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Anne Gracie
http://www.annegracie.com
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One of my favorite heroes was very much the strong silent type (Harry in His Captive Lady.) He didn't say a lot but his actions spoke volumes. But another favorite hero was a very articulate and talkative guy (Gideon In Perfect Rake) -- so it's not so much whether he's silent or articulate, but what it all means.
Toggle Commented yesterday on When They Say Nothing At All at Word Wenches
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Thanks Teresa, I'm quietly thrilled about the new cover (or maybe not so quiet, eh? *g*) The trouble with the half-naked people on the covers is that some of them I know, have beautiful stories inside, that never get to the kind of audience that will love them. A cover is a gamble. If the marketing dept thinks half-naked cover models will sell more than buttoned up ones, the half-naked will win.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Annette, sometimes the publisher deliberately decides not to be accurate — for instance you'll rarely see a red-headed hero on a cover, because marketing wisdom apparently tells us that a red-haired hero is less attractive to women and will result in fewer sales. But yes, the author's name is the most important.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Jeanne, it's so easy for e-book covers to be changed these days, and quite a few of publishers will change not only the cover but the title of a book to give it a new lease of life. My stories with harlequin were brought out by Harlequin Australia with different covers (and Victorian-era clothing), for instance. I'm not sure why they chose those covers.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Karin, yes, The Perfect Rake cover was glossy and embossed -- it was beautiful and I recall stroking it. *g* Same with quite a few of them — the raised silver dance card on the cover of The Perfect Waltz was a fave, too. They only do the embossing for the first printing, so later editions have the same cover without the embossing. Yes, the faces on covers are generally idealized, according to what the designers think will appeal to most people. And the clothes are what the photographer has in their wardrobe, I guess. With the volume of covers these days, I suppose it's too expensive to have authentic costumes made. But they should make a push to be era-correct, I agree.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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That's a great expression, Mary — "shorthanding through the cover photos" and I expect quite a few of us do the same. I'm not so sure those days are gone — styles sometimes come back into favor, albeit with a new modern twist. I have a dog in the new book I'm writing, so I'm wondering if I can get it on the cover. *g*
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Janice, my fondness for that cover was perhaps influenced by the fact that this was my previous one, which was generic and looked like a bunch of others in the design. https://www.amazon.com/Gracie-Tallies-Knight-Market-Paperback/dp/B00RWTQG9Q/
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Janga, I flee from those "who would you cast" questions, too, because if I do have an actual person's image in mind -- I sometimes do story collages as a pre-writing exercise -- it's the mood of a particular photo that captures the character, not the person him/herself or his/her looks. As for buzzwords, how many of my own titles have "Bride" in the title -- and on the cover. *g* And not necessarily my choice. I do think writers of mainstream novels and women's fiction have a much wider choice. Barbara Samuels/O'Neal's books are gorgeous, and the titles suit them perfectly. I think the more "genre" you write the more generic the title choices you're allowed. I remember a friend of mine, a long-time writer for Mills and Book (Harlequin) talking wistfully about the titles they used to be allowed in the old days. I remember her talking about one called "Driftwood Dragon" (by another author) and the title stuck in my head until I was able to track it down in a second-hand bookstore.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Whoops, yes, sorry, my title-vagueness strikes again! I did think when I grabbed that link that the sword was more visible, but the scene was so vivid in my mind I figured I'd remembered the cover wrongly. So, mystery solved: the sword wasn't more visible because it was a pistol. LOL Here is the image I was thinking of: https://www.amazon.com/Once-Soldier-Rogues-Redeemed-Putney-ebook/dp/B0165HUVOG/
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Janice, I know a lot of people hate them, but I must admit to having a fondness for the headless covers. I think I had one of the first, with my Harlequin cover of An Honorable Thief. I liked it at the time because usually no cover EVER matches my vision of the character, and in fact was often wildly wrong, but headlessness left it up to my imagination. *g* For those who've never seen it, here it is: https://www.amazon.com/Honorable-Thief-Anne-Gracie/dp/0373292163/ That headless cover is still one of my favorite cover, not just because it didn't interfere with my vision of the characters, but because it feels quite sumptuous and textural.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Thanks, Judy. It seems from the trend of these comments that a bad cover won't put people off an author they already know, but it will stop them from picking up a book. And a good cover might inspire you to investigate a new author. The black-and-white tattooed guy thing is a trend at the moment, I know. But it will pass. I wonder what will replace it. Often a gorgeous new cover design will inspire a new trend.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Janga, my house is drowning in books, so I'm forced to buy mostly e-books, too, these days. And I also buy a lot purely by author. I agree with you on titles, but it's often just as hard to get a "provocative, evocative title" past an editor (and the Marketing Dept) as it is to get a cover of your choice. A lot of my friends write category (series) romance for Harlequin, and they often sighed or cringed at their generic titles — of "The Italian Prince's Secret Baby's Billionaire's Surprise Revenge" type of thing. Then some of them went into self-poublishing, and lo! they soon learned that that kind of generic hook title sells, that it's a clear signal to readers of the kind of book it is. Traditional publishers of single title romance aren't quite so blatant, but there is a tendency that way, I think. Readers, especially readers shopping on line, don't seem to be willing to spend the time pondering about an evocative, subtly suggestive or intriguing title (if they don't know the author, I mean) — they just browse, shop and grab. Or go for keywords that will show up in a search.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Jennifer, you do have gorgeous covers, but I have to say I first bought THE MADNESS OF LORD IAN MACKENZIE on word-of-mouth, and now I'd buy all your books if they had covers made of old lunch-wrap. *g* But I think with the huge volume of self-published e-books, a beautifully designed cover is very important. It suggests to a reader that if the author has taken the time , thought and expense to get a beautiful cover, they will have taken just as much trouble over the writing. For instance, CJ Archer, a friend of mine who writes YA historicals with a slight paranormal and mystery element, has branded herself beautifully with themed covers that perfectly reflect the story, the tone and the era. You can see some of her covers here: https://www.amazon.com/C.J.-Archer/e/B004LLEHN0/
