about the cover of my upcoming release PAGES OF PASSION. No, I haven’t slept since then (too busy floating on Cloud Nine), but that’s not what I’m going to write about here.

She got me thinking about book covers. I’ve learned a lot since my first release seven years ago. I’ve had a cover odyssey that’s filled with drama, heartache and laughter. I’d like to share with you four lessons I’ve learned. You can visit my website to see all my covers (be kind):
Take It or Leave It

As a new author you don’t always get a choice on how your beloved work will be marketed. I discovered this with my first cover TABLE FOR TWO. Not quite what I had pictured in my mind, but I was happy that I’d achieved the dream of publication so I was thrilled. Until I saw a picture of the same couple in an ad about heart disease. Hmm…not so romantic.
Mood Matters

Could you imagine a dark vampire novel with a bright yellow cover? No? Me neither. Getting the mood right for a cover is essential. I discovered this with my third release CAREFREE. Anybody heard of it? Probably not. It was the last book in the Henson trilogy, but died on the shelves. I think one reason (there are many--like the title! No, I didn’t choose it--but that’s another topic) was the fact that it was a romantic suspense, but the cover shows a happy smiling couple. Hmmm. Talk about a mixed message. So the book came and just as quickly disappeared.
Sex Sells

Women buy romance novels. However, pictures of women don’t sell romance novels. Women’s fiction. Yes. Romance. No. Unfortunately, for THE GLASS SLIPPER PROJECT my publisher put a pair of female legs on the cover. It’s one of my favorite novels, but it tanked because readers basically stayed away. Alas yet another book most readers haven’t heard of.

Covers Aren’t Always Original

Okay tell me you’ve heard about TAMING MARIELLA, the sequel to THE GLASS SLIPPER PROJECT. No? Again I’m not surprised. This time they added a man on the cover, but the female legs still got in the way. Or it could have been the fact that another book came on the market with the exact same cover. I hope the royalty statement for that author looked better than mine.

By this point, the fact that I still had a writing career was somewhat of a miracle.
Then the cover gods started to smile on me when I did THE BLACK STOCKINGS SOCIETY series. My publisher got the right mix of men and mood.

Which brings me to my current series-- LADIES OF THE PEN. The first cover in the series was right on target. With my upcoming release, PAGES OF PASSION (October 26, 2010), I think marketing hit on all four points. I hope it will encourage you to give the book a try—I really like eating on a regular basis.

If you like the cover I’d be happy to hear from you here or on my new Facebook Page:


Virginia C said...

Hi, Dara! Thank you for such and intelligent and insightful post! In just a few sentences, you really hit the mark on "the cover thing"! I am not a published author, but I do have a background in marketing and sales. As a reader, I am distracted by covers and back blurbs which do not match the book content. It must be extremely disappointing and frustrating for an author to not have their work represented in the best possible manner. All of your book covers have been attractive, even if they didn't suit the book content. The cover for "Pages of Passion" is awesome : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Thanks Virginia. Glad you enjoyed the post (and the cover)!

Pat Cochran said...

Congratulations on the turn-around
in marketing procedures! Pages of
Passion looks like a winner, I've
already put it on my TBR list.
Good Luck!

Pat Cochran

Estella said...

The cover for Pages of Passion looks great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks ladies!!

gigi said...

Hi Dara,
You got it right that a book is judged by its cover. The cover gods are smiling on you right now.
You were right about the vampire book Carefree. I don't get vampire from that cover.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment Gigi! Actually CAREFREE is a romantic suspense. I was just using vampire books as a comparison of another 'dark' genre where the mood of the cover matters.

Michele L. said...

Hi Dara,

Pages of Passion sounds like an awesome book! Great cover too!

Cover art is so important I think to a book selling. I am always attracted to books with colorful colors. Pinks, orange, red, and yellow are my favorite colors for covers. I always wonder what the publisher was thinking when the cover art doesn't match or have anything to do with the story. It really rankles me to no end when that happens. Especially when the hero and heroine's hair color doesn't match what it is in the story.

Great blog!