Friday, January 16, 2009

Romance Under the Covers and The Work Behind It

Our recent poll results for What Attracts You To A Book gave me pause. Covers were the overwhelming winner. I really expected Happily Ever After to be the winner since it’s been the consensus of all discussions over the last few years.

What do we look for under the cover?

A well written story, of course. We want to meet the characters, love them, hate them, cry over them, root for them and most of all, we want to watch them struggle through their personal issues, the obstacles life puts in front of them and fall in love.

Don’t we authors wish it were so easy? And sometimes it is. Sometimes the story pours from some mystical depth and you feel possessed as I did with Last Glass of Wine. Other times we fight with our characters and ourselves as I’ve been doing with Contemptible Service.

We strive to make the reader feel like they are the character or at least feeling the emotions and the hunger for the outcome to be one that has us going, ‘yes, yes, yes’.

I’m currently finishing up the third book in my Servin’ It Up series. While the characters for the most part are in the food service industry, the stories are all different. This particular one, Contemptible Service is titled appropriately, giving multiple thought processes as to what the storyline might be. While this can be a downfall, I think it can be a pleasant surprise as well. I’ve spent the last several months agonizing over this story. I told my characters off, they told me off. I normally give the characters free reign, but I didn’t want the story to go the way they’ve taken it. I wanted a simple m/f romance with a suspenseful storyline. Jokes on me, but we finally came to a compromise a couple of days ago and now things are hunky dory between us. At least for the moment – we’ll see when I start going back through it tonight.

So, what’s the problem as long as we get a story that meets our expectations of characters we love to hate, root for, cry over and most of all watch them fall in love in spite of it all trials and tribulations to live Happily Ever After?

Plenty, but I’ll wait and let you read the story. I think one of my reviewers nailed me perfectly when he said this about my work. “With Bekki Lynn, you never know what will happen at the end, that’s how I was hooked and I guarantee you will be too.” ~ Mark ~ Book Cove Reviews

In the meantime, I’m looking for just the right cover. I want to catch the eye, but most importantly I want browsers to eye the cover and know the promises it’s making will be fulfilled. So, I’m cautious as to what I suggest.

When I offered the lady in the throes of the ultimate physical elation for A Psychic Hitch, I was thrilled when they said it had to be the cover. But after a while, I began second guessing the choice. What does it say about Cheri? What does it say about the story over all? It does fit certain aspects of the story and no one has complained the cover didn’t fit. It was a learning experience.

I was a bit more cautious with Last Glass of Wine – I love the couple in the wine glass as anyone who visits my sites know. They are my signature couple. I was writing the story when I found the couple and knew instantly they were Cole and Lana. For me as the author of the story, it reflects the imperfections of what are the expected handsome and gorgeous hero and heroine. At the same time, the single glass has a dual meaning. In the story, they shared wine from one glass, but also it’s unity. They came together through odds and became one.

All the authors and the cover artists can do is try to reflect our visions of the story and hope it draws in the reader. It’s hit and miss, because readers are as unique as writers.



Savanna Kougar said...

Bekki, beautifully expressed. Your cover for LAST GLASS OF WINE is an absolute favorite of mine. The visual is gorgeous, but more than that it signifies the love and unity of your couple.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Excellent post, Bekki! It says it all about characters, and the mysteries, frustrations and delights of writing. And of finding that most apt cover.

Sara Humphreys said...

Love the post,Bekki! I think all writers can agree on that figuring out exactly what attracts a reader is elusive...but that cover definitely gets them to look or keep on browsing.
Well put. :)

Francesca Prescott said...

You said it all beautifully, Bekki. I'm currently wrestling with my WIP (which is why I've been a bit scarce, sorry!) but I'm already dreaming up the cover.

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks everyone -- I love the comments.

It's always wonderful to hear that I'm not alone in trying to figure things out.

Savanna -- this couple makes me all gooey inside. They were destined to be Cole and Lana. They are married and just recently had a baby boy.

Well, I must run and get ready to pick mom up. I'll be back in later.

lainey bancroft said...

Great post, Bekki. All so true. And that is one terrifc cover!

I love that you've decided to focus on couples. In the current market, I sometimes feel I'm the only writer not throwing an 'extra tool or two into the toy box' to chase the menage and more trends. Fine if that's your thing, but there are still plenty of us who prefer to read--and write--two people who can find their game without need for extra players.

Well done! I'll be adding this site to my blog travels!

Bekki Lynn said...

Thanks Lainey -- straight romances have been a staple of almost every woman's life from teenage years through the prime years. It's a proven style that is going to outlive the trends.

I don't begrudge the trends, that would be like saying go-go boots and bell-bottom pants don't belong in history fashion. They do.

But sometimes we're shoved so far back you have to search to find us. Not everyone has that kind of time. So, we're standing up and trying to make it easier to find us. Waving and saying - we're still here.

Thank you for adding us to your travels.

Linda Banche said...

I love your cover. Very innovative.