November 9, 2013

Image Is Everything

One of the toughest and probably the thorniest problems I'm coming across as I'm doing this self-publishing thing with my novellas, is trying to come up with a proper cover image.

Surprised? Don't be.

While writing a story can, in the short term, be thorny, it becomes less so as you battle through multiple revisions, multiple beta readers, multiple rounds of editing, etc., to come up with a product that is both 100% you and thoroughly readable and (hopefully) enjoyable.

But no matter how good of a product that you got or how aces it may be a story, people aren't going to touch it if has mediocre eye candy.

Think about it for a minute: If you had a choice between a book with a  cover that not only rocks but tells you about the story,

Available at Smashwords

Print thru Books by G.B. Miller, E-book thru Amazon

and a book with a cover that is plain,

Available thru Books by G.B. Miller
which would you choose?

This is why I'm having such an issue with trying to find a proper cover for my novella Shadow's Vengeance.

While topic and genre (revenge & paranormal/fantasy) has been a good starting point for me, this issue that I'm having is trying to find a cover that meshes perfectly with the content.

As most of you probably know, I write about woman of color. Always have and always will. Because of this, trying to find a cover for my novella has been mostly a "miss" proposition. Granted, I had an excellent cover artist for my commercial novel and I was able to find a good photo for my trilogy that worked rather well for the running theme of said trilogy, I'm not having any success (so far) with trying to find a cover for my novella.

Problem is that I don't want to settle for just any kind of picture for my novella. Think about it, if the majority of my characters are black, would it make sense for me to get a picture of a white female?

Of course it wouldn't make sense. In fact, it probably would insult the intelligence of the reader if they picked up the book that had a white woman on the cover and yet all the characters are black.

A question that some might ask would be, "Why don't I write characters that are white?"

My answer to that would be, "Why should I? If find black or latino women to be more appealing, more sensual, highly self-assured and fiercely independent than I do white, then it makes a lot of sense to write what I'm comfortable with. I like to be challenged, and writing ethnic characters is about as challenging as anything that I've come across in quite sometime."

So in my very humble opinion, the hardest thing about publishing a book, whether thru traditional means or self-publishing, is finding the right cover for your book. Choose wisely and you got a book that people will want to read. Choose poorly and your book will be ignored.


  1. I agree -- the cover is critical! I've put books down in book stores that I might have bought if it had had a more appealing cover.

  2. Debra: My other small beef with covers is what I stated in the post, which is the cover has got to match the basic content of the story.

    I have a friend who is a very good writer (romance and paranormal romance) but her covers don't quite match the content. While it didn't bother me much, I'm sure it would bother other people who would read one of her books and find out early on that it was a interracial romance (cover implies otherwise).

  3. I have to get a real one before I do the hard copies! Friend is working on it.

    (What are your thoughts on Apache/European mutt? LOL!)

  4. M: Took me a few minutes to understand the meaning behind your last sentence.

    I would focus predominately on the Apache side of said mixed canine as opposed to the plain ordinary side of said canine.

    Lots more personality twists involved. :D


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