Guest Posts

Guest post by Author Tara Chevrestt~The Subtle Cover Art Debate

In Plotting to Win, the authors face many challenges—not all writing related. Now, I based most of the challenges/criticism on what I know/have heard. Hey, authors gossip. 😉

But I actually did research one thing: Cover art.

I discovered there is a minor dispute—it’s so subtle I hesitate to call it a dispute. It’s not the like the romance writers vs porn writers issue.
But…some sites advise that you not put your characters on the cover, that you choose something abstract and allow readers to picture the hero/heroine/characters the way they want to. Like this:

destiny

Nora Roberts, bestselling author, doesn’t have people on her covers. Go do an Amazon search.

Another example: Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

Now the e-book industry feels they must have perfectly matched characters on their covers. Most e-books have people on the covers. My cover artist friend disagrees with the sites that advise we go abstract.

Sometimes this works, sometimes it backfires.

I wrote a story once that featured a white heroine and a Hispanic man. The cover artist put an Asian man on it. Readers told me they pictured an Asian man as they read it, because of the cover, despite the fact the hero’s name is Javier.

So…that brings up my question for you today: abstract or people? Do you prefer to use your own imagination and picture what you want or do you like a cover dictating it to you?

In Plotting to Win, Felicity discovers it’s not so easy going the people route. Just how closely must the characters match the cover art? And what if you can’t find them?

The same goes for descriptions of people. Do you want to know the hero has a hawk nose and a cleft chin or do you prefer to picture him as you want a hero to look?

Happy to read your opinions in the comments below.

Blurb:

Plotting To Win_1400In New York City, seven writers compete for a hundred thousand dollars, a publishing contract with Bright House, and the title of the next bestseller. One is Felicity James. One is Victor Guzman.

Drama, plagiarism, and trash talk play out to enthralled audiences across the country as all seven contestants compete against each other in a range of heated challenges, with tensions reaching breaking point. As Felicity and Victor start up a show‐mance, their relationship burns up the ratings.

Will this sizzling fling escalate into a vicious battle for money and fame, or will these two authors manage to write their own happy ending?

Buy on Amazon, AllRomance, Escape, Barnes & Noble, & Kobo

Tara Chevrestt is a deaf woman, former aviation mechanic, dog mom, writer, and editor. You’ll never see her without her Kindle or a book within reach. As a child, she would often take a flashlight under the covers to finish the recent Nancy Drew novel when she was supposed to be sleeping.

Tara is addicted to Law & Order: SVU, has a crush on Cary Grant, laughs at her own jokes, and is constantly modifying recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Her theme is Strong is Sexy. She writes about strong women facing obstacles—in the military, with their handicaps, or just learning to accept themselves. Her heroines can stand alone and take care of themselves, but they often find love in the process.

Mark Plotting to Win to read on Goodreads

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4 thoughts on “Guest post by Author Tara Chevrestt~The Subtle Cover Art Debate

  1. Pingback: Lloyd Tackitt Is Touring? HOT DAMN! | The Roberts Zone

  2. I tend to picture the characters however I want to either way… but I do tend to like covers more when they have people on them and we ALL know books really are judged by the cover.

  3. I’m leaning towards the abstract, although I followed the crowd and put people on my cover. Originally I had pictures of coffee mugs and a bottle of coffee creamer, then I tried a bowl of strawberries. (both figure In the book). The people on the cover really don’t look like the people in the book (in my mind). I would rather the author give hints, worked into the story, than a head to toe description of the characters. I’d rather picture them in my mind.

  4. I’m really torn here. There are good arguments for both. But for the most part. I think people on the cover to catch the reader’s attention is batter for people who are not a household name. When you grab a Steven King or Nora Roberts book, you know what you are getting.

    However, you grab a Chaderick Malcolm book (made up name), you have no clue about the book. The cover has to be eye catching and convey something about the book. Once you got their attention, then your book description can do the rest.

    BUT… and this is a big but (like my butt)… If the cover looks like all the rest, it could get lost in a sea of like covers. For example, a romance… if you use a muscular man with his shirt half off and a girl in his arms looking longingly into his eyes. You will look exactly like a trillion other books.

    I personally like cover photos that match the description of one of my characters to a T. That way, if it caught your attention, and the description matches the picture, odds are better that I will get a sale. And my covers don’t look like a thousand other covers out there.

    Of course, once you have a name for yourself or your book is more on a topic other than people, like steam locomotives, then I am all for not having people on the cover.

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