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Sue, yes, I usually buy by author name too, and that's fine for the author with a long backlist. But I also love discovering new-to-me authors, and as my local library doesn't buy many books published overseas, or many romances, I have to explore a bit more. Luckily we have the wenchly WWR post at the end of each month, and that often introduces me to new writers.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Oh, Lillian, I sympathize with you on that. We pour so much effort into writing the best book we can, but often have no control over the cover or the back-cover blurb, which initially at least is what sells the book. I must confess that I do get a giggle out of things like the Eiffel Tower showing up in historical covers. A friend of mine set a contemporary romance in New York — a really funky, urban story, and her cover showed her hero and heroine lying on a beach with a huge mountain looming in the background. As it does in New York. *g*
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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So true, Mary Jo — and you usually get great covers. Your cover for ONCE A REBEL is one of my faves, with the pic of your heroine with the sword — dramatic, beautiful and accurately reflecting a powerful moment in the story. I wish we could post images in the comments. But for those who don't have the book, this is the one I mean. https://www.amazon.com/Once-Rebel-Rogues-Redeemed-Putney-ebook/dp/B01N8ZCNEF/
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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It's a shame, isn't it, Cindy, when a cover puts off a potential reader? In traditional publishing the author often has very little say over the covers, and if the marketing dept is convinced that sex sells, that's what they go for. Of course it does, but only if the book is as advertised. And it only works for readers who love the thought of "half naked, untidy, sweaty muscle bound idiots." LOL
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Thanks so much, Mary. I agree with you about those "bodice-ripper" covers. They certainly sold the books, but there's also a certain cringe factor at work — or there is for me. (Wimps R me) I'm glad you like it, but I wasn't a fan of the cover of HIS CAPTIVE LADY -- it was too "busy" for my liking. And I thought the background color was a bit pale and wishy-washy. Luckily, at the last minute they gave the paperback cover a bold blue background, which worked much better. The wishy-washy one is still what people see when they go on-line, though. Here it is, if anyone wants to see: https://www.amazon.com/Captive-Lady-Devil-Riders-Book-ebook/dp/B001ANYDG8/
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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I agree with you, Sidney. A good cover is vital, and a bad cover makes me cringe. And if it's a traditional publisher, I cringe for the author. The "clothes-falling-off" covers bemuse me. They seem so unlikely and a bit silly. As for the historically correct costumes on the cover, very few of the professional photo/cover sites have them. They're watching costs. And even the big expensive photos used on some of the big-name traditionally published authors often have enlarged skirts, the better to display the author name.
Toggle Commented 5 days ago on The Importance of Covers at Word Wenches
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Thanks, Kathy — I'm very pleased with it. And yes, people often forget to check an e-book cover in thumbnail size. The first thing I do when a friend sends me a cover for comment is shrink the image to see how clear the text is. I've had a few headless women (and a man) on my covers. I didn't mind them -- and I might argue that it was more appropriate for a Tudor-set book. *g* Actually I think self-e-publishing has done a lot to "up the game" for traditional publishers. Yes, there are a lot of not-very-good covers, but there are some wonderful ones. I think once authors learned how easy it was to get excellent covers (and for quite reasonable prices, I think), the pressure was put on the trad publishers to do better.
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LOL Karin -- you win, with that documented reading habit! I more or less know The Highwayman by heart, too. As for why they thought it suitable for children, a cautionary tale, perhaps? And also an action-filled poem and lots to teach about onomatopoeia and metaphor and simile etc.
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Alison, I still have some of my old Sutcliffs -- Eagle of the Ninth was a fave, but so many others, too. I wonder if people who read historical novels as children grew up to be historical readers — and vice versa. I've never understood people who say, "Oh I can't read historicals." As a child, history is just another world for your imagination to play in, but if you never read historical novels as a kid, maybe it's harder to go there as an adult.
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Anne here and today I'm musing on the importance of covers. Most of us, firmly believe that we "don't judge a book by its cover" and yet, a lot of the time I suspect we do. People make instant, often subconscious, judgements about what they will or will not pick up. Maybe we don't judge the book itself, but the kind of cover it has will influence us — incline us in favor of finding out more, or deciding us against it without even opening a page. A good book cover should achieve a number of things. First and foremost... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Word Wenches
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Teresa, I've bought so many copies of The Faraway Tree books for kids because as you say, they're timeless, and such fun. Enid Blyton had a knack for what children loved.
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I remember those school bookclubs, Sonya -- they certainly got a lot of kids reading more. As for covers, I think they're just as important for adults. The book of mine, with the worst, bland "nothing" cover is also the worst selling -- and it's not the contents. It won several prestigious awards, but sadly the cover let it down.
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