Do book covers drawn you in to find out more about a novel? If I’m browsing either in a bookshop or online I start off searching for a particular author but in all honesty, it’s often not long until I find myself distracted by a striking cover that has caught my eye. I might not even get to the author I was looking for, especially if I’m intrigued by the blurb…
You may have also noticed a difference between UK and US book covers. Sometimes I prefer the UK but not always!
My guest today, author Lilly Bartlett (the pen name of Michele Gorman), is chatting to us about how important book covers are and sharing her US and UK book covers for The Truth About Love and Dogs.
Here’s the blurb for The Truth About Love and Dogs:
Four little words, uttered by her husband…
‘Oh my god,’ he gasped into her shoulder. ‘Shannon!’
There’s just one problem: her name isn’t Shannon.
Rewind six months and Scarlett and Rufus aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore so much as the honey-should-we-bother phase. Desperate to get their sparkle back, Scarlett has plotted, planned and waxed more than any woman should have to, but none of it is working. Which makes it very hard to start the family they want.
At least her business is going strong, even if her marriage isn’t. She and her best friend spend their days tangled up in dog leads and covered in fur. Scarlett/ is the fairy dogmother, training hopeless pets like compulsive eater Barkley, impulsive Romeo Murphy and bossy Biscuit. Meanwhile, her best friend walks the dogs and pines for the man who doesn’t know she exists. Thank goodness the women have each other.
If only Scarlett could work out how to get her marriage back on track. But Rufus isn’t sharing his feelings with her. He is, though, sharing with her best friend. Her best friend, Shannon.
How often do you pick up a book because of the cover? I do it all the time. It’s what makes me take the time to look at the description, read the first few paragraphs, and, if I like all that I see, decide to buy it.
So, is it any wonder that covers cause us authors so much angst? They might even make us more nervous than writing the book itself. That’s because writing is an evolutionary process. It takes months to do, plus there are many rounds of editing. But the cover is the instant, one-and-only first impression your book will make. It’s like getting ready for a first date with someone that you really really want to impress! You’ve only got one chance.
Every single author I know holds her breath when that email comes through from the publisher saying “Here’s the cover art and we hope you’ll love it as much as we do.” So here it is: my one chance.
These are the two covers we’ve chosen to make a first impression for The Truth About Love and Dogs. What do you think? They’re very different from one another, aren’t they? That’s because tastes in romcom covers in the UK are so different from preferences in the US.
For the US cover – the basket of pups – we wanted something fun and eye-catching that conveys the book’s tone rather than the story exactly. Publishers go for the look and feel more than an image that literally tells you what the story is about (that’s the job of the title and the description). There are pugs in the book, by the way!
The UK cover might have a very different look, but its tone is the same. There, we wanted to project a cover the reader can fall into, with intriguing groupings of people that provoke curiosity.
I always ask my Facebook friends and newsletter followers for their feedback about my proposed covers, and the US readers mostly go for a photographic cover while UK readers love the illustrated ones. Does that hold true for you?
Which do you like better?
Whichever cover grabs you most, I hope you’ll love the story inside!
If you want to connect with me on Facebook or through my newsletter then you can get involved in my next cover choices!
Michele writes books packed with heart and humour, best friends and girl power. Call them beach books, summer reads, romantic comedy or chick lit… readers and reviewers call them “feel good”, “thought-provoking” and “laugh out loud”. She is both a Sunday Times and a USA Today bestselling author, raised in the US and living in London with her husband. She is very fond of naps, ice cream and Richard Curtis films.
Michele also writes cosy chick lit under the pen-name Lilly Bartlett. Lilly’s books are full of warmth, romance, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
Read all posts in the romantic comedy genre on Jera’s Jamboree.