Covering the Cover

cover-purple-gown-moonThis topic is near and dear to my heart, and yet not something I like thinking about because of the exclusionary aspects involved.

People with money are free to do whatever they damn well please whenever they want and however they want to do it.

People without have to do without, period.

We’re not supposed to judge books by their cover – or at least try and convince ourselves of this fact and then run with it – but the truth is, we do.

Well, maybe not those of you who read deep prose, by-gone historicals with dire consequences involved, mysteries, and anything that isn’t romantic or romance.

I still don’t know what happened to the Romance Novel Cover to make it go from eye candy to dreary drab silliness, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion PC and feminism had something to do with it.

And, not that I want my novels to have half-naked men and cleavage-heaving women grace each and every cover, either.

Sex sells, though, and no one can deny this truth as not being self evident. If we’re on the hunt for something hot & steamy, the chocolate abs that grace the cover will do more to entice the reader than its inner content. That doesn’t mean the inner content is worth reading, and chances are it might be nothing at all like what the cover is trying to make you believe.

Still, it was the cover model that prompted the impulse buy.

If you are able to afford the help of some CGI or Photoshop maven to work their magic for you, your chances of being noticed and then sold increase ten-fold. If you’re able to afford Photoshop and learn how to use it within … a day, then that’s even better.

taking_a_shot_Jaci_BurtonI’ve seen some covers, though, that have the opposite affect on me.

There are some guys in this unrealistic world who just don’t rate cover model, and my taste doesn’t necessarily coincide with that of others and vice versa.

Still, if the guy is ugly, my interest in the story itself becomes close to nil.

Exceptional artists who render extraordinary work are best, with the body-shot and no face coming in a close second.

Covers that depict a rose-covered cottage nestled in a wood, with a white picket fence and pretty critters fluttering about is an instant turn-off for me, but not for others. I see these covers and immediately think: sappy, sweet, good-girl meets good-boy and they all live happily ever after.

Not my idea of a good read regardless of the genre or the author’s intentions.

Font dripping in blood is another chase-away, and a wolf howling at the moon, too. I don’t need to flip the book over to know what lies inside the pages of another zombie, werewolf, or vampire novel. Pass.

I could be wrong, but, it’s become more obvious to me that seeing a red rose on a cover signifies something vampire-ish as well. Again, I skip those now.

So, back to being poor and not having the resources to either create my own cover or hire someone to do it for me.

If the cover helps increase sales, I’m doomed.

It doesn’t seem fair or right that this is the reality of my situation, but there it is. It seems relatively easy for me to be able to make my own using the cut-off head shot of some guy’s ripped torso, but whose? I don’t know any guys who fit this description to be able to ask them to pose for me so as to avoid lawsuits and such.

Aw, heck, the world is bloody unfair, right? People like me need to just sit down and shut up.

There’s thems that have and thems that don’t, and I fall into the latter category of things. You can’t make money without money, and you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try (oxymoron-ic statement, but one I’m supposed to keep pondering in order to … make something of myself).

I’ve poured over the countless stock photos at various ‘free’ websites. I’ve read all of the legal mumbo-jumbo about using them, too. They all say I’m free to use them as a book cover, and some say this is okay provided I do something to manipulate said stock image to make it my own.


I’ve yet to come across a hot guy’s washboard abs, though. Or a white wolf on a mountain peak baying at the moon, even.

Roses, yes. Piano keyboards, by the tons. Even that freaking silly country cottage, and lots and lots of fractals.

Y’know, it occurs to me that I should get up the nerve to contact one of these image owners of the ripped torso variety and ask for their permission to cut off their head and just use that eye-appealing torso. This is what you’re supposed to do before using such images that are plastered all over the internet.

Why the heck not? The most they can say is no, get lost poor cretin. At the very least, they could say sure, for a share in the profits.


Sigh … I need to figure this one out on my own, and I need to figure out the best way to create covers for my novels so that they appeal to people’s baser instincts in order to get them to buy my books.

Buy My Book!

Buy My Book!


About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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2 Responses to Covering the Cover

  1. Angela Misri says:

    I totally know what you’re talking about. At the end of the day, my suggestion is to try to find a happy balance between attracting those eyes and staying true to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. RaiBal says:

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I will try. My writing is true to me. I didn’t think much about the cover, either, until after publishing, and then suddenly I started coming across articles on the subject; all bad for me. 😦 Sigh.


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